You may have seen 60 Minutes and the amazing story of Nicholas Winton.
He saved the lives of 669 children, mostly Jews, from almost certain death in the Nazi concentration camps.
I thought back to my Jewish grandparents whose idyllic lives in Venice, Italy were ramshackled by Hitler’s army.
Thankfully, they fled to America before the Holocaust, but they gave up the days roaming Venice’s San Marcos Square to become dishwashers in Cleveland. Such were the sacrifices necessary to survive.
I spent all day yesterday pondering the Nazis and how entire nations could allow millions of their citizens to be gunned and gassed, while everyone else just carried on, as if this was just another mass extermination.
Here’s the crazy thing.
As the Nazis gained strength, yoga was booming in Germany. TRUE STORY.
Indian mysticism was a favorite pursuit of German middle and upper classes during the time of the Nazis. (See above pic of Hitler’s wife Eva Braun practicing yoga).
More than 50 yoga books were published in Germany during those years.
The first yoga studio opened in Berlin in 1937. As reported in The Daily Mail, “The teacher who ran this studio had disciples in 50 German towns and cities.”
And Heinrich Himmler, one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany, carried around a copy of the Bhagavad Gita wherever he went.
“Himmler’s attitude to ‘karma’ was never better displayed than at the secret speech he made to senior S.S. men at Poznan in 1943 when he spoke of the noble, virtuous work his butchers were performing in eliminating the Jews of Europe and Russia.”
The mass psychosis of the German people during the Holocaust is a constant reminder that the human mind is impressionable and susceptible.
Many of our friends and neighbors, if living during the time of Nazi Germany, would probably have fallen prey to this mass psychosis.
“Habit rules the unreflecting herd.”
There were good people, altruistic, kind, loving parents who may have even done yoga and read the Bhagavad Gita. And many, if not all of them, sat idly as their Jewish friends and neighbors were herded off and eliminated.
What can we learn from this?
That going to church, or practicing yoga, or performing charitable acts is not enough.
We, I, gotta do more than that. We gotta dig deeper. Watch the story of Nicholas Winston and see what I mean by digging deeper.
Being a good person is just a routine. Everyone is a “good person.” But being a great person takes something special.
Sometime this week, you will have the chance to be great…to help somebody that stands alone, that no one else is helping, who is being stampeded by the herd. I’m talking about our herd rushing to yoga class, or work, or school.
If we want to own the greatness that lies within us, we gotta bust out of our “good people” routine.
Our souls aren’t here to be good.
Our souls are here to be great!