in my spare time…hahaha

In my spare time I keep a yoga sutras online group discussion going. The group members are all moms.
Here is the latest post. I just finished it and thought I’d post it because the topic has been really important to me lately.

1.23
“isvara-pranidhanad-va”
Or [enstasy is gained] through devotion to the Lord.-GF

It can also come from complete surrender to the almighty Lord.-AS
Patanjali says that the act of devotion could be another way for the
yogin to reach samadhi just like those listed in 1.20 are ways to
reach samadhi. But the interesting thing is that in the practice of
Yoga, there is no particular deity one is supposed to worship.
Religion is not a part of the yogic path per se, though many religions
have yoga in them. It’s easy to see how yoga could enrich any
religious life if you think about it as something that clears the
communication between the mundane and the divine.
Patanjali may have meant that one could emulate the archetypal yogin
in one’s personal life. Or Patanjali may be saying that if you have a
God you worship/a religion then true devotion to that God (Bhakti) is
a path to samadhi. Another thought is that what is meant here is a
kind of “god within”.

This sutra always makes me stop and think about my life and it has
resonated even more strongly since I became a mom. Spiritually, I
feel very connected to the divine…but I have no idea what divine I
mean. I was not raised within a particular religion, but I have a very
devotion-prone soul. At times that has created a kind of anxiety for
me as I’ve tried to find a spiritual “home” within a religion or even
within a religious philosophy (I have not yet been able to say I agree
100% with any faith to the extent that I can rule out belief in
another faith if you know what I mean). In a sense I am on a quest to
figure out this really important piece of my humanity and I even
majored in religious studies (which of course only muddied these
waters). So this sutra is important to me because it tells me that
yes, the connection to the divine is potentially that crucial to human
beings. So crucial that one could be enlightened just through purity
of devotion to the divine. This sutra makes me crave even more a
clear path through the spiritual side of life. I SO want to give that
to my children. I wish they could grow up in a home where they see me
chant or pray or light candles to a one single idea/god/path/faith–
even if that single idea is simply “The Divine” without a specific
religion attached. And while I am sure there is a bit of grass always
being greener here, I feel that being raised within a faith must be
more reassuring and rich than being raised without one. It must be
like having roots, an anchor, an answer when you need one. And of
course one big question that religion and/or faith can answer or
simply offer reassurance about is the question of what happens when
this life ends?
Since I became a mom, that desire to have faith and an answer has
gotten even stronger. I look at my babies and I love them so much
it’s overwhelming. And I know that my time with them is short at
best, even if I live to be 100+. Once you have felt such huge love,
how can you ever let go? And yet that’s the human condition: to love
and lose. I have always felt that faith could make this more
bearable.
Also I want to give my children some kind of direction more than what
I had (I grew up surrounded by the Krishna Consciousness movement,
Buddhist monks, Hindu swamis, and a distrust of Christianity that I
have thankfully been able to mostly shed. My parents now head a
Buddhist meditation center in the Karma Kagyu lineage). I am sure my
parents wanted us to feel free to choose our own religion once we
understood what we were choosing, the problem is that once you
understand what you are choosing it’s really hard to choose! To be
clear, it’s not even that I want to give my children a religion, but
rather give them tools to allow their own devotion to the inner divine
to take root and possibly lead them to a clear religious path is what
I want.
So the idea to “surrender” to a God within or God without is so
appealing to me. Devotion/Bhakti is something my soul does
naturally.

What do you mamas think about this?

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2 thoughts on “in my spare time…hahaha

  1. My goodness! That concept was a huge one for me that arose on the Assisi retreat. Through pregnancy, in particular, this one carries me.While speaking with the midwife about home births and complications (I asked some tough questions for Matthias since he couldn't meet her that day). She gave me a very detailed answer and shared some stories. In the end, she told me what she can do at home and also, basically, said ishvara pranidhana….. some of it is just left to God. That is not exactly a comforting thought to the science mind who like facts and was not raised to identify a particular form of the divine!! However, it is the Truth (trying hard to swallow it).AS for imparting it onto the kiddies, I think as with all things we do as mothers, we lead by example. Spirituality radiates from your pores, and there is no way that the children won't know this. Be comfortable with the Divine spirit that carries you even if it doesn't have a nice pagan-based tradition to get you through the winter solstice or spring equinox. It sounds like your family has many traditions, and I think that aspect of the divine is what we carry into our adult lives more than anything. It is the stirring of the anandamaya that sustains us.

  2. haha thanks for the post. these are things i often think of too. glad i was raised without a religion, but often thinking it could have been better, or easier, or something if i'd had some sort of structured idea of the divine.funny thing is i always assumed you had found that peace and path to the divine simply through your yoga practice (something i know little about). maybe it often is a grass is greener subject … i guess really it's just a constant search for that path, or maybe it's just that the path is always there, just never clear. anyway, i understand the desire to feel as though you can provide this path for your children, or at least prove that it can exist. but i guess i sorta think each individual has to battle through this at least to some degree anyway, no matter what they grow up with.

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