How does the Spirit operate in our lives? What does yoga say is the activity of the Spirit? How do religious traditions view the activity of the Divine Spirit in today’s world?
It is easy to say that all of the activity of life – good actions of humans, natural disasters, the patterns of great movements like the civil rights movement, or even the terrible wars and terrorist attacks on innocent human societies – is the activity of God. The force of the divine in the societal dimensions of life is much more complicated. To say that one can be sure that God is operating in one’s life when one is prosperous and in good health and that God is not in another’s life when one’s life is in turmoil smacks of the idea of predestination. Some religions say that all the good is a result of good behavior and belief and that all the bad is the result of sin.
Interestingly enough, the Calvinist and Lutheran perspective in Christianity teaches predestination, as does the faithful understanding of Islam, and the early prophets of Judaism. But this concept of predestination from each of those religious perspectives makes it very difficult for people to honor another’s dignity as a creation of a loving, compassionate, merciful God. That concept of God as Merciful and Benevolent and Loving is also a deeply rooted in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
God IS benevolent. God IS merciful. Pope Francis has preached tirelessly about this, saying “The Name of God is Mercy”.
But what does yoga say? God is Spirit, Light and Truth. God/Spirit is Love and Compassionate. The Hindus and the Buddhists, as religions that flow from the Yoga Tradition, emphasize these definitions.
So then, how is God acting in our world? Yoga usually doesn’t deal with the challenging question of worldly activity. The Yoga Tradition teaches that God is the Divine Mother of all life, especially human life. Yoga says that the Spirit of the Divine lives within each human and that all I, as a human, need do is stay in touch with whatever gives me true life.
Whenever I say yes to that which excites my deepest soul, which gives zest to my activities, sparks meaning and purpose in my daily activity, keeps me going when the going gets tough, and gives me joy, then I am saying YES! to Divine Source of Life. All these stirrings come from within each of us.
And whenever I acknowledge any of those stirrings in another, I am honoring the Source of Life in them. Maybe that is how the Spirit/God operates in today’s world? The Spirit gives life! So can we by living from our Divine Center of Life!