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Heart Filled… August 26, 2020

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.
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“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

 

– Mother Teresa

 

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

 

– quoted from (“the last words of Jesus”) in The Gospel According to St. John (19:26 – 27, KJV)

I have officiated three weddings as a yogi and I did this after pretty in-depth conversations with the couples about their relationships, their backgrounds, their expectations, and their love languages. Each wedding was uniquely beautiful – as the relationships are uniquely beautiful. However, I ended each ceremony with the words (above) of Mother Teresa. When someone says, “Start as you mean to go on,” I again think of Mother Teresa’s words; because to me they are as vital in a marriage as they are in any other relationship – including (maybe especially) our relationships with our master teachers and our precious jewels, people with whom we have no peace.

Born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, today in 1910, Mother Teresa’s words remind me of one of the Stations of the Cross that falls in the rubric of “the last words of Jesus.” According to The New Testament, specifically The Gospel According to John, when Jesus looks down from the cross to see his mother and one of his disciples, he tells them that they are family. Now, I know that everyone doesn’t treat every member of their family with love and respect. I know that everyone has a moment when we forget what many great minds and sacred texts keep telling us – and yet, the lesson on love and kindness persists. Even before Johannes Gutenberg created the first printed Bible on August 24, 1456, the lesson was there in the Hebrew Bible and in the Christian New Testament. The lesson appears in the Diamond Sūtra and in the Mettā Sūtra.

“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating feelings of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked [ or non-virtuous].”

 

– quoted from How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali (1.33), translated and with commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

I often say that the lesson on offering love, kindness, equanimity, and joy also appears in the Yoga Sūtra – and it does. However, Patanjali makes a distinction that is overlooked in some translations. Christopher Isherwood, who was born today in 1904, joined Swami Prabhavananda in translating and providing commentary for “The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali.” They called their collaboration “How to Know God” and, as noted above, they were very explicit and specific about sūtra 1.33. In the commentary, they note, “As for the wicked, we must remember Christ’s words: ‘Be not overcome of evil.’ If someone harms us or hates us, our instinct is to answer him with hatred and injury. We may succeed in injuring him, but we shall be injuring ourselves much more, and our hatred will throw our own mind into confusion.”

This, too, seems to be a lesson Mother Teresa carried close to her heart. She was considered a saint by some, a pariah by others; but, there is no denying that she served, taught, and ministered to the poor, the sick, and the hungry in a way that fed bodies as well as minds. She heard her (religious) calling at the age of 12 and left home at 18-years old. She was an ethnic Albanian who claimed Indian citizenship; Catholic faith; said, “As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus;” and considered August 27th, the date of her baptism, as her true birthday. She took her religious vows in Ireland in 1931. Here chosen name was after Thérèsa de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries; however, she chose a different spelling as the Loreta Abbey already had a nun named Theresa.

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

 

– Mother Teresa

While teaching in Calcutta, India, Teresa heard God telling her to leave the safety and comfort of the convent so that she could live with and minister to the poor. With permission from the Vatican, she started what would become the Missionaries of Charity. 13 nuns joined Teresa by taking vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and devotion to God through “wholehearted free service to the poorest of poor.” When Pope Paul VI gave her a limousine, she raffled it and gave the proceeds to charity. When she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she asked that the money that would normally go towards a gala dinner be donated to charity. When the Nobel committee asked her what people should do to promote peace, she said, “Go home and love your family.”

When Mother Teresa died in 1977, Missionaries of Charity had expanded beyond India. It had become a worldwide institution with more than 4,000 workers in 133 countries. The organizations efforts included orphanages, homes for people suffering from tuberculosis, leprosy, and HIV/AIDs. Mother Teresa opened soup kitchens, mobile health clinics, schools, and shelters in places like Harlem and Greenwich Village, while also brokering a temporary cease-fire in the Middle East in order to rescue children trapped in a hospital on the front lines.

This is why some consider her a saint. However, the celebrity status her work earned her, as well, as her pro-life position was criticized by people who felt she was hurting the poor as much as she was helping them. For every documentary, book, and article praising her, there is a documentary, book, and article demonizing her. While she was known to have “dark nights of the soul,” or a crisis of faith, she continued to wash her $1 sari every day and go out in service to the world.

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and with reach of each hand.”

“Love begins at home, it is not how much we do… but how much love we put into the action.”

“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

 

– Mother Teresa

Please join me today (Wednesday, August 26th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a heart-felt yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below.

Wednesday’s (heart-filled) playlist is available is available on YouTube and Spotify.

(Or, since it is Chris Pine’s birthday, you can also use last week’s (Courage filled) playlist is also available on YouTube and Spotify.)

 

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

 

– Mother Teresa

 

### ALL WE NEED IS LOVE… (or just less hate) ###

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