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Yesterday I sat in a women’s circle led by a Native American midwife. She shared a natural birthing video with us and also a traditional blessing that is said to each child when they emerge into the world:

May you live long enough to know why you are here.

May we all.

I like to sometimes remind my yoga students how rare and precious a gift it is to have been born a human being. “You could have been a blade of grass, an ant or a mosquito – there are so many more of them,” I say. This being human is really special and we each were chosen by God for this path for a reason. May we live long enough to know why.

Encourage Yourself

 “..but David Encouraged Himself in the Lord.”
2 Samuel 30:6

In this story, after arriving home from a military expedition, David and his troops learned that their wives and children had been kidnapped and their homes had been plundered. David and his troops cried until they couldn’t cry anymore and soon there was talk among his troops about stoning David to death for this travesty. But David Encouraged himself in the Lord. With God’s help David recovered every person that had been kidnapped and every possession that had been stolen, returning them to their families.

What this story impresses upon me is that sometimes you have to encourage yourself. Sometimes you’re standing alone in the pit and everyone holds you accountable. Your situation may seem bleak. Maybe you are in the midst of great despair?  People close to you may turn their backs on you and criticize or condemn you. In those moments encourage yourself in the Lord!  Remember that there is a Divine Force that is with you, in you, greater than you and for you.  Let go. Surrender to that Force and allow it to guide you towards restoration and victory.


 

Life doesn’t always seem fair and sometimes that’s hard. I struggle.  At times with my lower and higher self – my lower self being the persecutor, desperately resisting – wanting to drift back into comfort rather than plow ahead. I have to believe that this teaching has something to say to that. It gives me hope that there’s some promise on the other side of this stuff. That there really is a blessing in seeking God’s will. The Kingdom of God.

At the end of the day I’m just a seeker. I don’t know the answers either.   But I believe this is the way.

“The complexity of peace is to elevate to a place of order and neutrality” – my friend’s martial arts teacher.

I’ve been pondering what it means to be a peacemaker.  What initially came to mind is a mediator, one mediating conflict between two people.  But that’s not always peaceful; as frequently the person in the middle can get caught up in influencing outcomes. We’re human.

Then I thought about the airport experiment, I have written about this before.  Apparently a group went into an airport practicing mindfulness  – meditation, intentional breathing, stillness, calm.  Their calm in the midst of the airport seemed to affect the people in their immediate vicinity. Others around them started to calm down.  Their peace was attractive.

This teaching about peacemaking may be speaking of a way of being.  Not one orchestrating outcomes in the middle,  but one who cultivates peace by being at peace. Like Jesus.

They shall be called Children of God.

I’d hoped to find something clever to write about this teaching to make it more digestible than it is. That was my ego and so keeping me from the heart of what’s here. This one is straight forward:

the one with the pure heart shall see God.

In my reading I learned that the Greek word for “heart” in this Scripture (Matthew 5:8) is kardeeah. This can be applied to the physical heart; but it also refers to the spiritual center of life. It is where thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding, and character reside.

The person with pure thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding, and character, will see God.

This means melting away the excess: the attachments and selfish goals, the self deprecating thoughts habits and ways of being; in order to be available.

This is the hardest work and the most gratifying. For me yoga helps with this, the physical practice is so humbling that I’ve no choice but to be present and available to it most of the time.  And I have to practice often. I have to keep practicing.

What is your practice?

The pilgrimage is inward. You don’t have to go anywhere to see God. You don’t have to travel to a Holy City to commune with The Divine. The Beautiful. This most important journey is an inward one; one of purifying what’s inside of you. One of purifying your heart.

Let us pray for one another as we travel.

This quote from my reading of Emmet Fox’s sermon on the mount has really touched me:

“in deed and truth we are all one, component parts of the living garmet of God..”

Another word for “blessed” is happy or content. Content is the one who shows mercy. You may be farther along on the journey. Maybe you have a deeper spiritual understanding? If so, then when your brother or sister harms you, see that the God in them is calling out to you. The God in them is compelling you to demonstrate your spiritual maturity; to show mercy.

What you give is what you will receive.

You will then “… receive the same merciful help in your own hour of need from those who are farther along the path than you are.”

If you want to live in harmony, think harmonious thoughts.

If you want to see and experience justice in society, start by being a just person.

Or, as a person said on a call that I was on this morning  – if you want to live in a society that does not make fear-based policy decisions then start by not making fear-based personal decisions.

The point is that we start on the individual level. Why would we demand things of a society that we have not cultivated within ourselves?

Jesus taught that the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness will  be filled. This person hungers and thirsts for right thinking on all matters.

We must hunger and thirst for this because we are appealing to higher thinking, nothing based on our own preconceived ideas and/or biases; but something higher, harmonious, just and loving.

Hunger and thirst for that and you will be filled.

For just as a person sows in her thoughts, so shall she reap.