The Scripture ~ “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not yet seen.” Hebrews 11:1

The Spiritual Focus ~ “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.”

Emil Brunner

Breath Prayer ~ Inhale ~ Faith, Exhale ~ Hope

The Devotion ~ Wikipedia defines hope as, “an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” This is a tidy, accurate definition of hope but it does not address the emotional and spiritual experiences that prompt us to hope for a specific outcome. It is difficult in yoga philosophy to talk about hope because there is an underlying concept in yoga philosophy of non-attachment to expected outcomes. And yet most of us, yogi or not, hope for certain outcomes in certain situations, especially in situations of suffering. Perhaps hope is a place where our Christian theology can inform yoga philosophy, because hope is part of our faith narrative.

Dr. Marilyn Nelson, American poet and author, was asked in an interview if any particular faith or religion informed her work. She responded, “I suppose the teaching, the learning of my background that’s most present to me now [and] is the historical memory of where we came from, what our ancestors survived. How in African-American culture there is a hope, a fierce hope that sustained people in spite of everything.” For Dr. Nelson the stories from her historical community are stories that inform her writing and her hope for today. Faith in something greater results in a fierce hope, even while being subjected to unimaginable suffering. This kind of hope sustains us and grows to its full potential in community.

Science suggests that we hold stories of suffering or trauma in our bodies. If we believe that and we are also informed by our experiences in the body, we can believe that stories of hope reside in our bodies as well. When we make peace with our stories of suffering and hope, when we share our stories in community, we become stronger and so does the community. Faith and hope are partners in charting a course for a meaningful life. Let hope be in every breath you take.

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