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Where We Begin… & How It All Works April 12, 2023

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Books, Changing Perspectives, Dharma, Faith, Healing Stories, Hope, Lent, Life, Music, One Hoop, Pain, Passover, Poetry, Ramadan, Religion, Suffering, Wisdom, Yoga.
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“Chag Sameach!” to everyone celebrating Passover and/or Counting the Omer! Blessings to anyone celebrating Great Week or Eastertide / the Octave of Easter! “Ramadān Mubarak, Blessed Ramadān!” to anyone who is observing the holy month of Ramadān.

“How strange that we can begin at any time.
With two feet we get down the street.
With a hand we undo the rose.
With an eye we lift up the peach tree
And hold it up to the wind – white blossoms
At our feet. Like today. I started”

 – quoted from the poem “Looking Around, Believing” by Gary Soto (born 04/12/1952)

Like life, the various religious rituals and traditions currently being observed around the world are stories of cause and effect. In fact, the order and arrangement of things like the Passover Seder, Lent, Great Lent, Eastertide, and the holy month of Ramadān intentionally heighten our awareness of cause and effect. Our physical practice of yoga, regardless of the style or tradition, can do the same thing. In fact, just like with the religious stories, where we start matters, because where start determines how things unfold and how the story is told. How the story is told reinforces the message and plays a part in what we remember – and in what we believe.

The economist and social theorist Stuart Chase is often quoted as saying, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.” I generally associate this with the idea expressed in Yoga Sūtra 2.20, which indicates that we “[understand] only what the mind-intellect shows us.” All of which makes me wonder: What happens when we start in a different place?

That question is at the heart of the story associated with Easter Wednesday, which is the fourth day of the Octave of Easter in the Western Christian traditions.* Not surprisingly, the answer is simple: Work your way back to the beginning. As Jewish communities are entering the last days of Passover; Orthodox Christians are observing Great Wednesday (also known as Spy Wednesday); and Muslim communities are keeping their eyes open for the holiest night of the holy month of Ramadān; let’s practice a little svādhyāya (“self-study”) partially inspired by the Gospel According to Luke (24:13 – 35).

“He asked them, ‘What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?’ They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, ‘You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.’”

– The Gospel According to Luke (24:17 – 18, NLT)

Please join me today (Wednesday, April 12th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a 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. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “04122020 All That Is Holy”]

If you are interested in my previous Gary Soto-inspired musings (that are more directly tied to his life and poetry), check out the following: a 2018 blog post about vinyasa and vinyasa krama , a 2019 blog post about why we begin where we begin, and a 2021 blog post about, well, life.

*NOTE: Easter Week is known as Bright Week in Orthodox Christian traditions and begins this Sunday.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

### “As far as I can tell, daughter, it works like this” ~ Gary Soto ###


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