Spiritual Icons

Scripture ~ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51 :10

Spiritual Focus ~ “It is only when attachments disappear that one enters the boundless realm of spiritual freedom called love. One is now released to see and to respond. The orchestra is within you, and you carry it with you wherever you go. The things and people outside you merely determine what particular melody the orchestra will play. You now carry in your heart a happiness that nothing outside of you can put there, and nothing can take away.” –Anthony de Mello, also known as Tony de Mello, Indian Jesuit priest, retreat leader, and psychotherapist. As a spiritual teacher, writer, and public speaker, he is known for his storytelling and for mindfulness-based practices he sometimes called “awareness prayer.”

Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – every breath, Exhale – a new beginning.

Devotion ~ Religious and spiritual communities create sanctuary in a variety of ways to cultivate a sense of stillness and connect with the spirit within. Throughout history, religious institutions and spiritual communities have used art and icons to help create an experience of sanctuary and a sense of a spiritual connection. An icon is a sacred image used to direct religious devotion. Icons may be beautiful, simple, and thought-provoking; however, people often become attached to the icon itself and focused their worship on the icon, rather than on that which the icon represents or points toward. It is almost like we grasp for things outside of ourselves for spiritual connection when, in truth, we have already been given God’s spirit. Scripture points repeatedly to God’s spirit within us. 

Aparigraha is one of the yamas, the five universal ethics that along with the niyamas, provide the foundation of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. Aparigraha often translates to “non-greed” and “non-attachment.” It is probably one of the most important yamas because it offers freedom when we let go of what doesn’t serve us and release our focus on the object of our affection. This non-attachment practice leads to a spiritual freedom called Love. 

Faith’s gift to yoga is the affirmation that God’s spirit is within us and we do not need to strive to experience it. Of course, we can use icons to remind ourselves of God’s love and spirit but need not attach to the icons themselves. Yoga’s gift to faith is aparigraha that teaches the practice of non- attachment, the ability to discern what is needed and what to let go of. As Anthony de Mello explains, when attachments disappear, we are spiritually free, to love and be happy. And this doesn’t come from outside of us, but from within. It is the clean heart and right spirit within that the psalmist sings of in today’s scripture.  

© 2020 Yogadevotion | Made with love.
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