This was a text to my husband in the context of a conversation about religion and spirituality. He said, “you should blog about that!” So here I am, blogging about it.
Spiritually is an internal process, not an external one. It’s what makes it so much work and why people struggle so much. They are looking externally for answers to the Divine, and the only way to find the connection is to go inward.
I think most of the time, I have sought the Divine in the external while thinking I was turning inward and “being spiritual.” There is a verse in the Bible that I like and have thought about a lot this past year.
13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.Matthew 7:13-14
Work on our inner life and how we relate to the world around us is not easy work, and I have found it the most rewarding work of my life. I have found that turning inward and examining who I am and what I believe is an ongoing journey. I have been different people in my life for various reasons, and that is okay because if I wasn’t those different people with different beliefs, I couldn’t be who I am today. And now in my 40’s I like who I am today, I needed those experiences in life that, while going through them, seemed like I might not reach the other side.
For me, yoga is much more than postures on a mat in a studio with cool clothes. Yoga is part of my spiritual journey inward to find space to observe where I am at, at any given moment in time and reflect on what I need. I put the verse above in this blog because I think this is not a path taken by many. I believe we numb out with food or drink or drugs or busyness or even religion. We look for external “fixes” to solve our problems. If I just work out more, if I just eat healthily, if I just did XYZ better – I would feel better.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:11-13
This is a verse that Paul wrote to the Philippians. To me, it’s an expression of non-attachment which is in Yoga Sutra 1.12:
Practice (abhyasa) of non-attachment (vairagya) brings wisdom (viveka), our ability to see the truth of who we are.
Abhyasa vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah, or through practice we can cultivate non-attachment.https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-sutra-1-12-translation-and-commentary
Paul says here through his experience of having and not having he is satisfied either way. Then, in the end, he gives honor to a power greater than himself or, as we say in Al-Anon, “our higher power”.
I don’t have answers, but I love that as I get older, I have more questions, asking them without fear. I am okay to challenge beliefs I have held for so long and hold onto them like an old t-shirt I have but no longer serve a purpose in my life. I love that yoga offers me an abundant inner life that helps me accept my life circumstances with more ease and comfort.
Today was a new moon, and with the new moon, we are invited to set a new intention each month. That can be something new you want to start or something old you want to let go. What can your new intention be for this month?
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