A Year of Community
The Scripture ~ “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 and 12 The Message
The Spiritual Focus ~ “Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not fix anything, or do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale, God in me, Exhale, God in you
The Devotion ~ Yoga came to the West predominantly through one of the eight limbs of yoga philosophy, the physical practice of asana, but there is much more to yoga than the physical aspect. Yoga means “union” and its original intent was to create practices that guide us in experiencing union with the Divine. In John 14, Jesus says, “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Here we find an intersection of yoga philosophy and Christian theology. Yoga philosophy holds that there are spiritual paths, or practices, that set the stage to experience God’s presence. Raja yoga is the path of spiritual growth. Another path is karma yoga, the yoga of selfless service (think Jesus here). Kriya yoga is a third path and is the yoga of community. The idea follows that as we make our journey of spiritual growth, we need the support of community to help us when we hit the rough spots. Not just any community, but a community that shares common interests and values.
In a recent interview with Krista Tippett, author and Internet entrepreneur Seth Godin talked how people’s world view and need for community are changing. Several generations ago the world view was based on scarcity so that when people had money, they acquired objects of wealth like expensive cars. There is a different perspective developing that is based on abundance and the desire for connection and time. In this world view, people buy things that help them stay connected like iPhones, computers and other tech tools. People need community and value connection. It is also important to choose and connect with communities that share common interests so that you can support them and they can support you to grow in positive ways.
At one of the Yogadevotion Practicing in the Presence retreats, the group tested the idea of supporting each other in a balance pose. Balancing alone, we all struggled, but when we linked arms with our friends and supported each other, we could balance forever. We need community support to grow in faith, grow together and grow in love for God and each other.