Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to Love God

     We all know assumptions are dangerous things. None the less, it is my assumption that anyone checking out a blog titled Faith on the Mat has a hope in God existing if not a firm belief. And hoping or believing in a Supreme Being is probably paired with wanting to be in the good graces of this Deity. Really, I cannot imagine the person wishing to be in trouble with a vengeful God, but then this is probably not because they don't exist but rather a lack of imagination on my part. But I digress.So we believe and we wish to live in harmony with God, how does this happen?

     If I want to express love to my husband I can take the easy way out and use my language or perhaps a physical touch. But if I really really want to express true love I will honor and respect him, expecting the best and always working to build him up. You know, the love God describes to us in
 I Corinthians 12. Love is a verb not a heart shaped box of chocolates. But again I digress, this is a post about loving God not whispering sweet nothings to your significant other. So how do we love God? Shouting to the sky and releasing love poems in helium balloons  is not the answer!

     Luckily we don't have to ponder the answer too long. God tells us if we want to love Him then we have to love His children. We have to care for His creation. This amazing planet He placed us on deserves the best treatment we can give it. We have always had dogs and we have always walked them regularly. For the first few years of walking I would notice a piece of litter and sigh and shake my head at the grossness of people who litter. A few years of that judgement and God showed me, if I want to love Him don't judge the litterer just pick up the litter.

     Taking care of the animals and the planet are definitely love actions towards God, but if we really really want to love God we have to love His people. yes, that means the manic who cut you off on the highway. But what does that even mean? Do you chase him down and say through gritted teeth "I love you jerk?" Well, no, that's not love. But maybe you don't allow yourself to project murderous thoughts towards Mr. Highwayman. Maybe you take a deep breath, send a loving thought and drive on. Love is patient, love is kind...Love applies to every single human being on earth....yup everyone. Hating terrorists creates a hateful environment in which terror thrives. Hating the "other side" in politics creates an atmosphere in which a country could implode. Even hating someone who has personally harmed you is not pleasing to God or helpful to yourself. So, if you want to please God you have to love His people every single irritating, beautiful crazy person!  You don't have to like them all but if you want to live in harmony with our Creator you have to at least attempt harmony with His created.  We have to let go of the idea of "them and us" and remember we all share this earth, we all share a Creator and imagine if we all shared the intention to love one another ....we could create heaven right here on earth!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Breaths

     When does the desire for self improvement cross over into self bullying? When will we deem ourselves "good enough"? A continual striving to be a better version of ourselves is kinda like telling God that His masterpiece (you) is alright but you could do better. This is not a call to ignore our faults or to give in to our darkness....this is just a call for today to "just be".

     Just for one day can we accept the make and model that God gave us? Just for one day can we rest in the fact that we are wonderfully uniquely knit together? Just for one day can we breath in and out Gods love. Nothing more nothing less....Just breath and just be.
This is also not a call to sit still and do nothing. The stillness of self acceptance can and should come in the midst of our daily tasks. Dare I say the self acceptance of who we are now can come in the midst of refining who we are? It is a fine line only clearly negotiated with prayer, meditation, contemplation, stillness...
If we only meditate on the mat then we are severely limited in our capacity for awareness, self and otherwise.

     So on the highway, in the grocery store, at work and play today JUST BE. Be with your breath, be with yourself as you are not as you wish you were. Be in this moment because it is all we really have, so let's not waste it wishing we were something we're not. Rather today let's just be with our beautiful perfect flawed selves with an attitude of self acceptance and love....Nothing more nothing less...

     A challenge to you and to me today: at least three times during the day just stop what we're doing and take three deep slow breaths. Baby stepping our way to greatness...