When I asked Mary that question, she immediately responded, “Flowers, the birds, the sun!” Then she added something that I thought was quite profound and very much in tune with the Yoga Tradition. “Especially when I see how they are connected to God and all the blessings that God has given us.”
“Yes,” I said to myself.
The Yoga Tradition believes that the closer we get to our awareness of the divine within ourselves the more we are in touch with our essential nature, which is pure bliss. Mary had spoken a yogic truth. The source of all happiness, the reason for joy and bliss in our hearts is because we are conscious of the divine presence in our lives. It doesn’t matter the location of that divine presence according to Mary—it could be outside of her or inside of her depending on how she is perceiving the reality God—but nevertheless she is often conscious of it when she sits on the back deck in the sun and watches the flowers and birds. This is heaven for Mary—this is the trigger that helps her realize that all is well and that she “is loved.”
Mary followed up her “connected to God” phrase with another. She said “knowing that I am loved makes me truly happy.” And, of course, Mary connects being in the sun watching the flowers and the birds as being loved by God.
But what if we are not as fortunate as Mary in reference to that “God-consciousness”? What would most of us say to that question: what makes you happy?
Happiness is truly a state of consciousness. Are we born with that consciousness? Maybe we have unlearned that consciousness because little children often express spontaneous happiness.
Yoga says, we are by nature beings of bliss and we only need contact that core nature to find our happiness. And how does one do that? How can we make contact with that core nature? Yoga says that it knows the way to happiness. Yoga says that it can teach us humans how to reach that already present happiness in our lives.
Yoga says that some effort is required and that dedication to more than the physical postures of yoga and to the yamas and niyamas. It takes a dedication to the daily practice of becoming peaceful in our hearts and minds. It means making the body flexible, strong and balanced. It means thinking and acting positively and calmly in all we do, even during the most chaotic of times. It means realizing the presence of the Spirit constantly in our lives.
I long to see the people of the world, especially those in Fond du Lac, aware of the reality of the divine life of peace, love and truth in their world.