I met Irit almost 35 years ago in Los Angeles. From the beginning, she has been a friend and a teacher, whose wise words and right actions in the world convey the authenticity of her loving heart.

A different lens
by Irit Umani, Austin, Texas

What if we thought about this time that we are living through as “meeting a challenge,” or “meeting the call,” rather than “winning a war”?

A crisis is always also an opportunity, in which we can meet who we are through a different lens. When I am “meeting,” I am in relationship, and when I am “winning,” I am in “othering.” When we meet a challenge, we are in the heart of compassion; when we are in a mind-space of war, we are in domination and power over. When we are in a war, we are in armor; when we listen to a call, we are in an open, receptive, life-affirming state of being. Words matter. Words change our approach, our choices, our actions.

The other day I had an exchange with our Reverend Chuck in which I was posing a question: “What would Jesus do?” (I ask this often.) Rev. Chuck responded in a way that helped me hear the deeper question: “What does love require?” I was so deeply thankful for his response. He offered another lens. My question was more than a little self-righteous, while his was vast and heart-centered.

In the world of Hatha Yoga—the yoga of the body—wash your hands, use gloves and masks, disinfect, take walks.

In the world of Bhakti Yoga—the yoga of devotion—pray, chant, meditate, attend your church’s Zoom services.

In the world of Karma Yoga—the yoga of service and action—love your neighbor, feed the hungry, check on your friends and the stranger, make masks to give, support a cause.

These are examples, suggestions, lenses. Make your own lists. The idea is to remain conscientious, loving, and faithful. It is truly important, I believe, that this time of isolation and quarantine, this time of less doing, is used well individually and to the benefit of all beings. There are opportunities in this unique time that we do not usually have in the world of doing, doing, doing that we lived in until recently. We have the time now to examine: Is my house a “prison,” or is it a “sanctuary”? Am I in despair or in faith? Am I judging more intensely or loving more spaciously?

And oh, what an opportunity for GRATITUDE! Let us be aware of and grateful for our plenty, for belonging in a community, for the people who serve us at their own risk, for family,……for….(fill the blank) for….for…..for God in the midst of it all.

May you feel safe and content. May you live with ease. May you love well. May you know peace.

May all beings feel safe and content. May all beings live with ease. May all beings love well. May all beings know peace.

1 Comment

  1. I found this piece very inspiring and it opened up spaces in my thinking about this time I had thought of as “isolation” and “separateness”. I hope to let those new thoughts germinate and lead me in a positive direction!

    Liked by 1 person

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