In my old age, (I am exaggerating), I have found that I have some trouble with joints on the left side. The Alberta Health care system provides for some face to face counselling on health related matters, and my counselor encouraged me to get involved with yoga classes. I progressed from the extremely gentle Realignment Yoga, to the Power Yoga offered at lunch time. With some practice, I am finding that I am actually quite flexible. It is a lot of fun and I feel that the yoga class is my candy dessert exercise class. I am also feeling that I am getting stronger in ways that help me move, during day to day demands on the body. I can feel that my muscles and joints are there for me when I need them. This is a great blessing.
In sitting and thinking about it, it occurred to me that there is something similar in the spiritual realm. Many people nowadays, have very little knowledge of the Bible, the Bible stories, about faith in God, about the Ten Commandments and the Creed, daily and weekly worship. They have become very, very weak in this area. And they don't know it. Until they muscle up and practice it, they are not aware of what they are missing, of what is not there for them when they are in crisis situations, or ethical conundrums, how to teach their kids, or how to pray. They need to take their Bible class, the way they take their yoga class.
They will suffer a spiritual breakdown, a psychological breakdown, an existential breakdown, fall into cynicism, skepticism, nihilism, drug addictions, anxiety, neurosis, etc. and not quite know how it hit them. Their spirit is weak and untrained, like my body was weak and untrained. I don't want to say that I am better than those people. But I work at keeping the message of hope, love, grace, forgiveness, in my mind, through going to sermon, to communion, and reading my Bible. Also, we are all going to age, lose everything and die. How are we preparing for that? How will you cope and how will you cope when your loved ones die? --Sit in lotus position? Hardly.
Some might think that the Eastern Yoga and consciousness raising provides a kind of spirituality.
I find that all the business with calming yourself and getting into your body and out of your mind, is a healthy exercise. I don't pray or chant to any gods, etc. I focus on the stretches and what I can stretch better, and how I can get circulation into tissues that don't get a lot of circulation. It's good. Thinking more about what you are doing and why you are doing it, is also a healthy exercise.
I would recommend, however, to all those who think that yoga and mindfulness is the answer, that they are missing out on forming their spirit.
Don't just shape your body, shape your spirit, too. Read your Bible.
And then there also is the "Kindness Muscle": http://www.businessinsider.com/lasting-relationships-rely-on-traits-2015-11 Boy, we can all learn a lot there, working on the kindness muscle in our relationships.
Sermon: Jubilate (Easter 4) - 2018
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