Let the Light Shine

Today is Ash Wednesday. For many Christians, this day marks the first day of Lent, a period of contemplation and prayer echoing Jesus’ 40 days in the desert as he prepared for his death and resurrection. Often known as the Light of the World, Jesus is a fascinating figure for both religious and secular reasons alike. Although I don’t personally belong to any one religious group, I was raised Catholic and I appreciate many different beliefs and find Truth in many different places. I see this period of Lent as an opportunity to remind myself of the cyclical nature of reality and the fact that the Light can never be fully extinguished, that it always rises again in our hearts and minds if we let it.
I always read quotes at the end of my yoga classes, and last week I chose a series of quotes from different religions about helping others. Then I got sick and couldn’t teach, so I recycled them for this week. Fittingly, the quote I read today came from the New Testament of the Bible. I’ve heard this passage so many times, but today as I read it I felt the words more deeply than ever before. Christian or not, I invite you to read these words also and be open to see Truth in them:
Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
One way to commemorate this time of year, or anytime, is to make a commitment to give back, donating time, money, or energy to a worthy cause. There are many worthy causes that deserve our attention, and social media is often a way for people to spread awareness about these causes. Funny thing about people though, we often aren’t content to simply support and share about causes we find worthy. Too often we feel the need to disparage someone else’s cause or beliefs in order to bolster our own. I find myself getting caught up in the latest controversy, feeling the need to throw in “my two cents.” I have to remind myself to take a step back, and that those two cents could be put to a better use. The energy that could be put to use helping someone instead is wasted arguing over who and how we should help. Time and money are spent on tearing down instead of building up, criticism instead of compassion, and arguing instead of acting. In the name of good, we do bad, and no one wins. I can’t imagine that’s what Jesus or any other teacher of Truth would want.
I invite you to join me in making a renewed commitment to see God, Love, and Light in all beings and to treat them accordingly. Ram Dass said to treat everyone you meet as God in drag. Swami Sivananda said to bow humbly to beggars as they too are the image of the Lord. Jesus taught us to provide basic needs and kindness to those without. He didn’t say to ask whether the hungry are working hard enough, whether the stranger is Christian or Muslim, whether the sick person is liberal or conservative, or whether the prisoner deserves the sentence they are serving. He taught us to help others, and in doing so we allow the Light to shine through us.


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Erin Marie Yoga



Helping people who are ready for better

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