Scripture ~ What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Spiritual Focus ~ “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale – I have all I need, Exhale – to live courageously
Devotion ~ Small children experience life through their senses. A slice of lemon teaches them what a sour taste is. They hear a swear word and inevitably repeat it at the most inopportune time. Perhaps someone close to them does something they are not allowed to do, like smoking a cigarette, and they think it is ok for them. The old adage of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ has never been effective with children since they learn by example, that is, caught rather than taught.
Learning by example is not just relegated to children, adults are also influenced by what they witness. When we have a positive, character-building experience, we tend to repeat that experience. When we repeat that experience, it is likely to become a practice. Using our senses, we meet, grow, and learn from these experiences until we are able to live honestly and courageously. Paul’s letter to the Philippians in today’s scripture is meant to encourage the people of Philippi to obey God and to live courageously as witnesses to the gospel of Jesus.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was known for living courageously by example. Bishop Michael Curry told of her courage with the Tuskegee Airmen during a recent healing and hope service. The airmen were highly trained Black pilots who were not allowed to fly in WWII because of segregation, yet they continued to train and excelled in their profession. Eleanor visited their practice field and asked to fly with them. Upon landing she commented, “Well you sure can fly!” With her example and support the organization thrived. Her example to the country as well as the airmen’s courageous example in living honestly built character in our nation.
The Yamas and Niyamas, the universal and personal ethics of yoga philosophy, are intended to teach us how to act in the world and toward ourselves. They are values that we see as foundational to many world religions and spiritual paths. They are teachings or guidelines, that when practiced, help us to live by example courageously, like Jesus did, and lead us on the path to experience God’s peace. (For more on the Yamas and Niyamas, refer to Deborah Adele’s book of the same name or True Yoga by Jennie Lee.)