By Mary Moscarello
Last Sunday I headed to church, like I typically do. A member of the St. Philip the Apostle Church’s Adult Choir for several years now, I attend mass from the soprano section in the choir loft – accompanied by a massive pipe organ – during the 10 am service.
Locals to Clifton, NJ will know that located directly across from St. Philip’s is St. George’s Greek Orthodox church. On Sundays – because of coinciding service times, it is pretty common to see drivers in cars facing each other on opposite sides of Valley Road, waiting for each other to make their left turn to head either up the hill to St. George’s or (coming from the other direction) turn left to enter St. Philip’s Drive. The cars cross paths and move away from one another.
Though I see this on a weekly basis, for some reason, I observed this regular occurrence last Sunday with a new sense of awareness. At the moment it dawned on me that this “meeting on the road” but taking different paths, ostensibly to take the same time out to worship, connect with a higher presence, find community and seek guidance is so very like what happens in a yoga studio.
I don’t suggest that yoga studios are houses of worship. However, I do know that there have been times I’ve retreated to the sanctuary offered by the studios I have come to know. I am able to find peace and community within their walls, much in the same way I can find peace in the church.
My choir group is an important part of my church community. Together we serve our church family, lifting the congregation in song, helping them celebrate Mass and holy days. I would surmise that the congregation at St. George’s has similar musical additions to their services – and those members probably feel that same connection to one another.
Whether in a yoga studio, temple, mosque, church or natural setting, the truth is that we’re on different paths. Yet, I believe, we’re taking the same journey. The form in which we find ourselves coming together in community to pray, sing, seek comfort or connection matters not. It is the journey itself that matters.
Last night as I led an enthusiastic group of students through a sequence that would reach its peak with a challenging arm balance, I cautioned them against frustration with the outcome and to absolutely avoid comparison to anyone else in the room. I offered the idea that they find joy just being on the journey – knowing that they have company, community and a safe place to gather.