Getting to the heart (ha) of this aspect of The Greatest Commandment, was more difficult than I expected. There is so much to be understood and uncovered here. (Why was I surprised?? This IS
Getting to the heart (ha) of this aspect of The Greatest Commandment, was more difficult than I expected. There is so much to be understood and uncovered here. (Why was I surprised?? This IS God we are talking about.) Through my studies this week I’ve realized a couple things: Love is a way of being (“God is Love”), a power, and an action. How does this change the way we understand what “Loving God” means? And what does it mean to Love Him/Her with ALL your Heart? The only way I can describe what it means to me at this moment is through an experience I had a couple nights ago: my infant son threw up a couple hours before he went to bed, and then again right before we were about to put him down. My heart raced in panic and anxiety. I could feel it get all clenched up and hard and resistant. A few weeks back we ALL (us and the babies) simultaneously got the stomach flu for a few days and it was one of the hardest things. I just couldn’t do that again. Dread filled my body/mind/spirit. After the babies were asleep, I knelt next to my bed and tried to talk with God. Having been thinking about this topic all week, I realized that I was holding back a part of my heart from Him/Her--a fear-filled, anxious part. I wasn’t loving God enough to trust and say “Okay, here is that fear. I give it to you because I trust you--I trust that whatever happens, we’re going to be okay.” I had to breathe this over and over again--until I really actually did give it to God. And in that moment, I was loving God with more of my All-Heart than before.
Yoga and Loving God with All your Heart? I really like this quote: “To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is all-consuming and all-encompassing. It is no lukewarm endeavor. It is total commitment of our very being—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to a love of the Lord.” (Ezra Taft Benson) Doing yoga with the intention to get in tune with this can be a powerful experience. Yoga can involve that “total commitment of our very being” in a way that not a lot of things can.
Candidly, I feel like I'm just starting to tap into understanding this part of the commandment and the marvelous connections with yoga. I feel like I could spend weeks--nay, years--learning and discovering and teaching about it, and still have more to learn. So this is a smattering of where my explorations are currently. Enjoy!
Scriptures and Quotes:
The scriptures are filled with many words connected to the condition of our heart: broken, pure, sincere, one, glad, courageous, changed, intergrity, perfect, touched, ponderous, real, turned, whole, etc.
“Apostle John, who said, “We love him, because he first loved us. Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you. He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked. What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.9 … God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! … We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
“When the heart chi is healthy, we feel warm, nourished, and nourishing, able to contact innate joy, inner peace, and harmony, and able to build healthy relationships. Heart chi is related to our vital center and spiritedness, and when it is out of balance there may be a propensity for acute sadness, desperation, joylessness, depression, and estrangement when depleted, or cold intolerance, cruelty, and hatred when in excess.” (Sarah Powers)
“The healing of our heart begins when we submit to and worship God. True worship begins when our hearts are right before the Father and the Son. What is our heart condition today? Paradoxically, in order to have a healed and faithful heart, we must first allow it to break before the Lord. “Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit,”7 the Lord declares. The result of sacrificing our heart, or our will, to the Lord is that we receive the spiritual guidance we need. With a growing understanding of the Lord’s grace and mercy, we will find that our self-willed hearts begin to crack and break in gratitude. Then we reach for Him, yearning to yoke ourselves to the Only Begotten Son of God. In our brokenhearted reaching and yoking, we receive new hope and fresh guidance through the Holy Ghost.” (Neill F. Marriott)
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” (Matt. 6:21)
“Yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever” (Alma 37:36).
So much Yoga talk out there about our hearts... Google the Heart Chakra!
Yoga Practice Outline:
Meditation/Awareness: Become aware of your heart - where is it, what is in it, what does it treasure? What is the condition of your heart today? (Become aware of ALL your heart - sorrows, joys, vast capacity)
How much of your heart are you willing to give back to God?
What are you holding back? Or what part of your heart is broken?
Can you also give THIS part of your heart to God?
Breath Practice: Expanding Heart
Breathe Light of Christ into heart
Breathe Gratitude into heart
Breathe visualizing ALL your HEART …
Inhale: fill up your whole heart with prana and gratitude.
Exhale: send it all back to God.
Movement Practice: opt. Intention: “reaching and yearning to yoke”
(continuing with Inhale / Exhale practice)
Opening and Balancing lower 3 chakras
Heart awakening and opening practice
Giving your whole heart to your Heavenly Parents. Christ witnesses and helps you do so. Maybe they give you back your heart purified, like a crystal.
End Meditation: Lotus hands
“The blossoming lotus represents your heart opening. The flower is firmly rooted in the “mud” of the lower chakras, but it is adamant in its resolve to grow upward toward the light – the knowledge of the higher centres. The lotus is a symbol of your inner beauty emerging from the darkness.” (Watkins) … or whatever you want it to represent.
I HEART YOGA WITH ADRIENE! And here is a nice little video from her with Heart Chakra Yoga. Enjoy!
Excited to share that I will be holding a 6 Week Christ-Centered Yoga Series starting Jan 2018. I love studying and creating these types of experiences, and share them here in case anyone would like to learn more about this perspective!
This series is inspired by Mark 12:30-31
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
Week 1: Breath of Life
Week 2: Love with all your Heart
Week 3: Love with all your Mind
Week 4: Love with all your Soul (Body/Spirit Connection)
Week 5: Love with all your Strength
Week 6: Love your Neighbor as Yourself (Partner/Group)
Saturday 9:30am - 10:45am, Valdosta GA LDS Building
Bring: Yoga Mat/Towel/Blanket; Extra Towel; Water and snacks if needed (especially my preggo ladies)
"My beloved brothers in Christ, the God of creation, who breathed life into the universe, surely has the power to breathe life into you. Surely He can make of you the genuine, spiritual being of light and truth you desire to be."