God is Behind You and Yoga Prepares You to See God
Going to places of worship is an opportunity to get closer within and absorb the vibrant energy. In India and Nepal, I frequently visited Hindu Temples and Buddhist Monasteries. Here in the Valley, I’ve been going to churches and Hindu temples. But mostly, I’ve been going to churches because they are walking accessible. I was raised a Roman Catholic but then renounced it several years ago. I don’t call myself a Hindu, Buddhist, or Catholic. I’m just “being.” For God, there is no religion and we are all the same. It has been quite an experience visiting the churches. Some have been Ananda’s Church of Self-Realization (Yogananda’s Church), Episcopal, Baptist, and a Church that welcomes all religions. Having been raised a Roman Catholic I have the expectation to go to Mass and do the communion. But the churches that I’ve been attending they all have a different structure. In one church, in the beginning, you go around and introduce yourself; in another one the Pastor’s assistance plays a role from a Bible’s verse with the children; in another one you go up front and tell your story and ask for prayers; and this church that I attended last weekend they have a live band. In every church the energy is different. But in this particular church, the energy was very vibrant and probably because of the music and the engagement from the attendees. The Pastor just wears regular clothes, reads verses of the Bible, makes announcements, and in between the band plays. The music was great and the lyrics were touching. Last Sunday, marked the beginning of Holy Easter week and we read verses when Jesus resurrected and how he took 7 demons away from Mary Magdalene. These demons are just evil karma that holds you back from reaching God. Yogis like Milarepa faced his demons during the time he spent in the Himalayan caves. Your ego feeds on the evil karma and creates the identity that you have now. You are a representation of your karma. You are born in a particular place because of your karma. Karma (Evil/Good) is a manifestation of this lifetime and other lifetimes. If you have a Master (call it Guru if you like) he/she can take the evil karma on your behalf and released you. Once you enter a spiritual path for some it is important to have a Guru because the Guru knows your past and future. Yogananda’s Guru Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri once felt very sick and Yogananda was extremely worried that he may die. Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri told Yogananda that he got very sick because he took the evil karma from one of his disciples. It took him a couple of days to recover but this is what evil karma does to you. Evil karma is negative and it can kill you. When people die from a disease it is because their evil karma is making a manifestation. You can also destroy the evil karma through awareness. Just watch the negative energy rise and gradually it will fade away. But this requires your patience, faith, and devotion. The ego will interfere and it will make you impatient. Don't give in to the ego. If you don't have strong faith in God, God will make you face your greatest enemy (your evil karma) and it is here where you must put all of your faith and devotion to God. God will help you destroy your evil karma. Know that God will not give you something that you can't handle. This process requires hard work and perseverance. When you faced "same" negative situations/challenges, then that is a manifestation of your evil karma. It is in this situation when you have to bring your best and be grateful that you recognized the negative situation and go after it with everything you can. Don’t react to the evil karma but instead meditate and respond by doing the appropriate action. Only you will know what needs to be done. For example, instead of getting upset, respond by being serene and calm. With evil karma, you always want to do the opposite. Then pray to God for giving you the opportunity to face your evil karma and then open your heart and say thank you to the evil karma for what it tried to do and say goodbye to it.
In this church that I attended last weekend, you are given the option to write a note your request for prayers. The Pastor shared a particular note from another church attendee and she wrote in her note “What have I done wrong. I don’t know what else to do. My mother probably made a mistake giving me birth.” It is very saddening to hear these comments as this is a manifestation of the ego locking you in a jail of hopelessness. God knows who you are and he is within us. Whatever you are doing he is watching you. God watches every breath, emotion, and action. In yoga, we say that you become a yogi once you reach union. It is the union with God when you reach enlightenment. God is your True-Self. So all of the songs we sang were about destroying darkness and taking refugee on God and Lord Jesus. I submerged into the songs, sang, was joyful, and tears came out of surrendering to God’s grace and compassion. If you are on a spiritual path at times you can go to places of worship to refuel yourself, especially, if you are not living in a spiritual community. However, it is important to know that to reach God you don’t have to go to a worship place because God is just behind you. Close your eyes, meditate and go inwards. God is with you and Yoga can help you build the road to see God. Go inwards because what you see with your eyes is just drama created by the mind. Don’t trust the mind. Trust your True-Self and I’m with you….