by Pastor Cindy Senarighi 2017
Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. . . . When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. . . . [W]henever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out . . . [T]he Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again.
Spiritual Focus “I have the immense joy of being a man, a member of the human race in which God Himself became incarnate. . . . And only if everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” Thomas Merton
In the early 1990s a yogi named Baron Baptiste, born of American yogi parents, began to explore the power of yoga to transform people’s lives. In 2002 he published a book titled Journey into Power, in which he shared his own transformational experience, as well as those of some students. One of the tenets of his teaching was that we wear masks that become obstacles to our being transformed into who we truly are: spiritual beings.
We all at times hide behind masks, but when doing so becomes the norm we move from self-protection into self-denial mode. Moses, in this week’s Scripture, found himself in the presence of God. Being in such close proximity to deity was so glorious that the radiance of God was seen by others after the fact as reflected light on Moses’ face. In the Old Testament the glory of God was considered to be so brilliant that human beings could not look upon it safely, prompting Moses to temporarily don a veil or mask after emerging from God’s presence. Dropping our mask, hard as this is to do, is something we can practice both on and off our mat. In peaceful silence we open our hearts to trust God with all that we are as human beings: physical, emotional, and spiritual. We listen to the teachings that speak of God’s full presence in the fully human, earthly Jesus. When it comes to our relationship with God, our need for that mask has been forever eradicated. We are invited into the story as spiritual beings engaged in a personal, human experience with Jesus—not just for our own sake but for the sake of the world into which God entered—for the sake of each other.
Focus Pose: Lion’s Breath, simhasana, is a pose that ignites our inner fire, helping us conquer our fears. This is a powerful pranayama, so do Lion’s Breath only near the end of your practice, when your body and mind are ready. Lion’s Breath is often done in Hero’s pose, but it can be done from any comfortable seat. Once you’ve found your seat inhale deeply, and with a BIG audible exhalation (emanating from the back of your throat) widen your eyes, open your mouth, drop your jaw, and stick out your tongue. Relax the face on inhalation. Try several rounds of Lion’s Breath and then stop and observe the heat that was generated in the pose. Use this powerful energy to conquer your fears and remove your mask.