My yoga teacher, Eoin Finn, says “yoga is a feeling, not a shape,” which I find to be true not just in yoga, but also in life. Life isn’t about trying to become something glorious externally (as society often tells us to do), but reconnecting to the inner, inborn, divinely given glory withinus. I’d say it’s truly sweeter and more enduring to feel good on the inside than to look good on the outside, because in the end an inner sense of wholeness tops an outer image of success.
With that in mind, I can’t tell you how many times as a yoga teacher I’ve seen a new student and instantly judged her/him as too old, out of shape, overweight, etc. to do “advanced” poses … and been proven wrong. Time and time again my judgments based on externals are wrong. To say yoga is teaching me the Truth behind the proverbial saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, would be a gross understatement. With that, and the dangers of judgments and “should” in mind, I’d still dare to say we shouldjudge everyone, ourselves included, by two inner “pages” I’m convinced are at the center of each of us.
You are light. You are love. … As is everyone else!
My beliefs, experiences, rationality, and inner wisdom combine to convince me these are the most fundamental Truths concerning each of us. Do we hurt people? Do we make bad choices? Do we do harmful things? Absolutely! Do we sometimes have an impulse to do ill? For sure! The thing is, we’re made in the image of God … and given free will. We are created as reflections of divine goodness … andhave the freedom to choose. Heavenly light and love is the immortal diamond (aka soul) at the center of each of us … and this inner beauty that’s not of our doing, but of God’s joyful giving, gets muddied by the troubles, worries, and lies of the world.
To put it another way: Goodness is the Truth about reality and people; meanwhile evil (while existent) is the lie. Jesus reveals the Divine to be Light and Love by nature, and if you believe in a good God, as I do, who designed and created the cosmos, then it seems to me the most reasonable thing to trust is loving kindness is at the center of us all. If you don’t know (who of us really does?) or don’t believe in God, I find choosing to trust Light and Love is at our center brings the best out in both others and us.
I can personally attest that when I’ve believed the worst about myself, when I thought I was born bad, unlovable, prone to do wrong, bound to mess things up, and so on, those beliefs became a self-fulfilling prophecy. How I saw myself quite naturally transformed into what I did and how I treated others. Likewise, I’ve found when I decide to see the worst in others, not only does it bring out the poorest aspects of them, it makes me miserable.
Conversely, when my judgment of self and others centers on light and love, I’ve noticed the result is increased kindness, care, selflessness, joy, peace, connection, and love. With that in mind, I say let’s let the inborn light within people define how we see, speak, and act towards people … ourselves included! I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and ideas. In closing, I leave us with these incredible words from Thomas Merton inConjectures of a Guilty Bystander:
At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will.This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak [God’s] name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship [and daughtership]. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely… I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.
Grace and peace,