Scripture ~ The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! Sunbursts of light! Isaiah 9:2
Spiritual Focus ~ “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale, Let the light…Exhale, shine on me…
The Story ~ Jay Shetty, author of the book Think Like a Monk was recently interviewed and asked this specific question, “How do monks deal with anxiety?” To be clear, Shetty wasn’t always a monk and he has since left the order, but he has not forgotten what he learned from his experience living with monks. His response to the question was quick and concise: “Self-care.” He went on to say that anxiety caused by things we can’t control are best dealt with through self-care. He then shared some of the self-care strategies he developed while living as a monk that have since served him during the challenging times in recent days. Of course, meditation, prayer and service were several practices he relied on, but he admitted that new circumstances may require new strategies around self-care.
A friend of Yogadevotion recently admitted that her usual self-care practices needed a boost. She walked, meditated, prayed, did yoga, read sacred texts including the Bible and connected with friends, but she needed something else to help release anxious thoughts. One day as she was meditating in her apartment, the sun broke through the clouds, shone through her window, and bathed her in sunlight. She then described feeling an urge to spread out her blanket and take a “sun bath.” Her anxious thoughts subsided and all she felt was the warmth of the sunlight and a sense that things were under control.
We know that sunlight can be healing, calming, and effective in addressing anxiety and depression. Many people meditate in front of a “happy light” during the long nights of winter. We also know that bathing in ancient times was more than just a cleanliness practice; ritual bathing was also understood to be a calm, healing practice. Finally, we know that whether we can see the sun or not, it is always there.
Both the scripture and spiritual focus for this devotion were written by prophets who understood anxiety and darkness. Both Isaiah and Martin Luther King Jr. turned their faces toward the light and bathed in the healing promise of God’s love and presence.