Sometimes the universe gives us a nudge, a little sign. We don’t have to become paranoid, we don’t have to think that everything means something…but we can trust ourselves to recognize a sign when we see one.
–Melodie Beattie, Journey to the Heart (1996, p. 195)
One of the most wondrous benefits of my Yoga practice has been the development of a deep awareness and ability to listen. (Let’s be real…that doesn’t mean I always use the ability, or obey what I hear…but it is there!) The ability to listen fosters trust and faith, and I believe that faith, in something, is an essential part of our human nature.
My personal faith practice expanded exponentially when I began Yoga, and I found that listening to God was so much more than simply reading and “obeying” the Bible teachings. I started to notice God in everything. People, experiences, nature…the world around me became God’s message board! I just had to open my ears, eyes, senses, and heart…and listen. Nurturing this listening is an ongoing practice, and I know that I miss 99.9999999% of God’s memos to me, but the power of even noticing one of them is pretty epic.
I had such an experience recently. Over a year and a half ago, shortly after I moved to another residence, my cat ran away. I was crushed. Lamenting to my little nephew, I said, “I’m really sad that Tiny ran away. I just hope she isn’t hurt or sick somewhere, I just hope she is ok.” That little man looked me square in the eye. “She’s fine. I know she’s fine,” he said matter-of-factly as his shoulders shrugged. At that moment, I knew the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me, and I believed whole-heartedly that she was. This was a clear and concise message straight from God, and the gift was peace. I wasn’t worried anymore. Wherever she was, she was ok.
Last Tuesday, over a year and a half later, Tiny showed up.
The validation of recognizing a sign empowers trust. In his article on faith, Rolf Sovik recognizes that the principles of Yoga that foster faith and trust. The meditative effects of Yoga practices, particularly mantra (japa) meditation, can help the mind “acquire an enduring trust in the presence of the Infinite within you,” he writes. “By returning to [the practice] every day, faith deepens.”
Faith doesn’t really deepen based on the practitioner’s effort, but the connection that is made through the practice. To receive a gift, one has to be linked to the benefactor, and this is how faith and trust work. Yoga allows one’s hands open for acceptance.
I’m grateful for this gift that Yoga has given me…the ability to open up, recognize a sign when I see one, and to trust myself to know it is from my Source.