By Heart

HeartI know it by heart! My yoga practice has taught me many things but most recently during a “heart -opening” practice I have learned compassion. Now I have generally thought of myself as a compassionate person, after all, I went to nursing school and learned how to comfort the sick and their families. I learned about the psychology of the ill person and the effect of emotional stress on the body. But newly discovered (for me as I am surely not the first to notice) is that compassion is something you learn by heart, not by mind. That true empathy comes from experience.

As a Christian who practices and teaches yoga I am keenly aware of God’s presence and every now and then that joyous filling of the Holy One in Spirit through me. What I feel is not my mind being happy or my body being stronger,though these are positive side effects of practice and prayer. What I feel is my heart filling with love and compassion. A strange mix of joy and a reminder of suffering. The sacrifice made for me on a now empty cross was brutal and made by the One who taught love and compassion. I am to love God with all my heart, all my mind and all my strength and to love my neighbor as myself.

So my ego when left unchecked lives into the sin of me first, but when I open my heart to the healing love of God I can experience joy and peace that can be born from great suffering. That suffering of my own, though nothing to compare, has allowed me to know this by heart.



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