Showing posts from April, 2011

Love Wins

I am reading Love Wins, by Rob Bell, and am drawn in by its stark simplicity and deep truth, that is both thought-provoking and controversial... I do not normally read this kind of book, but a review by Krista Tippett in The Washington Post and an article in Time certainly caught my interest... "God Love us. God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part." So affirms the back cover... Here's the thing, there is much in this book that I agree with. And so much that is "tantric" in nature as well. I'm sure that's not something the author might expect to hear! I know, I have much to explain. But I think this book could revolutionize Christianity, and why not? Bell asks: "I have long wondered if there is a massive shift coming in what it meant to be a Christian. Something new is in the air." He also says, "Love demands freedom." I may have to revisit this book. It would be interesting to illus

Grace Has Your Back - So Rise to New Ways

Easter morning was magnificent, as I crossed the Potomac River, on my way to teach a friend's yoga classes, hours before I would meet my family for Easter Sunday Mass. The sky was a beautiful blue, but a slight carpet of foggy mist hovered over verdant fields, though it was thicker where it hung over the river. Halfway into my trip, something told me to flip on the radio, and I caught the Krista Tippett interview with Vigen Guroian , an Armenian priest and college professor, who writes about the joys of gardening in his book, The Fragrance of God . He says that it reveals the grandeur of God to him, more than anything else, for nowhere is the union of God with the whole cosmos made more evident than in a garden. In fact, Guroian affirms, that for him, gardening is nearer to godliness than theology. And having been a theologian for more than half of my life, that gave me pause for thought! During my drive, I was captivated by the many different variety of trees in bloom - espec

Give Up to Grace - And Die to Old Ways

"Give up to Grace. The ocean takes care of each wave until it returns to the shore." So wrote Rumi , and so I noted, in my last entry... Today is Good Friday. While many in the Christian tradition will focus exclusively on the passion and death of Jesus, I choose to consider this day from a much broader perspective. It is a time to die to old ways, so that we can rise to new ones...It is a time for deep interior work, cleansing our hearts and our souls, like our Jewish brothers and sisters, who so meticulously clean their homes in preparation for Passover ... This week, which was the beginning of a new yoga session, I told my students, that if they truly say: "Yes! - and open to grace" - they must entertain the possibility they are opening the door to transformation they may have not even begun to envision. If we give up to grace, not only will we be taken care of, as Rumi reminds us, but things may change beyond our wildest dreams or expectations. We may mo

Grace is Sufficient

Sometimes, messages come to you in the most unexpected ways... Sometimes, you ignore the message the first time, and it keeps coming back to you again and again - a second, and a third, and maybe a fourth time... Yesterday was one of those days filled with unacknowledged or partially understood messages, and this morning seemed merely a continuation and extension of those lessons... Yesterday, as I waited in the doctor's office for a routine check up, I read a sermon written by Barbara Brown Taylor , from her book, Home by Another Way . Since we are partly into Holy Week , nearing the conclusion of Lent , I am choosing to read material that is relevant to the liturgical season, or is, at very least, spiritual in nature. The section I read in Taylor's book was based on a passage from St Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians , where he described a particularly challenging experience in his life, without actually identifying what it was. He describes it as "a thorn

Meditating for Love

Last night I finished reading Sally Kempton's wonderful gem of a book, Meditation for the Love of It. She acknowledges the reason we meditate is simply because "we are ultimately in it for love." I thoroughly enjoyed this work, but found the last few chapters particularly helpful because they accurately addressed many of my current experiences. I felt blanketed in the comfort of what Kempton keenly observes and affirms, and the needed insights supplied, that will fortify me on this continual path toward deepening meditation... For example, Kempton wisely observes and echoes great meditation masters in affirming that: "The most important signs of spiritual progress are revealed in our character, our ability to maintain equanimity, our power to keep the mind clear and still, our compassion and kindness, our clarity, and our capacity to hold our center." And truly, what else is there in this journey we call life? Kempton reminds her readers over and over a

Life as a Meditation Practice - Insights from Masters

For over a week, I've enjoyed deep silence, longer periods of meditation, touching base with a few friends, spring cleaning, reading, and delighting in the insights gained and imparted by wonderful teachers. A week and a half ago, I had the privilege and honor of studying with Elena Brower , an Anusara Yoga certified teacher, who shares her heart and gifts all over the country, and also writes a wonderful blog for the Huffington Post , among other talents. For a long time I have wanted to take one of her classes "live" - since I had already experienced her teaching "online," and I was grateful to be able to experience her deep teaching in a beautiful art gallery. One of the most wonderful things Elena told us, was that we have the power to transmute the triggers in our lives into nourishment, through our practices, and most particularly in our bodies, through yoga. She explained that we can choose practice over indulging in our preferences and thus create mea

The Practice of Blessing

To offer a blessing, is a spiritual practice. It is perhaps, one of the highest... The Talmud says, "It is forbidden to taste of the pleasures of this world without a blessing." While some traditions teach that only certain persons can offer blessings, the truth is, everyone can offer one. And when we do, everything becomes a blessing... I thought of this, as I drove around, and saw a man suspended up high, doing pole utility maintenance. This work is dangerous - and it is a service this man renders to us to make our lives more comfortable. I spontaneously offered him a blessing, and asked that he be kept safe - that he be returned to his loved ones. I also thought of this, when my breath was taken away as a driver cut me off on the beltway this afternoon, as I was returning home from the most delicious class in restorative yoga. I restrained my first reaction, and offered a blessing instead, thus choosing to remain in the beautiful energy of my class, where my teacher

Practicing the Presence of God

How does one practice the presence of God? In everything one does, thinks, and says... I have been knee deep in spring cleaning the last couple of days - currently in between yoga sessions - so I have taken this time to launder the winter bedding and put it away, and break out all the spring sheets, quilts, and clothes. I've also taken the opportunity to gather up clothes and household items for donation as well... Yesterday afternoon, after a full day of cleaning, washing, and organizing, I met a dear friend to walk the labyrinth. It's kind of "our thing" - something we've done over the years - and it gave us the opportunity to walk it and meditate together, and reflect on the Stations of the Cross, which were featured through an number of beautiful displays along the way as well. Later in the evening, when I went to pick up dinner, on the warmest day we've had in so many months (85 degrees!), I stepped out of my car and into the night and thought to myse

Let God Hold You

Last night, I curled in bed with the book I am currently reading - An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith , by Barbara Brown Taylor , a former parish priest, who currently teaches spirituality. This book is delicious in every way - not one to be raced through - but one to be savored, and so I "tasted" the chapter "The Practice of Saying No." It begins by explaining the historical, cultural, and religious differences between keeping the Sabbath and the Christian practice of observing Sunday - and then explores the value of having one day a week where we say no to doing, and simply enjoy being. Taylor begins the chapter with this quote from Meister Eckhart: "God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting." A couple of pages into the chapter, she quotes the Swiss theologian Karl Barth : "A being is free only when it can determine and limit its activity." Later, she refers to Abraham Heschel : "The first holy