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Breathing and Singing


The last thing I want to do after hearing a few hours of speeches from the DNC--or the RNC--is to be told what to think by the commentators just waiting to keep me from using the bathroom once the speeches end. This all stems from my experience in yoga classes, both as a teacher and a student (oh, I'm always being a student). What happens is, you finish the active poses, the asanas. They're intense. They're supposed to be. They work on your brain and on your body and also, if you're inclined to believe in one, on your soul. Then you get into savasana which translates as 'corpse pose.' You lie there for a good ten minutes as some kind of non-melodic music un-scripts the non-stop narrative your brain creates. Et voila! You get up after that mini-hiatus a good deal more awake than you were when you first lay your body down, your mind generally clearer and also more aware that you have a whole being beneath your neck. Yoga is like sex in a lot of ways. But that is a post for another day. My impatience with the immediate-pundit-response to the DNC and RNC also has to do with my experience with worship services, both as a pastor and as a participant. If you're fortunate enough to hear a good sermon, the last thing you need is to be herded into those dreadful scripted prayers that denominational publishing houses print out so that pastors don't need to write their own.

What you need to do after a decent sermon (what you should do after a bad one is leave the sanctuary) is sing. Yes, sing. One of those florid, minor-key dramatic hymns that are hard-to-follow, but leave your brain on a relaxed, other-worldly plane. The 18th and 19th-century German hymn writers excelled at this. On the other hand, so did all those chanting medieval monks. Sometimes the brain just needs a break so that we can really figure something out.


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