I have written about the practice of Bikram Yoga as a way of describing how regular practice (discipline) of something that works on the whole body opens up space for the Spirit to speak (whispers). Not unlike the practice of praying and reflecting upon the Word – a personal discipline of mine which has manifested in this blog.
Two very different ‘practices’ and disciplines, but both grow me – mature me – in a very similar way because of the mirrors essential to each practice. In yoga, I face a mirror. In scripture, I am instructed by the Spirit to pause in order for the Word I’m reading, to read me. And it is those pauses which end up as reflections on this blog.
The Bikram yoga student is instructed to look at themselves in the mirror as they are practicing in order to sense, internally, their alignment (justification) with the position. By looking in the mirror the eyes see what the body is doing and can adjust. The mirror reflects back what the student thinks they are doing but can see that they aren’t. Is your thigh muscle contracted or is it soft? By looking at yourself you can see that you might have missed the contraction because you were focusing on a different muscle, one you are trying to tone or perhaps one that will just get you through the dreaded posture. Either way, a slight correction that comes from seeing yourself in the mirror can make all the difference in terms of growing you rightly.
There are times when I choose not to look in the mirror. I avert my eyes, and look elsewhere – either the floor or on someone else. But I intentionally avert my eyes because sometimes I find this the best way to sense what IS going on internally. Sometimes, in order to ‘feel’ the right alignment (justification) I know I have to go ‘inside’ and not let the mirror – looking at myself – distract me.
And so it is with scripture and my daily practice of theological reflection. Sometimes I have to avert my eyes. The mirror for me is this blog. I pray through the readings and when I am stopped – the pause button is what I name this as – when I am stopped at a word or phrase I know my eyes leave the page. I look elsewhere, usually up and away from the word or phrase. I have come to identify these as Holy Spirit moments; pauses in which my eyes are averted from the words so I can sense internally what the Spirit is saying about my alignment (justification). Am I reading this right? Is there a personal application? Am I being honest with myself about what God has revealed in His Word and my understanding of that revelation? Am I focused on the right muscle or am I distracted by my own circumstance, my own heart, my own will thereby not strengthening the muscle the Spirit is pointing to?
The pause button was hit every day so far this week. My eyes averted, I heard lots from the Spirit. And I wrote down those thoughts as drafts for this blog. But I didn’t complete or publish. Instead, I found myself wondering about the usefulness of this practice, at all. What kind of mirror is a blog if it only reflects back on myself?
My Bikram Yoga practice is all about me, just as the blogging is, for the most part. I don’t know how either glorifies God. What I do know is that a life lived focused only on self is not holy, not sanctified, not grown, not blessed and incapable of being one who sanctifies, grows and blesses others.
So that’s where I am, for today. Wondering. Pausing. Eyes averted but sensing the Spirit is trying to say something about the practice of blogging.