Friday, September 2, 2011

Faith: An Issue

The one year anniversary of the completion of my first yoga teacher training will occur in less than 6 weeks. This is a big deal for me, just as participating in and completing the teacher training were big deals for me.

Another kind of big deal for me that comes up repeatedly in my life, and didn't skip the chance to challenge me during teacher training, is the principle of faith. The sanskrit word that most accurately translates to our english word is "Shraddha" (pronounced shrah-dah).

I could really indulge on the topic... taking you on a dizzying, uncensored, non-sensical tirade about faith and all of my confusion with it. But part of cultivating an untwisted mind is to use a degree of self-discipline toward clear-thinking. So, suffice it to say that when my teacher began the lessons on faith and how yoga relies principally on it, I found myself in a bit of a bind [pun intended].

Perhaps it is my associative learning that immediately brings to mind connotations of religion, judeo-christian god figures, group-think and ignorance. I didn't understand how this principle had such a place in yoga. It really bothered me.

Luckily, I made a connection tonight with all the clarity of my highest mind, my yogic mind: When I am feeling desperately confused, alone, uncertain and weak, I have always turned to the warm reassurances of best friends. It is in their encouragement, their characteristically good-hearted efforts to raise my spirits as well as my sensibilities, that I trust. I trust that my confidences will be taken warmly and without reproach, and that they will somehow talk me down from my weird, usually dramatic and sometimes poetic self-pity. In hindsight, I notice that throughout the entire process, I never once have to consider if they think less of me for revealing what I feel are my most unattractive moments. Even in my darkest moods, I somehow have the faith enough to trust that there are other people in my community of friend-family that will support me in my weakness, and will be flexible in their heart-space when mine is bent unflinchingly.

So tonight I observe that faith, for me, is not religious. It is not judeo-christian, god-figured, or ignorant. For me, faith is the movement my heart makes to grasp for the warmth of a loving friend when my mind so desperately wants to grapple the issue alone. My shraddha is embodied and made manifest in the unconditional love of great friendship.

My deepest gratitude, and most vibrant love goes out to every one of you!

Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu

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