“Being human is a complicated thing.”
- Deborah Adele
Have you ever asked someone how they were and got the response, “I’m good.”?
I get that response often. My first thought is “Of course, I’ve always known that you are good.” Usually what people mean when they say, “I’m good.”, is “All is going well with me.” Or “I feel happy and well.” Or “I don’t really want to go into detail about how I feel or what’s happening in my life right now, but in order to not be rude I will let you know that my life is fine right now.”
Recently, my daughter-in-law and her friend were busy finishing up the preparations for a party that they were throwing. I, out of politeness, asked them how they were. They both said, “Good.” This time I said: “Of course, you are good. Every human being is good.”
My daughter-in-law, after a long pause, said, “Not really! By nature we are sinful.”
“No, we’re not!” I retorted. “Every single human being is made in the image and likeness of God and every human being experiences being separate from God at certain times. That experience of separation is what people call sin, but, basically, we are all made in the image and likeness of God and God is good.”
Life becomes very complicated when we forget that we are initially made in God’s image, as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism teach. When we identify with our mistakes or failures, life becomes very challenging and confusing. We begin to think of ourselves as naturally selfish, when all we are is ignorant of our true nature. Yoga calls this avidya. Why do we act in many ways that seem so contrary to the divinity within us?
Yoga says that our movement toward godlike, saintly living is a learning process. We are learning how to manage our animal urges. We are learning how to be more thoughtful, helpful and loving, which are part of our human and divine nature. But just like any learning process, we make mistakes. We feel even more defeated when we are taught that all those mistakes are willful, evil decisions that move us away from God. So how can we deal with these animal urges—our need for food, sleep, sex/affection, and self-preservation?
Yoga says that we need to be trained by loving, wise adults that we are made in the image and likeness of God. We need to learn that God and us humans are one.
When we learn that through loving direction from a teacher or parent or through personal experience that comes from meditation, life is no longer complicated, but quite simple. We have learned then that the loving Presence of God is always letting us know the best action, the best thought, the best everything.
And believe it or not, we become quite free because we know that we are the dwelling place of the Divine Source of our Life! Yoga calls this moksha. Alleluia!