Power of Miriam’s Yoga Class
As most of you know, in my yoga classes I offer a variety of meditation prayers or mantras.
I encourage all of you to continue meditating, as a means to relax and quiet your mind– and as a spiritual practice. As I talk you through the relaxation phase, I remind you that all spiritual traditions teach that God is in each and every one of you. And, I have often said that as you progress in meditation, you may have an experience God.
Yet too often, when one of you have asked me about God, my answers are too brief – and completely inadequate – not only because I am usually rushing to the next thing on my schedule but also because I really have no idea what God is. Yet, I decided to try to “define” God to the best of my ability, hoping that my efforts might give you some insight and/or shed some light on this topic.
First and foremost, God is a mystery. And while we can accept mysteries, we can never truly understand them. Mysteries transcend reason. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Roman Catholic priest and mystic said that when we speak of God we can only speak in analogies. In light of this, I use the term God as a synonym for:
- the totality of existence
- the creative force
- underlying reality
- the ultimate reality
- universal reality
- the ultimate truth
God is life itself. God is the foundation of all existence; the basis of all life. God is consciousness – Cosmic Consciousness and our own individual core consciousness.
Some religions call God “The Supreme” or “The Absolute.” Most spiritual traditions claim that God is omnipresent – that is, God is everywhere and in everything. Our entire universe is God – every star, every plant, animal, planet, river, cloud, field, etc. Every animate being and inanimate object is part of God. There is nothing that is not God. God is in us, and we are in God. And, God is also “beyond” our physical world – in ways we cannot describe.
Other religions do not profess concepts of God. Buddhists and Taoists, for example, do not use the term God and do not believe in a creative force. They believe in an Underlying Reality and that the world in which we live has always existed and continues to expand. Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher who wrote the Tao Te Ching, referred to the mystery of life as The Tao. He said, “The Tao that can be known is not the true Tao.”
Although different traditions use different terminology, I think that all of the appellations are simply names for the same thing: the indefinable mystery of life, or God.
Central to all spiritual practices is the inner search for God, The Tao, or Underlying Reality. That is where meditation comes in. As we go inward in meditation, it is possible to experience God. For example, we may have a vision of Christ, the Buddha, an angel, a saint, a prophet, our own spirit/soul, or a favorite deity. Or we may have an experience of eternal love or we may experience a completely still mind. It is just as likely, however, that as we continue our meditation practice that all of our concepts of God will be shattered.
My best advice for understanding God, the incomprehensible mystery, and for meditation is this: Have no expectations. Grace – and experiences — come when we least expect them, now when we are looking for them.
All the best!
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