01 Nov The divine within each of us
I had once the visit at my studio of an Indonesian woman, originally from Flores, who was the wife of a Balinese man. She had a Christian background, and was having difficulties adjusting to Balinese Hinduism and culture. When she entered my yoga studio, she was shocked to see a picture of Christ with Krishna and other portraits of other spiritual masters and deities.
Noting her confusion, I tried to explain that I believe in a transcendental self. This belief means I see spirit in everything. I further explained that I believed there is a power that is bigger than us. This power manifests itself in different forms according to different cultures. With this belief, I explained that I felt safe and free to pray anywhere I felt good.
Her confusion continued as we walked around my property. While in my garden, she noticed several Hindu deity statues. Just as the portraits in my studio had confused her, she was confused further by the statues. I explained that Hindus understand an object carries energy. Because of this, when we pray, or make offerings to a statue more energy is created. Hindus choose particular deities to carry different manifestations of energy, but the source is always the same. And besides, western science has already recognized that an object that is being focused on is charged with energy.
As I watched her, I could see and identify with the anguish she was experiencing. When I saw the expression on her face, I remembered when I was a young woman and first joined a spiritual conference. The teacher of the conference made us chant “I AM GOD I AM.” I was reluctant to repeat the chant because I was afraid I would loose myself, just as she was feeling now.
I have since had the pleasure of traveling to many places all over the world. I have prayed in a variety of spiritual places including churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. Through these experiences, I have learned that divine energy is within and around each of us. As long as we make the effort to connect to the divine spirit within, we will have an internal compass.
Some people mistake yoga for a religion and yet, there are only two mentions of our transcendental nature in the yoga sutras of Pantanjali. The most famous quote is Isvarapranidhana “Surrendering to the Ultimate one”. Patanjali Yoga Sutras teach us that the purpose of yoga is to connect with the witness within so we can master mind, emotion and body and by extension attain a higher level of consciousness.
I have had the privilege to live in Bali for many years and I have been to India many times to study. These life experiences have allowed me to be influenced by Hinduism. I believe in a variety of tools that come from Indian yogic philosophy, but I also believe that these are not necessary in one’s yogic practice. In fact, I use several affirmations in my classes that come from popular western teachers including Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, and many others.
As yoga teacher and trainer I understand yoga supports any spiritual life, as it is not a religion. Yoga guides us on our spiritual path by teaching us to be aware of ourselves and by connecting with our transcendent self. It teaches us to connect with the silence within, in the heart space, a place where we can all unite.
There is a space within your heart. A space that is unlimited and undivided. When you are in that space within you and I am in this space within me, we are one. Undivided and unlimited… The divine within me bows to the divine within you. With the outmost respect Namaste.