I didn’t grow up in a religious family, but I still have had the habit of praying since I was a kid. I remember talking to ‘someone’ in my head asking for help in a situation or wishing for something to happen. Maybe it is a cultural thing?
Since I started studying Yoga, my concept of God has been gradually changing. I can relate to my teacher’s explanations about what God or Divinity is in some Yoga traditions. He often describes Them as Pure Potential. In my understanding of my teacher’s explanations, God is not a ‘super-being’ outside me but rather something bigger than me and at the same time something I have in me. It is a very nice way to define God because it also reminds me that every single being in the world is part of this same Whole as I am.
In Karma Yoga, we are taught that God has nothing to do with our joys and sorrows. The life we have is a product of our actions in both this life and past lives. Because we have lost contact with this inner-divinity – what in Yoga is called the True Self- we keep searching for lasting love, freedom, and bliss in the outer world oftentimes making mistakes that bound us to the circle of Karma – life and death. God doesn’t ‘punish’ us, we experience the consequences of our actions either here or in our next lives.
Furthermore, we are here to experience the world through our mind and senses but to transcend both the world and our idea of ourselves so we can see this True Self. Therefore, Faith is an important part of the Yoga practitioner. Faith in the process, Faith in the Guru, Faith in Divinity, and Faith in oneself.
I believe that Faith is very important because non-attachment is a very important part of the spiritual path. We are invited to let go of what we don’t need for our spiritual development. The path of Yoga is a path of letting go of the attachments that create pain in our lives. It can be ideas we have of ourselves, it can be material things, and it can also be people. We need to surrender to this idea and have Faith in the process to be able to let go.
Coming back to the title of this post, I am changing my way of seeing life and its challenges. I have always been the cautious type and dread difficult situations. I don’t like the idea of meeting obstacles and challenges. I often worry about the well-being of my family and loved ones. In short, I don’t like suffering.
However, according to the Yoga tradition – and other Indian traditions such as Buddhism- pain can be the path to self-development when approached with the right attitude, and even better, since the nature of the outer world is to be transient, no pain is everlasting.
I have been reflecting on my worries and anxieties during this summer, and realize that they are most of the time (if not all the time) unfounded and they rather limit me. Every time I have encountered a difficult situation, I have been able to get through it, and there is always a lesson to learn at the end of the tunnel. Maybe difficult situations are often invitations to let go of our perception that makes the situation painful?
In any case, we all know well that meeting the world with fear is what brings suffering for us and for others because fear blinds us and hinders us from acting in a skillful way.
So, lately, when I catch myself praying to ask for a problem-free situation, I rather ask for the strength and clarity to better handle the situation no matter what, and I must say that it makes me feel freer and lighter than when I ask “please let this happen like this, or like that.”
I have created the habit to connect with this Divinity or Pure Potential every day and especially before I go to sleep to give thanks. I give thanks for another day here. For the moments experienced and for having a nice and soft bed to rest in until the next day. I think Gratitude is an important part of my prayers that also help me change my mindset from worry to positivity.