FAITHBOOK – ORTHODOXY
Hidden fire: Orthodox perspectives on Yoga
By Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
2 Corinthians 6:14–18
* * *
I was raised Roman Catholic. I loved prayer. Walks through woods, playing in creeks, running through the vast fields of the imagination. These were like prayer for me: the silence, the stillness, the hesychia children find themselves in almost by nature. I didn’t always stay in this prayerful place. But I recognized it. And I took it for granted, as a simple activity within the heart.
We all experience this to varying degrees. We use different words—or none at all, because they all seem so inadequate—to express the heart’s movement toward God. It seems when we are innocent in heart, especially when we are very young, there is a tangible perception of two in these experiences. Lover and Beloved. The Someone Else. As I child, I didn’t articulate this Presence as Christ—just as I never articulated my parents by their names. I just knew them.
* * *
As a high school student—my grandparents put me through an all-boy Roman Catholic high school—I wanted to be a Trappist monk. I attended services regularly and read the Bible often. Scripture really is like a door. You can enter through it and the Holy Spirit takes you places without ever really lifting your shoes off the ground. But I knew there was something more. A difference between reading about the experiences and the experience Himself.
Dr. Harry Boosalis writes in Holy Tradition: “We are not called simply to ‘follow’ Tradition or ‘mimic’ Tradition. We are called to experience it…just as the Saints have and continue to do.” We know something is missing in the world around us. Some richness, some depth we are vaguely aware of and long after. This is, of course, the richness of God’s love, light, and grace. But, at that time of my life, I didn’t have the language to express this. Like so many, I attributed this dissatisfaction, this unease, to other things.
Then a psychology professor in high school guided my class through self-hypnosis. My intrigue with meditation followed quickly thereafter. I felt relaxed. I let my guard down to new experiences. I felt as if the back door of my heart opened permanently. I rejected God ‘to go it alone on my own.’ I experienced, very clearly, a light switching off inside me. The Presence, the Continue reading “Hidden fire: Orthodox perspectives on Yoga – Fr. Joseph Magnus Frangipani”