Monday Meditation – Remembering

This is a most solemn day.  Remembering those courageous men and women who lost their lives in service to our nation creates a conflict in my heart and mind.  When thought about in a mass grouping of military persons it’s a little easier to do.  Songs rise up in my heart of patriotism and fighting injustice to protect our beloved nation and her people.  They bring a about a tear and elicit a mournful pride in my mind.

But when I think about individuals, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, my heart breaks. My mind ponders what is to be done to stop war.

My father was a patriot. He was also a funeral director.  When I was 12 our family hosted a Soldier who was the escort for a fellow who died on the Vietnam war.  He was an amazing young man who impressed me with his helpful nature.  He wanted to help around the house, go food shopping and cook us a dinner.  I don’t know who or where he is but I remember his service not only to a deceased soldier but to our family and our nation.

I want wars to end and evil to depart for it is evil that starts wars.  The evil of hatred and fear, pride,power and greed that people allow into their hearts and it spreads like an epidemic.

My heart and mind and spirit sing another song.

This Is My Song
by
Lloyd Stone and Georgia Harkness

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.*

Thank you to all who serve, putting aside self for the good of many.  Thank you to those families who lost loved ones, my heart grieves with you.  

May we all work for peace.

Blessings of Hope,

Sue

 

Monday Meditation – Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  [2Co 1:3 RSV]

 

Some days what I see right in front of me are challenges and when I attempt to see beyond them anxiety empties me and I am filled with lethargy.   I can choose to go with this feeling, to sit in self-absorbing distress in front of the TV with a bag of chips.  And believe me, I have done this.  Or, I can turn to what I know is true.   Love.

Another word for Comfort is Contentment –   Santosha is the Sanskrit word for contentment and is one of the Niyamas (rules of behavior) in the eight limbs of yoga.  It means finding peace within you when outer experience causes distress.  The big things, like losing a loved one or loss of a job or home can be overwhelming and comparably small things like financial difficulty, conflict at home or work or just having way too much on our plate create emotional and physical pain.   Even the anticipation of these creates dis-contentment. What it is within me that can bring relief?   “To be or not to be” content is really the question.

It is interesting that in New Testament Scripture (NIV) Jesus never used the word “comfort”.   He does use the word “Love” 217 times.  “Love God , Love your neighbor, Love your enemy” are foremost in his direction.  He goes on with stories of what that looks like.  It is the decision to Love God and not money, it is the generosity of sharing loaves and fish, and it is the help toward healing of the Samaritan.    It is in His example to go into the garden or up on the mountain alone to pray that I find my direction.

In the quiet space and time of meditation I focus on Love.  I use it as a mantra along with “peace be still” (Mark 4:39 ) to slow my breath and busy mind.  Here I come to the truth of Love.  Love is not always comfortable but it always comforts and God’s love fills my empty spaces with light so that I can see there is nothing in the present or future that can’t be healed.  I remember with gratitude those who have and will help me and I am inspired to be a help of Love to others.  Peace and contentment fill me now, for this day.

May you find peace and contentment this week.

Sue

Monday Meditation – Presence

I watched a bird this morning.  Standing at the window my coffee cooling with the passing time, I watched.  It is often like this for me after a busy week.   When days run circles around me my mind begins the dance of things to do.  My usual peaceful morning walk through the garden brought to mind all that is to be done in this place.  There is weeding, planting and supporting what has been planted that I should get to.  I dream of what the finished landscape I am creating will look like adding more plans to the purpose.  Then I come back to myself just as I begin the tasks- of -the -day list looming long.

So I stood at the window to watch and breathe.  I feel my bare feet on the carpet, happy for the ability to stand and feel and the freedom to choose this moment of peace and grounding.  That’s when I saw him.  A busy Cowbird walking all over the lawn in circles with something already caught in his beak.  It made me wonder what he was looking for and what would he do with it when he found it?  Would he drop what he had possession of for something better?  Every few steps he would cock his head to bring one eye closer to the ground for a moment and then march on.  He covered an area of damp morning grass with a keen eye and intent steps.  So like me this morning.

I hold in my heart and my hands the promise of a day and set my mind to focus on each moment as it comes.  The cowbird will continue to search for something better because that is his nature.   I can move beyond my nature to release my grip on the day and open to the lessons that are right outside of my window.

May you have a blessed day and week of Presence.

Sue

Monday Meditation ~ Rain

Everything is wet….rain and more rain creating soggy ground and it seems a mushy brain and body.  Still, the new plantings in the garden grow taller by the minute and their greens become greener.  Droplets glisten on their leaves.  For me a time to sit and read, clean out a closet and take a nap.  .  A rainy day can be splendid after a week of hot dry days.  But a rainy week??  After a few days I become lazy, I feel too tired to take on any chores or read (as that seems to send me directly to nap-time).

I made an attempt, really I did.  In the yoga studio I practiced sun salutations with the intention of warming up my inner being, getting that light to shine from within.  I forced myself to tidy up some spaces and prepare for upcoming events, but the things I usually like to do were onerous.   And on this particular Sunday I attended the funeral of a long-time family friend.

Now this week of rain seems different.  It is still wet and even soggier in the garden but the plants are not complaining.  Perhaps they know that warmer, drier days will be coming so they drink it all in now.  Death reminds us of our terminal physical nature and a funeral in the rain seems appropriate.  The hearts of those who remain are waterlogged with grief yet still full of wonderful memories and blessings for having known such a man.

There is no controlling the weather; there is no keeping back the rain, or the tears.  Our physical mortality eventually claims us. . There is a time for everything and in the every things a time for us to drink it all in.  Learn lessons, clean out the closets, take a nap and wait, for the sun will come out.  Life has changed as it is always doing and I can choose to turn my face to the rain, slosh my feet in the puddles or take a nap.   Whichever I choose, I pray to do it with an awareness of the blessings that arrive even when the rain keeps coming.  At the end of the day it is my faith in God that opens my eyes to the blessings of the rain, the continuity of life in changing seasons and the hope of life eternal.

May you have a blessed week no matter the weather.

   Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.   So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday Meditation – Sensibility

Do you ever wish someone would just come to their senses and do the right thing?  Do you ever think that about yourself?  I know that many times I do not.  I can be quick to point the finger away from myself and slow to turn the wrist the other way.  What’s up with that?  Finger pointing is not a yoga pose, nor is it helpful in relationships.  A very famous and humble teacher once said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 7:1-2

Sensibility is the coming to know your-self and how we see that self in our relationship with the world and with others. It is also awareness of our presence in a space and time.  When I am excessively occupied with activities, things-to-do and worry, my sense of self is diminished.  I separate myself from what is present and important, from people and from God.

Every time I teach a yoga class we begin by creating awareness.  We feel and deepen our breath; we feel our feet or bottom on the floor.  We begin to feel – become sensitive to the space we are in. It is a part of what I have been studying in Gestalt Pastoral Care courses that demonstrate how we hold wounds, physical and emotional in parts of our body. And in our human nature to protect our image of self we bury the hurt, the shame or the fear.  We get busy or overeat or use substances to entomb the feelings.

So often in my own Gestalt work I come to the truth that the flaws I see in others are present in my own wounds.  In the practice of yoga the asana (poses) opens areas of the body we hold closed much of the time.  The breath combined with movement may bring about feelings or sensations that rise to our awareness. The time of meditation opens space to experience internal and external sensations.  We become sensitive to our inner being  and can explore our self  while God’s grace meets us there.

When I practice this, a light of compassion always rises in the morning of my soul.  Others become mirrors for me instead of irritations, and I learn.  Yet still  I avoid or distract myself and a reminder comes that urges me to get out the mat and get to work.

This week I pray you are open to your senses, all of them.  And that you find your-self growing to find peace and compassion for yourself and others.

Blessings,

Sue

 

 

Monday Meditations ~ Flexibility

I am not flexible.  That is not really true.  As a yoga teacher I have greatly improved my physical flexibility with practice and patience.  But if I look at myself compared to others, specifically other yoga teachers, children, those who are double jointed or acrobatically inclined, I am not flexible.  There is much more to this though and if I look through the narrow lens of body image and ego I make judgments about myself that serve only to hinder my growth.

I am flexible.  At the age of 60 I can move into poses I could not have done in my twenties.  It is work and devotion to keep moving toward growth  and includes the knowledge that God strengthens and uplift me to overcoming fear and my own self inflicted limitations.

I am flexible.  Through life events and changes I have learned to be flexible in attitudes and beliefs.  Change is a good teacher if we allow it to be and God’s grace is always available to help along the way.

This week I will continue my physical practice of flexibility but will also spend time to look in.  To seek awareness of how others and my own thoughts and ideas hinder growth.  As trees sway in the wind, I hope to sway in the winds of life, firmly rooted and grounded in God’s grace as well as growing tall and strong, remaining flexible.

May your week be filled with flexibility and growth in mind, body and spirit.

 

 

The Word is My Teacher – Have You Met Him?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.   He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome  it.”  John 1:1

As a Yoga Teacher I have the wonderful opportunity to meet people of many differing faiths, theologies and philosophies.  I learn from them.  Asking questions about their beliefs I try to listen closely to their words.  I attempt to ponder them and not make rash or sudden judgments about their words but my human condition and personality get in the way at times. I have come to know there are many paths to God in this world and each has its own hills and valleys, twists and turns.  I often share my own faith and hope that I convey what seems to be lost in translation as Christianity seems to be full of so many differing beliefs within itself.  What does it mean to follow Jesus as teacher and redeemer?

“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ Deuteronomy 30:6 ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”Luke 10 -27

As Jesus was having a conversation with a lawyer of the time this Law was discussed as the way to” inherit eternal life”.  Jesus response as usual was a story, this one about a Good Samaritan (from a tribe despised by many and especially the ruling class of the day)  cared for someone in need when others who were following the law (not to touch blood or the dead) passed him by.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  Luke 6:37

Jesus responds to this with the instruction to get the log out of our own eye before we try to remove a speck from another.  In reading the footnotes one sees that most of his teaching were translations of the “Old Testament” Law.  God had not changed.  We haven’t either.

In the mystery that is life from the microscopic to the telescopic and beyond I have been witness to a God who is more that we can imagine.  God is the Word that spoke all we know and more into being.  Made in God’s image (a probable slow evolutionary process) we are mind, body and spirit.  This belief crosses many faiths.  How I and other Christians view this is made in Mind (God) Body (Jesus) and Spirit (the indwelling Holy).  We can relate to our Creator as parents, as artists, as scientists and well, human.  Jesus the teacher I love taught Love.  He was the Word with God in the beginning and so I seek to know God because I seek to learn from Jesus.

This seeking and learning encourages me to be in service to others in Love, to study, to ask, to listen.  Most importantly to Love.

There is so much more so perhaps this will become a Blog Series!  Please I would love others thoughts and prayers.  Come along and follow the Word.

Peace, Shanti, Shalom, Salaam, Namaste,

Amen