One of the surprise film hits of the last 12 months was Michael Jackson's This Is It. It was a surprise because he was supposed to be doign a series of performances in London's 02 centre rather than having a film release that substituted as a memorial tribute and celluloid epitaph. The film was even more surprising as it revealed that despite the oddball circus surrounding his life that he was still an immense talent, in touch with an almost superhuman ability to create the perfect stage show and inspire those around him through superb song and dance. Society usually rewards and celebrates human beings who realise their ultimate potential, even though they may be flawed in their own life. Whether it's athletes at the top of their game, artists or orators, there's something truly uplifting about seeing people who can reach beyond the realms of regular achievement.
One view of the 10 commandments is that they are 10 statements of freedom, each being a tool for liberation. In theory, if we are able to approach them with an open mind and an open heart, they can lift us up out of the challenge of everyday life and help us become the greatest possible version of ourselves. Bibliyoga is concerned with Tools for Transformation and today's Kosher Sutra is about touching the infinite potential within all of us.
Physical yoga practice - asana and vinyasa - is literally about expanding ourselves. We increase our breath capacity through engaging our abdominal, thorassic and clavicular breathing, introduce more oxygen into our bloodstream, fill our body with more dynamic energy, sharpen our mental focus and clarity, stretch our muscles and increase flexibility and boost our physical strength. A great physical yoga session will reconnect us with our true potential and today's Bibliyoga Boost will guide us towards realising our spiritual greatness.
The Kosher Sutra, "do not make graven images" is contraversial because so many religions are into statues, idols, icons and other images of God. The problem with statues, in my understanding, is that it limits the idea of God. How can you capture the full power of a sunrise in a painting? How can you limit the beautiful feeling of love for your partner in a statue? How can you constrict the emotions of gratitude towards your friends within an icon? According to the 12th-century philosophical writings of Maimonides, every thought and emotion and physical object is an expression of God.
When we limit our view of the Creator, we limit our own potential. Think of the last time you were truly in touch with your own personal power. Think of the broad and fascinating aspects of your personality. Think of all of the wonderful character traits that your closest friends know about. Can you sum it all up in a 140-character tweet? Are you your facebook profile photo? Of course not.
Maimonides is tough on idols. He'd especially have a field day with the statutes that sit at the front of many yoga studios, even though the studio owners claim that they are all representative of aspects of God. This is precisely the problem and precisely what is forbidden (Rambam, Hilchot Deot 2:1). One of the most effective and inspiring ways to practice yoga is to close your eyes, focus on the sound of your breath and just be aware of the sheer vastness within.
Take a mountain pose - standing with your feet together, hands by your sides, eyes closed and body alert. Focus on the sound of your breath and be aware of the vast, unlimited space within your body. Bring your mind to the gap - the gap between thoughts, the gap between breath, the gap between the atoms and neutrons and protons and quarks. Try even taking your mind to Outer Space, imagining the breadth of the universe, the immeasurable limts that we still haven't discovered. Then acknowledge the space and vastness within.
When we can get in touch with this every day, reminding ourselves quite how infinite The Infinite really is, we can begin to touch our greatness within. One of my friends wears a t-shirt that says "God is too big to fit into any religion" and this is true. But can you really open up and allow your inner potential to flow forth? Try re-reading the Kosher Sutra, taking the Mountain Posture, become aware of your vast potential and allow your power to flow. This is it.