Yoga Sensibilities...

My wife (I love saying that) has been going to yoga classes for almost a year now, and she's become quite a natural.

There is a meditative prayer they invoke at each class, and Jen finally asked her instructor for a translation of the words. They struck us both as incredibly beautiful; such sweet words make me long for a liturgical tradition - one with depth and history my own pentecostal ecclesiology does not demonstrate...


May the Divine protect us while we are together
May all obstacles be removed which stand in the way
of our understanding the truth that all is One:
and that there is no division or separation between us.
May we grasp this understanding with full comprehension
and without doubt so that all misunderstanding is dissolved within us.

May we not cherish hatred, anger or displeasure.
May our hearts be full of love.
May perfect friendship reign between us.

May the space around us be free of fear.
May the East and the West, North and South, be free of fear.
May the earth be free of fear.
May the past and the future be free of fear,
May the human race unite in one fearless friendship.*
Peace. Peace. Peace.

Heavenly God, bless us with the spirit of these words, I pray.
Amen.
-------------------------
*updated additional lines

8 comments:

Matt Brown said...

Your wife may be getting some physical benefit from yoga, but I see nothing 'good' about that meditative 'prayer.' The line "the truth that all is One" sounds like something that might be said in a Unitarian Universalism service, and quite different from Jesus saying, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by me."

Harlequin said...

It would seem that spiritual truth has but one voice. TBH, getting wrapped up in the words and ignoring the sentiment is a pretty typical stance. The sentiment, whether one is Christian, Buddhist, Vedic, or Unitarian, is a solid one. Pseudo-leagism to gain 'high' moral ground is extremely unbecoming. Problem with moral high ground is that one's feet of clay are clearly one show, and to quote Dorothy Parker, 'if you can't keep a skeleton in your closet, you may as well dance with it'

I think think it's a wonderful sentiment and epitomises what I would like in a raltionship to both the world and God, rather than a Borg like assimilation at a spiritual level. We are unique souls... Legalism supresses that idea for temporal power.

darker than silence said...

I think it is beautiful. Just because Christ said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life doesn't mean we cannot pursue unity on this earth.

I know some people who see liturgy as evil, but I love liturgy. Although my Church of Christ background does not celebrate through liturgy, I have deep respect and admiration for those who do, whether it is in an institutional church or on their own in their communities...

2Pete said...

To Matt Brown (above):
I appreciate your comments and insight, and understand your misgivings about the prayer. To be honest, if one part of it stirred me slightly, as outside of my own realm, it would be that same line.

However, I think it's sad that you say there is "nothing" beneficial in it, because of that one line. I would pray that every Christian could see Biblical truth in such invocations of love, peace, and reverence of the Divine.

And as an ideal, vs. a reality, I PRAY that there would be no dividing lines, only unity between people. No, I do not truly believe it is a complete reality, but I do believe that one connection we all have is that the Holy Spirit speaks to us all, without bias, Christian and non-Christian, Jew and Greek, free and slave.

May God unite us all someday. In the meantime, may we pray and envision such reality.

Jen said...

It's funny what language (which words) jar us, or comfort us, or inspire us. Remove a word from a phrase and it can become pleasant or fearful.
When I read Peter's post, I realized that I had inadvertently left out a line of the prayer. Or perhaps my subconcious left it out because it struck something in me that was bigger than I was ready for. The prayer (the last few lines) actually read
*May we have no foes. May we all be friends. May our hearts be full of love. May the human race unite in one fearless friendship. Peace. Peace. Peace.

I don't know why I left this line out...something about the word unite or one...although the One that bothered Matt certainly didn't bother me.

When I think about the truths in this prayer...seeking something larger than myself, searching for understanding, honoring peace and love, praying for the release of fear, uniting with each other (we are all God's children) in friendship....I honor all these things. I believe that they are possible achievements and reflections of the very character of Jesus.

It makes me sad that the truth of this prayer could be negated by my misunderstanding of a sentence. Or that I wouldn't even allow myself to understand because a word or a phrase sends me in a direction that is misguided.

Words like unite and One shouldn't automatically present images like the antichrist and the end times and the image of fear. The church has done alot of that, created fear and division. I don't see that in the life of Jesus. My association with those words has come from the pulpit of fundamental, legalistic, at times divisive and manipulative churches. **although I am not discounting the value of the traditional church or categorizing them all as divisive, manipulative, etc** They have not come from the character of Christ.

I think the words One and unite are beautiful and inspiring and praise-filled. I think they are words that are filled with the promise of the Divine. For me, the Divine is Christ.

I had some understanding of the prayer before I knew the exact translation. I knew the emphasis was one of love and unity and peace. I feel something quite sacred when I chant these words with my yoga mates. Not only do I feel a spiritual connection but I feel a connection with the bodies in my class. For an hour and a half, we share a sacred space, focused on the same intentions, honoring and respecting each other, our physical, emotional, and spritual beings...supporting each other regardless of the differences between us.

Perhaps the church should feel more like a yoga mat.

2Pete said...

Wow, that was my wife who just commented above. Jennifer, you are a brilliant, lovely woman. Thank you.

"Perhaps the church should feel more like a yoga mat." I'm going to tattoo that on my brain.

The line you left out IS challenging, but totally beautiful. Thank you for the update Jen.

Harlequin said...

The line omitted is challenging, but in a good way. Can we all just see our common humanity and embrace it, rather than see this enemy or that one, based on creed, skin colour, or just a tattered piece of cloth?

As an interesting point, Hinduism, in which Hatha Yoga is based, has never led a 'Holy War'. Wars of politics or expansion, but they never did it in God's name. The religion espouses the idea that we are all part of the same divine spark, God being infinite and incomrehensible (hence the myriad 'small .gods' of hinduism, that are not a Pantheon, but understood as a method of letting our human brain comprehend parts of God)

intuition897 said...

Amen! What an incredibly beautiful prayer.

The post by Matt Brown immediately after it, though, seemed full of the fear that the prayer asks freedom from. The fact that this prayer was written in another language and not addressed to our God, does not negate its alignment with Jesus' teachings. The "oneness" it refers to, I believe, is the common thread of humanity that we all share. We're all in this boat together, and we are each other's equal. We are connected by the fact that we are all lonely and adrift, spiritually separated from one another, while we are blessed and burdened by these temporary physical bodies. The Holy Spirit is the entity that allows us to connect spiritually with one another. This is how I see things anyway.

If we constantly shoot things down that do not align with our particular view, how will we ever recognize truth when we see it? Some might call me foolish, but we are told to question all things. So I do...including the Bible and its truths. If a thing is true, it stands of its own accord, and cannot be denied. Although I'm sure He appreciates the effort, I doubt that God needs us to defend Him. So if I can believe that God is Truth, my search will always end up on His doorstep. I'm not worried about being "led astray"; I'm purposely going out of my way to seek out these things and test them. And over and over again, they do not bear up. And again and again, I come full circle. I just pray for the wisdom to recognize REAL truth when I see it. Am I like the prodigal son? No...I don't think so. I do not do this out of rebellion, but out of pursuit of "the real deal". Surely God is happy with that, because He knows that everytime I show up (again) on His doorstep, I've crossed off yet another lie that sought to ensnare my heart and mind. So I guess it is my way of honouring Him.

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