Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yoga, the divine in me: THE PRACTICE

What does it mean to have the Divine reign in me?

A six week blog series examining the Spirit of God dwelling in me with all His goodness.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever -- The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
- John 14:16-17

After spending almost everyday of five years reeking havoc on my body, I could barely lift myself off the floor. Snowboard, motorcycle and snowmobile crashes left my body in shambles. Yoga was to be the answer to my physical ailments.

My first yoga class was introductory in nature. I couldn’t finish. The bending and twisting forced toxins to exit my internal organs causing me to grow faint and nauseous. I needed “props” to perform the most basic positions. After attending the fundamental class three days a week for six months my neck and back were rehabilitated, my digestive system rejuvenated and new life sprung out of a worn and weary body. Yoga is an ongoing practice.

I spent my adult life reeking havoc on my soul. Pursuing selfish ambitions left me worn and weary. Shame and blame left me bitter and lonely. A life permeated by hurtful injustice and rejection caused me to withdraw from mainstream society, disapprove of authority, distrust love and act in rebellion with extreme risk taking. The eventual outcome was me on my knees crying out to a God I didn’t know.

Just as Yoga rehabilitated my body, God’s grace rehabilitates my soul. It’s an ongoing process. It originates from receiving Jesus as my savior and progresses daily with a spiritual restoration of my soul (Romans 12:2) with the eventual outcome being full restoration in heaven (Revelation 21:4).

Namaste is a salutation spoken to one another at the end of yoga class. It represents a celebration of the divine in me and you. But, this begs the question (John 15:5), “Is there anything divine in us apart from God?” Are we born good or selfish? As a love struck mother of a toddler and preschooler I can promise you children must be taught selfless behavior. They are not born with empathy, compassion, mercy and certainly do not offer selfless grace. We are born compelled to act according to our selfish desires (Read this lesson on the fall of man). 

It is when we receive the gift of grace Jesus offers (Romans 10:9) that God comes to dwell in each of us (John ). Without Jesus’ atoning sacrifice we are all eternally separated from God (John 3:1-21) by the less-than-holy condition of our heart. But yes, the promise of all of His goodness becoming the divine in me and hopefully you is real. This is not to say your spirit exits and His enters. Rather, He joins you. The battle is between the desires of our flesh and the will of the Spirit of God: both reside in me, but which one will reign in me?

We are to deny the desires of our carnal nature and take on the nature of God. This on-going practice of renewal of the mind occurs over time as we permit and submit to it. This is easier said then done. Initially I needed “props” to carry out the most basic Christian doctrine: forgive those that have sinned against you, go and sin no more, love your enemy. I think you see where I am going with this.

Just the thought of some of Jesus teachings often caused me to grow faint and nauseous. At first, I was not functionally able to put in to practice what I admired from afar. Does that discount me as a disciple of Christ? No.

Join me over the next five weeks as I explore what it means to have the divine in you and how this compliance to the will of the Father brings a renewal of the mind and a restoration of the soul.

Questions for personal reflection:

  1. What does it mean to be separated from a holy and just God?
  2. How is the condition of your heart (the source of your motivation, action and will) the indicator of your holiness?
  3. How would you say you fall short in measuring up to God’s standard of holiness?
  4. Can a holy God commune with a less than holy people?
  5. How can you be made holy? Is there any act you can perform?


Living in Extreme Ways said...

Hey Yoga fans ... forgive me as I postpone this series for a couple of weeks.

I hope you enjoy the calf wrangling object lesson just as much.