Yoga is…

Yoga is –

A caterpillar/butterfly
It is seeing the butterfly in the caterpillar, and the caterpillar in the butterfly. It is also seeing the beauty of the caterpillar as it is.
It is stopping to see these tiny little creatures and appreciating them and their very short lives. It is contemplating how amazing they are – perfect and complete and yet so small.

Yoga is water. It is water in all its forms. It is ice, mist, hurricane, the ocean. It is a glass of water at the restaurant, served with a slice of lemon. It is the rain that waters your flowers and it is also the deluge that washes away your home.

Yoga is at work. It is paying attention to each customer and each part of your job to your fullest attention. It is also forgiving yourself for when you are too tired to pay attention.

Yoga is about what you eat. It is about eating less and eating better. It is about being aware of the consequences of what you eat – for yourself and for the planet.

Yoga is about getting a tattoo. Not some flash off the wall to show you are a rebel. It is getting a tattoo to mark a milestone or to set an intention. It is about being a witness to pain and transformation.

Yoga is mindfulness and being in the moment. Yoga is acceptance of things as they are, yet also not settling. Yoga is, was,and shall be. Yoga is you, on the mat and off the mat, doing the best that you can exactly as you are right now. It is about not comparing yourself to others or even yourself.

Yoga is about showing up and being present, to the best of your ability and not judging yourself. Just showing up is a big accomplishment.

Yoga is about taking the time to work on yourself and knowing it isn’t a quick fix. It is about knowing you are in it for the long haul. Self-improvement is a lifetime process.

Yoga is about finding your limits and gently pushing them. It is also about being OK with the times that you can’t push because you are sore or tired or angry.

Yoga isn’t about the postures at all. The postures are the doorway. Yoga is the room. There are many ways into that room. Yoga is just one of them.

And here’s a final one to chew on. Yoga isn’t about being a winner. It is about being a good loser.


Water and Words – on infant baptism.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’m against infant baptism. I’m cool with some ceremony where the parents commit to raising the child as a Christian, and ask for the help of the Church to keep them on track.

But I don’t get the purpose of actually baptizing their child.

There are way too many people who get their child baptized and then leave the church. There are also stories of grandparents who are concerned that neither parent is Christian. They take the child to a church on the weekend they have the kid and get her baptized, unbeknownst to the parents. There are also stories of parents whose child is gravely ill and they ask for an emergency baptism.

In all these instances they aren’t planning on raising the child as a Christian. There is something else going on. Do they think that there is something magical and protective that happens when a child is baptized with water?

Jesus never baptized anybody with water. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples after he ascended into heaven. The water is just a symbol. It isn’t the real thing. It is the commitment to following Jesus that matters. We need ceremonies to let us know that a change has occurred. We need ceremonies like we need doorways, to show us transition and evolution. Baptism is a ceremony, but it marks a change that occurs within the person. Just pouring water on someone and saying some words doesn’t make them a follower of Jesus.

It seems like idol worship for people to baptize their children. It seems like they think that words and water will do the trick. It seems like they think that that is all there is to it. Get baptized, and you’re in the club.

But baptism should be a choice of the person, not something done to you. I think that deciding to follow Jesus is too important for someone to do it for you. It is like deciding to be vegetarian. That is a major choice. Your parents may think that being vegetarian is something that you should do for your own good, much like following Jesus. But if you aren’t in agreement with it, you aren’t going to keep doing it once you are out of their house.

Then again, you can get baptized with water and it doesn’t mean anything. You still aren’t connected, you still don’t get it. It isn’t the water or the words. It is the Holy Spirit that makes it work.

The Holy Spirit baptizes. That is like being upgraded from a 110 to a 220, like being transformed from a garden hose to a fire hose. It is overwhelming. When you’ve been touched by the Holy Spirit you are never the same again.

Let us stop baptizing children. They aren’t able to make that decision, and it is too important for it to be made for them. Let us remember that God is the one who saves us, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It isn’t the water. It isn’t our words.