The Next 40 Days: Yoga & the Practices of Lent

 

Lent a time of self-reflection, a time to consider what is really important in your life beyond your body, beyond weight loss, beyond your eating habits, beyond your house, car or clothing. Lent regardless of your faith filled backbone, is an opportunity to fast from the things that take you further away from your authentic truth, your relationship with the Self, God, Buddha, Universal Consciousness, Humanity and the ones that you would in fact put your life on the line for.

Lent is an allotted time, a re-birthing so to speak that is placed in Christianity 40 days before Jesus rose again, but interestingly enough also right smack dab in the middle of our earth’s re-birthing from a deep cold winter, when the birds come back to their homeland, when snow turns to water for the newly budding flowers and wildlife to once again begin to roam the open landscape. A perfect opportunity when the earth goes from cold dormant and quiet to vibrant, life filled and well beginning again.

I listen to the conversations of many that surround me and read much posted on-line and sometimes I feel many have forgotten why one would refrain from something in a time like this (and could in fact benefit). I hear people converse about how the times have changed and not eating meat on Friday’s is crazy and pointless, and what really is the point. And in all honesty my opinion is that over the years it’s turned into one day, one day people are asked to refrain from something they probably mindlessly eat on a daily basis and remember that there is something greater than themselves, I consider that the animal that would otherwise be eaten is thought of a bit more as something part of the cycle of life and death that we are equally a part of. Not eating meat(or anything else) is an active act of consciousness, an act of willpower, deep seeded connection with a higher purpose, a greater good a reminder that we are not in charge and must practice self-control.

Now I’m not a meat eater by choice, choices that I will not bring into this conversation but the act of refraining, of acknowledging that we need to check ourselves and respect that which put us here, is I believe the real point of such a request.

But this is not about whether to eat meat on Friday’s in Lent or not, this is about you making a choice to challenge your inner being, to remember that self-control is becoming a lost art. That refraining or consciously making a choice to be better than the day before is an act of self-respect, and discipline, and that of respecting everyone around you one thought at a time.

I continually find myself mulling over ideas, thoughts and life changes I would love to make, but often lack the real drive to do something about it, one because many require both myself and family to be on board and two some may require radical life changes that may uproot many aspects of my life. Any change is a tradeoff, something to consider how you then will be able to handle everything else that may go a rye or give you grief when you chose to implement such a request.

But let me bring you into my head for a moment. When you feel a change on your heart over and over and over again and you meditate and pray on it for many moons and it still is as passionate as ever, yet you know those around you may not be on board at first, that is no good reason to not implement such a desire into your life. It is when you reject such a desire and make excuses as to why you were not able to commit and follow through that is the real excuse and disappointment of the experience.

40 days, 40 beautiful days filled with opportunity to really step up and grow radically, to finally follow through with all of those thing that linger around you unfinished, cluttering your home, your work, your life your mind.

For 40 days it’s a sign of respect that you are not on top, that you cannot do it all alone that you are a part of something greater than yourself and to show respect to that it is not out of reach to say that you can spend 40 days out of 365 days refraining, fasting, or abstaining from that which takes you away from your greater purpose. Humble?

Letting go of something that is “important” to you, something you find you cannot live without, or find has become a habitual part of your daily grind. How many times do you check your phone (can’t handle the stillness and quiet), scan Facebook (mindlessly), watch T.V., gossip, walk right past the mess on the floor, counter or bedroom without a blink of an eye because you are simply too busy to deal with it, because yes the previously stated does require much of your time and is very pressing business to attend to in order to function in this life. My point here is what I just spoke of is not life threating to drop for 40 days, it won’t break the bank to give it up or let go of, and this I can promise you, the manic feelings you get, the sleeplessness you find yourself dealing with, the jumping mind hungry for what everyone else is doing will begin to quite within a couple of days as you step away from all that crap.

You say you don’t have money, but yet you have enough to go out the bar each weekend, you say you don’t have time each day yet you have enough to spend three plus hours watching T.V. each night. You say you are tired, and then go to bed! You say you just cannot stop eating at night, it might be because you don’t eat enough during the day and then engage in mindless activity at night that leads you to unconsciously feed the inner desire to be something greater than you are right now with food instead of soulful stimulation.

So for 40 days consider a number of things, the obvious, less T.V., maybe NO T.V., it’s 40 days, you will survive, to talk less about your truth to others and reflect more on your truth to yourself (and then reflect on how that feels to not justify yourself to everyone around you). Maybe hit your yoga mat more or for the first time ever, because sitting on the couch will not help you clear your mind, things will only fester, and on top of that, couch sitting has not been shown to increase flexibility, breathing patterns or promote weight loss, plus not many yoga classes I know of condone eating on your yoga mat.

For 40 days work to be better than you are right now, work a little harder, and even though your materialistic mind says that changing these little things won’t make a change, I beg to differ, these are the things keeping you from experiencing life at its fullest, keeping you from checking off your to do list and keeping you from what matters most, a relationship with your Higher Self, God, Buddha or Universal Consciousness.

So for 40 conscious days my hope is to challenge the areas of my life that I have just let go to the wayside, the areas of my life that I have allowed myself to blame on those around me as to why I am the way I am; I will work to hold my tongue and be as still as possible and simply take it as character building, but be ever more mindful not to recycle that onto my children, spouse and friends, but rather into my practice and prayer. For 40 days I will not put myself before my Creator, I will not separate myself from the fact that I am a part of something greater than myself, I will not allow my own self-indulgences and excuses keep me from living the best life possible (because it’s us keeping ourselves from whatever it is we want, just some choices are very difficult).

For 40 days what will you do, how will you act? At a minimum, regardless of your thoughts as to why Christian’s are told to abstain from meat on Friday’s, would it kill you to consciously be more aware not to eat it, you have thousands of other food choices you can live a day, right? For 40 days try to be better, it will be hard and probably frustrating, uncomfortable and inconvenient at times, hopefully it will force you to turn off the auto pilot and shift into manual drive; but the reward, I promise you, the reward will be a deep relationship with those around you and hopefully that which you came from.

Good luck on the next 40 days….

If you plan on making a change this next 40 days, share this with a friend and tell them wh

(Image by churchleaders.com)


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