Thought for Today

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”

—E.B. White

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Thought for Today

Photo Copyright 2014 by R.A. Robbins

“Love works in miracles every day: such as weakening the stong, and stretching the weak; making fools of the wise, and wine men of fools; faouring the passions, destroying the reason, and in a word, turning everything topsy-turvy.” — Margaret of Valois

How do we Stop the Violence?

Image Copyright 2017 by R.A. Robbins

This is a question on most of our hearts right now, isn’t it?  So how do we stop the violence?

To stop the violence we have to stop being violent.  Please don’t  leave yet, hang in here with me and let me explain.

When we look at the violence in the world, both close to home and far away we see a huge overwhelming problem with what appears to be no solution.  As long as we look at gun violence in this way there will be no solution.  Violence begins and ends in the heart of each and every individual and peace really does begin with each of us as well.

So where do we begin?

  • We begin by putting down our guns.  How many people carry guns for “protection”?  I know the arguments for this, no one has to tell me.  But who will protect our friends, family and neighbors if out of fear we fire a weapon and kill an innocent person?  Or it falls into the hands of a curious child or angry teenager?
  • We must learn to start acting out of love instead of reacting out of fear.
  • We stop glorifying violence and war.
  • For Christians it’s time to get out the Bible and look at what it really says about violence.  Do you really want to see God through the eyes of fear as portrayed in the Old Testament or through the eyes of love as shown to us by the Master Teacher Jesus.   Perhaps it’s time to stop being “soldiers of the cross” and start living the life of love he came to show us.
  • Spiritual warfare isn’t really fought with guns, bombs, swords, etc.  It is fought in the hearts and minds of each of us as we struggle with who will control us — love or fear.
  • Start watching for the many ways violence creeps into our daily lives through media, contemporary culture and even our words.
  • Before you can change the world you have to change yourself.  Find that place of peace within yourself.  Start acting from that sill, calm center.  Watch as it changes the way you deal with the world.  Watch the ripples of change that begin from the change within you.
  • This is a time when we must be in prayer, but we must remember our thoughts and our lives are prayers every minute of every day.  This is how we “pray without ceasing”. Instead of praying to God to stop the violence and being overwhelmed that is does not stop, perhaps it is time to look at ourselves and what we are bringing into the world..

Oh I am not being naive here.  I know changing people is never easy, but we don’t have to change everyone.  The only one i have to change is me.  The only one you have to change is you.  It has to start somewhere.

May our prayer in these turbulent times be let peace begin with me.  Practice peace.  Live peace.  Be peace.  — And so it is.

 

The Benefits of Yoga: Learning to Breathe

Breathing is something we tend to take for granted.  But when we stop and realize life begins when breathing begins and life ends when breathing ends we begin to understand the importance of breath.

Breathing is an important part of yoga.  In fact it is the fourth limb of yoga Pranayama consists of breathing exercises to control the breath and clear obstacles which free the flow of breath and prana or life energy.

A regular pranayama practice can work on the physical level to use and strengthen the “whole range of our respiratory organs” by breathing into the belly, side ribs and chest.  We can also counter the fight or flight response by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system through our breath.

On a physical level pranayama techniques help us use and strengthen the full range of our respiratory organs.  We can explore the lower, middle and upper parts of the breath and learn to regulate our inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath.

While our emotions do change our breathing patterns, we can also learn to change our breath patterns to calm or energize ourselves.  This can begin with just stopping to be consciously aware of our breath.  It can really be a simple as stopping, reminding ourselves to breathe and taking a few deep, conscious breaths to calm down anger, fear or other emotions which may arise in difficult situations.

Breathing is an integral part of our yoga practice as we pair our movements with our breath.  We also focus on our breath as a form of mindfulness practice.  There are also specific breath practices which have their own benefits.  I will only list few here.  For more information on pranayama be sure to check our the resources below.

  • Complete Belly Breath
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) to feel calmer.`                               `
  • Ocean’s Breath (Ujjayi pronounced oo-jai) to soothe and settle the mind.
  • Energizing Breath (Bhastrika) for of energy and to invigorate your mind.

This has been just to get you thinking about the importance of breath and breath practice.  I have not even begun to scratch the surface of pranayma.  For more information please check out the links below.

Resources:

http://www.thesecretsofyoga.com/breathing/how-to-breath-properly.html

https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/what-is-pranayama

http://www.chopra.com/articles/breathing-for-life-the-mind-body-healing-benefits-of-pranayama

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/types/pranayama

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