Holidays, Truth and Yoga

Let’s be honest…this holiday season feels different from seasons past. Cards are fewer. Verbal expressions of good will are reserved for those you know. The general energy is…hesitant…waiting…but, not sure for what. To express what you feel or believe is suppressed by fear of projected consequences. It is the master of illusions for many and it is time to unveil the giant elephant standing on this planet….the heart of mankind.

For yogis aware of the eight limbs of yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas could not be more important than now to practice. Yoga is truly beyond the physical practice. In fact, the physical moves manifested in order to get the busy mind to slow down enough to meditate. It is time for us to collectively slow down. Overuse of technology has increased the speed of performance in cyberspace; but, has decreased the human interaction in the physical realm. 

The three specific limbs of the yamas to practice now are: Ahimsa, Satya and Isvara Pranidhana. To do so will not only strengthen you, but give courage to those who may not even practice yoga; much less know about the eight limbs. Now is the time to either build upon or reveal the inner strength your yoga practice has ignited in these three limbs.

Ahimsa: Compassion for all living things. It is to be friendly, kind, and considerate to all sources of life. Kindness can be expressed in an infinite number of ways. Friendliness is not reserved for isolated and specified days. But, the holiday season’s actions inspire a collective practice of Ahimsa.  They are times specifically set aside to express goodwill, kindness, and love. You just might find that by being the one to have the courage to be kind will give the receiver the courage to keep it going. Compassion for all living things includes you. To have courage requires the heart. 

Satya: Commitment to truthfulness. We should not speak to intentionally harm or offend another. One is to speak what is true in their heart. Therefore, to wish another a Merry Christmas from the heart is not a harmful act. If the holidays do not have any significance in your life, then you do not have a truth to express. However, if the holidays are important to you, be true to yourself. Folks of different religions can share what their holiday signifies to them. Becoming knowledgeable about other faiths does not diminish yours; instead, it expands your insight of what is true for others. Like the branches of a tree, each one ultimately reaches for the Light.

The magic of the holiday season did not diminish overnight. It started with the pressure to get the perfect present…to cook the best meal…to fake happiness among those you’re not crazy about.
Then, media influenced fears that drifted from a question of what is right vs. wrong to apathy due to the multitude of faiths.  It is rather ridiculous. After all, the true intention is to share good will among others. Save the “politically correct” actions for the politicians. They chose that life.

Don’t forget George Bailey’s revelation from It’s a Wonderful Life that facing what you fear can be superseded by what you love. For George, it was his family, his friends, and his town that he worked hard to help build….because of love. It involved sacrifices. But, his journey was driven by his heart. With a little help from his friends, he learned the value of his thoughts and actions of truthfulness.  

Isvara Pranidhana: Celebration of the Spiritual. This practice of personal observance is to actually recognize that our spirits are interconnected with a Higher Power and we are to stay in alignment with our higher purpose. It does not matter if you are inspired by an organized religious faith or simply an individual with a spiritual awareness of the Source of All. What does matter is that you celebrate your spiritual awareness. 

Understanding that we all come from different walks of life is imperative. When you remember and respect another via eye contact, a sincere smile, or a warm expression of recognition of interconnection….that is an act of celebrating the Spirit. As each of us take the initiative to celebrate our interconnection, the energy of Love will make the dots of unity more visible.

So, here is wishing you a Merry Christmas…a Happy Hanukkah…a Happy Kwanzaa…or, more simply…good will and peace. We are here to share our loving energies, not hide them. Listen to the Clarence (George’s guardian angel) that resides over your shoulder. Motives propelled with good intention will ring bells that many need to hear right now. 

We have to practice to learn. We have to learn to share. We have to share to grow. We must grow to practice something new. Then, when the necessary revelation your heart has quietly been waiting for you to have…you just might have earned your “wings”!

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