by Rev. Cindy Senarighi
I have called you to live right and well. I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe. I have set you among my people to bind them to me, and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations, to make a start at bringing people into the open, into the light: opening blind eyes.
Isaiah 42:6–7a The Message
Spiritual Focus “Your eyes have the capacity to see Truth. When you look without judgment, without the interference of thought and mind, the eyes become the windows of God and you perceive the Truth.” Vasant Lad (Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine)
Devotion As a chaplain in the local senior facility I had the privilege of knowing 103-year-old Pearl. Pearl was a woman of strong faith and opinion, whose greatest frustration was with her fading vision. On one of our visits Pearl shared her disappointment that the facility in which she lived paid lots of attention to Mardi Gras and not enough to Ash Wednesday, the day following. We engaged in conversation around these two events and landed on an agreement that we did not need to value one over the other: each offered a unique lens through which to perceive God’s activity in the world. The next day, as I placed ashes on her head (a traditional Christian ritual to help us remember that we are claimed by God), Pearl looked up, smiled, and murmured, “Dead to judgment, alive in Jesus.” Pearl’s physical ability to see had not improved, but her spiritual vision had become clearer when she chose to see through more than one lens.
Clear vision is not just an outcome of new information; it is accepting an invitation to see in a new light, to perceive things as God would have us see them. In yoga we open our eyes in balance; we focus our eye gaze or drishti on a single point, clearing our vision. We make eye contact with our neighbor as we share the peace. Looking outward allows us to see ourselves in community, in balance with our neighbor. At the beginning and end of each class we close our eyes and focus inward on the truth of what God sees: our true selves. Instead of hearing words of judgment or condemnation, instead of hearing “You could have done better,” we hear God’s voice assuring us: “You are mine. I love you just as you are.”
If your faith journey includes Lenten observances, consider including the practice of clear vision. Be open to seeing God in each other in new ways: drop the judgment and live like Jesus. Let your eyes become the windows through which you catch sight of the truth of God’s love.
Exhale My Eyes
Focus Pose: Our poor eyes get so tired. Laptops, smart phones, e-books, ipads, TVs: the list of devices in our everyday lives that strain our eyes seems to get longer every day. This week add some eye exercises into your practice. A favorite is to move your eyes as though your gaze were following the second hand of a clock. To begin, sit tall and come into your breath. Start your eye circles with a neutral centered gaze, and then take your gaze to 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, etc. Circle all the way around to 12 o’clock and then return to a centered, soft gaze. Take a few slow breaths and then begin a counter-clockwise rotation of your gaze, starting at 12 o’clock and ending at 1 o’clock. Return again to a centered, soft gaze and close your eyes. Allow your eyes to relax into their sockets and smile into the darkness, assured that God will open your eyes.