The Scripture ~ “The Lord is good to all, God has compassion on all that God has made.” Psalm 145:9
The Spiritual Focus ~ “True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” Dr. Daniel Golman
Breath prayer ~ Inhaling God is, Exhaling compassionate.
The Devotion ~
This past weekend Yogadevotion participated in the first annual Faith and Addiction conference that was held in Minneapolis. Over 200 people came together to hear keynote speakers including Nadia Bolz-Weber, Lutheran pastor and international speaker. Bolz-Weber is very open about her own recovery and during her keynote address, she drew some parallels between God’s grace, compassion and communities. She offered that a community’s ability to be compassionate is proportionate to the grace that community is able to identify with and acknowledge among themselves. It is because of God’s grace that the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) work through a process that allows people to be at once broken and beautiful or, as Bolz-Weber says, “100% sinner, 100% saint.” The 12 step program has been used as a model for other programs to create a safe space to share our pain, feel another’s pain, and encourage us to be compassionate.
Communities that value grace and compassion as the highest expression of themselves are communities that weather the negative messages that we believe about ourselves and each other. They are communities that see the negative emotions as only a small slice of what is really going on in the world. Golman reminds us that all great religions hold the golden rule in some form to be true; if we treat others as we wish to be treated, we will have compassion for each other and new community is possible.
In yoga philosophy there is a lesser known yama, or self-regulating behavior involving our interactions with other people and the world at large, called daya or the practice of compassion. In brief, this is a spiritual practice that leads us to being able to love one another as God first loved us. God’s grace toward us is lived out in a community of love when we are compassionate toward others. We practice compassion with ourselves when we listen to breath and body in the physical practice of yoga. Being compassionate toward ourselves opens our eyes as to how to be compassionate toward others.
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