Growing up amidst mixed religions and in the heart of the Bible Belt, I was raised to only bring up God at Church, Temple or in the confines of our own house. My dad is Southern Baptist, my mom is Jewish, and I thought I was Hindu from about the age of 12. Being raised in Alabama, there wasn’t a high tolerance for other faiths. I became very resentful of the word God because it had social implications, not spiritual references. People would bring up God to validate themselves, to manipulate others and to shame those that they consider lesser because they have different beliefs.
We live in such a chaotic, fast paced, self centered world. Without the concept of something greater than us all, we would surely fall a part as a society. I turn to the idea of God, a higher Self, the Universe, or a greater consciousness daily. I’m incredibly spiritual, and incredibly private about it. I feel so grateful for the gift of life and so blessed for every day I get another chance at it, so why am I embarrassed to talk about that out loud? I notice when I teach that I tread lightly on mentioning God because people have placed it so far into their understanding, that they take great offense if you imply that there are multiple ways to look at this HUGE concept.
How can we make the word God a safe word? A word that just reminds us all of the greater whole? Something omniscient and omnipresent. That we all experience birth, life and death. That none of us, no matter what we do, are exempt from death. Any way we look at the concept of God, those simple truths are there, and they make the taboo word that much more important to discuss.
So however you view God- as a supreme power, Higher Consciousness, Ultimate Self, the Universe- use the word more often. Share with people you are spiritual, that you believe in something greater than yourself. The more we share, and the more we are open to the fact that other people have different views, YET we all (well, a vast majority of us) believe in something greater than us that just might even bind us all. Approach the topic with kindness, mindfulness, tolerance and truth. What a world this would be if God was not what started wars, but what bound people together and fostered conversations.
Yoga Sutra 1.23 : Isvarapranidhanadva
In our Yoga Sutra this week, it states that contentment can be obtained by devoting to the Ultimate Consciousness or God.
So if you don’t believe in God, start with yourself- can you believe in yourself? If you do believe in God, consider becoming more regular with a practice of devotion. Consider practicing using the word God more often, or your version of that word. Maybe devote a daily silent prayer or mantra to that power of understanding. Try some daily silence to honor a higher power. If you aren’t a higher power believer, take time for self reflection and see if you can relate to a greater good of some sort.
Namaste, and God bless 🙂