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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What Do You Believe?

One of the many great things about teaching yoga and yogic philosophy is that it forces me to figure out what it is I actually believe.

So many of us have been taught certain things about life (or Life!); about God; about ourselves. Growing up, we took this information in as fact, and never looked back. Never explored or pondered. As my mother says, most of us are whatever religion our parents are, mostly because of where and when we were born. Most of us are raised thinking in a certain way; observing certain rituals and holidays; and we stick with that system our entire lives.

Truly: Have you chosen the way you worship and attune to the Divine power of the Universe? Do you even really believe in a single, omniscient being? Or have your beliefs, your rituals, your methods of worship been chosen for you?

I think about this often, because I’m still figuring out my relationship with God. It is continually evolving; and it’s quite different than it used to be.

>I’m also trying to figure out what I believe, and what I don’t. Which is what I love about yoga. Yoga doesn’t say “believe this” -- it says “read and study; then go inside, be quiet; and figure it out.”

Using the “G” word often brings up the image of a big, white guy with a flowing white beard and robe. The old image in my own mind must have come from a painting I saw as a child, because I also see Him with one arm outstretched toward me.

Depending on how my self-image was on that day, He could appear to be offering help; or about to give me a slap upside the head.

In that old mode of thinking, I felt that anything difficult or uncomfortable that happened to me was a punishment. It felt safe to wallow in that misery, to wear the mantle of a “sinner.” Just trying to bear my junk with enough dignity to somehow be washed clean by that suffering.

I’m so over that.

In Kriya Yoga we would say that when things go wrong; when horrible things occur; it’s karma. It’s not a punishment; God is not the purveyor of evil; it’s the law of cause and effect. A way to learn.

What do you believe?

In our school of yogic philosophy, we believe in reincarnation. I have memories of past lives, have met people and had too much of a deep connection for there not to have been some type of past relationship. That’s my personal experience.

What do you believe?

In Kriya Yoga, there is one God and we recognize that we are also divine beings; with a spark of spirit within us that is actually a part of that Mother/Father God. Have you felt the spark of divinity, that brief feeling of complete oneness?

What do you believe?

We believe that as humans, we have just enough free will to dig ourselves a really big hole during these incarnations; or possibly live, learn and move on.

What do you believe?

Do the prayers you speak, the rituals you conduct and participate in – are they feeding you soul? Are you tuned in, connected – feeling it? Figuring it out? Recognizing your body as a temple; your mind as your servant and not your master; your spirit as eternal, unchanging?

Do you feel that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, instead of the other way round?

If not – then it’s time to figure it out; as Kriyananda says “you must graduate from this kindergarten” and by that he means life on Earth.

Figure out what it is you have come here to learn; what you need to evolve; how can you become a gift to the world. Figure out what you believe; what symbols are meaningful to you; what prayers, what songs. What is your spiritual ideal? The highest of high for you?

How are you going to conduct yourself in this life? What connects you to your highest and best self?

I will close with one of my favorite quotes, from Robert Wilkinson of the astrology website A very eloquent creed for us all.

“Love God, love each other, tell the truth, love your past, love your present, love your future, love your friends, love your enemies, love the plants, love the animals, love the angels, love the children, and above all else, love yourself for the spark of Divine Love that you are, always have been, and always will be. You are Love without measure or limit. You are the mystery, the truth, and the light. You are God’s love made manifest.

Live that, and be free.”

All credit to Robert, for that beautiful creed for living. To that, I say, “Amen” or maybe, “Aum.”



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