Spirituality, Yoga

Yoga and Christianity

For about twelve years, I’ve been enjoying the Daily Meditations offered by the Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, and the Center for Action and Contemplation. This week, the theme for the meditations is “The Way of Jesus.” As I read today’s message, I found myself reflecting on its similarity to the teachings of Yoga….

Here’s a quote:

I believe that we rather totally missed Jesus’ major point when we made a religion out of him instead of realizing he was giving us a message of simple humanity, vulnerability, and nonviolence that was necessary for the reform of all religions—and for the survival of humanity….

“Jesus is a person and, at the same time, a process. Jesus is the Son of God, but at the same time he is ‘the Way.’ Jesus is the goal, but he’s also the means, and the means is always the way of the cross.”

There’s so much here that meshes with the ancient teachings and practices of Yoga. For example, Yoga is built upon the foundation of simplicity, nonviolence, and compassion. We need these practices more than ever if humanity expects to survive – and if we hope to save this planet from exploitation and destruction.

And, as Jesus is described as both the goal and the means to the goal, Yoga (which ultimately means union with God), is both the goal and the means to that goal. The “way of the cross” refers to the ability to hold all the opposites of life in balance: The vertical and the horizontal aspects of life must be joined. For example, the ways of spirit and the ways of community/fellowship must be united.

I love how the deeper spiritual teachings from every religion always offer the same lessons for humanity. In this case, there’s agreement between Yoga and Christianity. These teachings have survived for thousands of years because they still offer useful information and practices. I pray that we learn the value of these teachings rather than always assuming that modern guidelines are somehow more relevant for our times. On the contrary, certain lessons are timeless and can be trusted.

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