Sunday, November 8, 2020

Have Faith

Yoga Sutras Book 1 Verses 1-14

Now, the teachings of yoga. Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. Then, pure awareness can abide in its very nature. Otherwise, awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness. There are five types of patterns, including both hurtful and benign. They are right perception, misperception, conceptualization, deep sleep, and remembering. Right perception arises from direct observation, inference, or the words of others. Misperception is false knowledge, not based on what actually is. Conceptualization derives from linguistic knowledge, not contact with real things. Deep sleep is a pattern grounded in the perception that nothing exists. Remembering is the retention of experiences. Both practice and non-reaction are required to still the patterning of consciousness. Practice is the sustained effort to rest in that stillness. And this practice becomes firmly rooted when it is cultivated skillfully and continuously for a long time.

Matthew 25: 1-13

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you; I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

“Keep awake” what does Jesus mean when he says this? Does he mean to literally never sleep? Does he mean to stay guarded at all times? To me these ideas seem anxiety inducing, and I cannot believe these would be Jesus purposes. So, my choice is to interpret this as to mean stay disciplined, practice, and trust that I am coming. Said differently: “Have faith.”

This story doesn’t leave us simply with the words “have faith,” it gives us some simple instructions on how to have faith. Keep the faith lights on, keep your faith replenished, and don’t be distracted by those of little faith, and if you find your faith dwindling do not run away – have faith. These are much like the patterns of consciousness described in the Sutras above: right perception, misperception, conceptualization, deep sleep, and remembering. This is discipline or practice, this is a pattern of consciousness, this is a rule of life. Many Christians subscribe to the idea of a rule of life. I am a member of the Order of the Daughters of the King. If you have ever noticed the necklace that never leaves my neck, then you have witnessed my very subtle evangelism (one of the rules). My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all also “daughters.” Our rule of life is a commitment to Prayer, Service, and Evangelism. I’ve already told you the Evangelism of wearing a cross, but the other part is to never shy away from discussions of faith. The Prayer rule is one of constant prayer for all who ask and all in need. The Service rule is to serve our church family in any way we may be called upon. Following these three rules is our way of keeping the oil full and the lamps lit, even if our faith dwindles, waiting for the coming of the lord.  

There are other groups that have different rules of life. Notably Priests, Monks, Imams, Rabbis, and Nuns of all faiths. Lay people can have their own rules of life as well to keep faith. But for all, the important and notable intersection in these rules of life comes in the discipline required to carry them out.

For me this discipline enters my life in many ways. The discipline of prayer, meditation, reading, and care for my body and mind. For me much of this happens in the practice of yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras, and Tai Chi or Hapkido practice. The act of moving my body, synchronized with the movement of my breath can move away anxiety (conceptualization and right perception). The act of meditation (deep sleep), whether I am the leader or a participant, allows me to reach inward non-verbally but prayerfully. Moving through fear (misperception), the valley of the shadow of death, to a place of no fear (remembering) is freeing. For me, these practices are an integral part of my rule of life, I find it hard to keep the lights on without them. For you, the rule may look completely different, and that is how it was intended to be, we are all unique. God knows right now we need to respect and appreciate each one’s unique qualities and ways of moving through the world. So have faith as you practice your own unique rule of life.





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