« Inspired by His Life, May We be Motivated by his Death | Main | The Heart of the Matter »

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yesterday I attended the world premier of I Believe - a Shoah Requiem, composed by Daniel Gross. It was a Detroit community-wide interfaith observance with 6 adult and 2 children’s choirs, representative speakers from the legislature, the Archdiocese of Detroit, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church, Greater New Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, St. John Armenian Church, and Rabbis and Cantors from many of our local synagogues and temples. My brother was a member of one of the choirs - his passion for singing is as great as mine is for yoga.

Although through the practice of yoga, we are instructed to stay in the moment of each breath, we are also taught to honor, study and remember - but not to dwell. Viktor Frankl, who not only survived the nightmares of the Holocaust, wrote one of the greatest books ever written about the spirit and courage of the human condition, Man’s Search for Meaning:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Many of us have bleak, dark days and while most of us have not suffered in any way, shape or form what those who experienced the Holocaust or the millions of other people who have been tortured, maimed murdered and objectified in the name of politics, religion, nationality and/or a myriad of other supposed reasons, these days and feelings should not be minimized. We feel what we feel and it is real. But, our yoga practice gives us tools to manage these days by observing and using our breath, not to change our circumstances but to manage through them. Live through them so that we can add the experience to our repertoire and develop the compassion and motivation to change. To see the light through the darkness...

The final chorus of I Believe was based on an unassigned inscription found on the wall of a cave in Cologne where Jews had been hiding. Translated from the original French:

 

 

I believe in the sun 

even when it’snot shining

I believe in love

even when feeling it not.

I believe in God

even when He is silent.

 

 

“They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl
May our yoga practice support our ability to to experience the darkness yet open our hearts to the light. To remember, but not to dwell, on either evil or goodness. To walk our paths hand-in-hand, breath-by-breath as one, honoring the divine spirit within each and every one of us.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>