“Joseph answered Pharaoh: “[to interpret your dream” is beyond me. God will respond to Pharaoh’s welfare” (Genesis 41:16)
When was the last time that you felt like you were in the pits? An occasion when you felt as if you’d been betrayed by your family, sold into slavery, falsely accused of sexual wrongdoings, locked up in a dark jail and left to rot? Hopefully things will never get this bad but we can often feel as if life has its moments of darkness. Today’s Kosher Sutra is about trusting that things will work out…and discovering our inner power.
Our Bibliyoga practice is about transformation living and elevating ourselves: the whole essence of yoga is about coming into the moment 100% and becoming fully present in every limb and with every breath. It’s a lot easier said than done which is why one aspect of pranayama, the yogic energy-breathing practice, focuses on closing the epiglottis so that we can listen to our breath and concentrate on the smoothness of the sound….rather than getting seduced by the craziness of our thoughts.
As we become centred and become at one with our body and mind, we begin to develop our physical power and also our mental power. Yoga means ‘oneness’. When we are truly at one with the moment, we cannot worry about the future as we are totally absorbed in the present. It is at these moments that we begin to realise our deepest power.
Joseph is sold into slavery. You know the story. Coat, brothers, desert traders, Egypt. What Joseph does is truly remarkable in the way that he keeps going through the dark years, trusting in a higher power. He could have crumbled at any moment, focused on the darkness surrounding him, become obsessed with the things he didn’t have and allowing everything to collapse. Instead he believed with a passion and fervour to such an extent that when opportunity knocked, he came calling. He was ready.
When we trust in God, however you understand that term, we can be free from stress and worry, and free to fully experience the moment. God can be understood as complete presence of mind and body*.
Joseph was so trusting in God that he was free from stress, completely humble and able to confidently use his powers. He had such absolute conviction in his ability that when he met Pharaoh and was asked about his talent for dream-interpretation, his first words to the king were effectively “I can’t actually do it myself. It’s God who’s doing it”.
How do we find our personal power? How do we truly discover what we are good at? How do we connect to this sense of God within? Meditation is an excellent gateway, and yoga is a powerful form of physical meditation.
My yoga teacher Edward once said that enlightenment is all around, we just have to see it. Rabbi Yitzhak Luria taught that the Light is all around and we just have to reveal it. The Kotsker Rebbe explained that God is everywhere, and He’s waiting for us to find Him. Tonight we light the last of the Chanukah candles, a reminder of spiritual light and spiritual potential for everyone.
To recap, it's a layered process of A leading to B leading to C: we begin by trusting in God. This leads to the disappearance of worry and the ability to be fully present in the moment. At that point, once fully present, you can acknowledge, accept and access your powers and talents.
Our yoga posture will be a simple ‘cat-cow meditation’. Joseph is interpreting dreams of cows, so this is a good place to start.
1. Go into an all-fours position on the floor.
2. Inhale and lift your head and pelvis upwards, dropping your chest to the floor (Cow).
3. Exhale arching your back, bringing your head towards your pelvis (Cat)
4. Continue this movement, arching back and forth.
Listen to your breathing and then see where your body is directing you towards. You may need to stretch your legs, your back, your shoulders. Meditate on realising your inner power and trusting…
Shabbat Shalom, Happy Chanukah and Seasons Greetings!
December 2009, London
*based on the verse of God’s own self-description, “I will be what I will be” Exodus 3:14). In other words, complete present-moment awareness.
The Kosher Sutras©Marcus J Freed 2010/5770