Yoga and meditation practitioners are some of the nicest people I’ve ever known. This is hardly counterintuitive; both practices tend to have a civilizing influence on people. Yoga enables bodily flexibility, while meditation creates the space for mental agility, compassion, and equanimity.
There’s a spendid place not from where I live called Tai Sophia. The Chinese word “Tai” means “great,” and the Greek word “Sophia” means “wisdom.” It’s essentially a graduate school for students interested in pursuing careers in life coaching, counseling, and similar life-affirming fields. Central to their mission is the idea of developing in every teacher, staff member and student something they call “the healing presence.” The idea is to be so fully present, centered, and calm that one’s mere presence will have a healing effect on others. What an excellent idea!
The healing presence can be felt not only in face-to-face encounters, but also in sound recordings, through electronic media, and in print. I’m sure many readers of YogaFlavoredLife have watched videos of meditation or yoga teachers and felt calmed and quieted just by watching and hearing those teachers speak. For me, the well-known teachers who most fully embody this aspect are Thich Nhat Hahn, the Dalai Lama, and Sharon Saltzburg. No doubt you’ve read books and even magazine articles in great periodicals (like Spirituality and Health, Yoga Journal, and others) that have had a similar effect on you.
A regular yoga and meditation practice is probably one of the best ways of developing and maintaining a genuine healing presence. The ability to elicit calm, peace, and balance in other people is fully dependent upon our nurturing them in ourselves. As Thich Nhat Hahn writes in his wonderful book Being Peace,
“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.”
May we all develop the kind of presence that puts people at ease, helps to relieve their anxieties, and sets the stage for healing.