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

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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

 

 

 

 

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.

Compassionately,
Sue

Weakness and Peace

2 Corinthians 12:6-10

But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

God has called me to a ministry of healing.  Healing for the body, the mind and the spirit of seekers, which is a huge call.  Not as daunting as Jonah’s call to go to Ninavah and proclaim repentance to a sinful people, but I hope to learn from scripture.  Though I may prefer my way or to run away I think about life in the belly of a whale.  It would be dark, noisy and definitely smelly.  I would not have human companionship or fellowship which to me says it all.  We were created to be in relationship with God and one another. Added to the “good” creation if we had only put our egos aside the world would still be good.

The world we live in, through our own sin and encouraged by the ruler of darkness has created such brokenness in countries, institutions, families and individuals.  Still God calls out to us “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest”. Matthew 11:28

This call I received for healing includes teaching yoga.  As I near beginning to open this place of healing and rest I ponder my physical limitations  and wonder what in the world am I doing teaching yoga for healing? Again, scripture holds the key to understanding.  His power is made perfect in my weakness.  I must be content, supported by faithful friends and strengthened by God for the task.  Fixing my eyes on the one who came down to live among us,and hearing his call to place my burdens and those of others on him.  The rest we seek, the healing we desire is with God and may not look like our perception.  Instead, we are in all circumstances enlightened with joy and love for God and all others on this life journey near or far who are seeking to come out of the dark.  It is my prayer that others will hear and know this love and  will spread peace and healing as far as and in Ninavah.

Peace and healing through God’s grace.

Surrender

Camel PoseThat word rings uncomfortable to our ears and egos. It means giving up. It’s our nature to survive by our force of will and at times that may cause the suffering of another. The world is full of examples.

I have been thinking about how my Yoga practice fits into my faith in God through Christ. On the surface it seemed logical that God created these marvelous bodies with built in healing channels of energy and spirit. It seemed right that God (could, should) YES would speak to searchers through this practice of mind body and spirit. And today a new insight…love how God does that! So stick with me in my attempt to describe the mechanics of this insight.

“Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive on another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31,32 The Message

One Facebook post this morning talked about how in watching others practicing camel pose one can see the resistance to surrender. Camel pose is a pose that calls us to surrender the fear of leaning back and fully opening the heart.

Often our fear in body of what could happen if we bend that far back and our fear in mind of being the one in control will prevent us from fully enjoying and reaping the benefits of the pose. It stretches many of the major muscles in the body, stimulates digestion and works to improve conditions of all of our body systems. <http://www.cnyhealingarts.com/2011/01/11/the-health-benefits-of-ustrasana-camel-pose/

But more than that, it opens our heart in surrender to trust in God and to experience his presence in a new way.

While in my own practice this morning, with God’s word from Ephesians in my heart, each breath drawing me into surrender, I eventually knelt to practice a more open camel pose. The outside world infringed with distractions and I began to think of myself. What actions I would need to take to relieve those interruptions and how rude it was of others to be “in my space”. By this time I was in pigeon pose which also calls on surrender to discomfort in the hips and there was my ah ha moment.

“Be gentle with one another, sensitive”

In order to live true to my call of discipleship, just as in my yoga practice, I surrender MY comfort, MY will and MY imagined needs when called to do so. Letting go of fear and releasing all to God I am able to fully experience healing in body, mind and spirit. This is not a call to the Doormat Club, this is a call to the Yoga mat of peace, to the alter of worship in one who provides the comfort when we give up our natural instinct to provide that for ourselves.

May the peace of God, that passes all understanding be yours.

Sue