we’ve all been there.
something terrible–or seemingly terrible–happens and we suddenly become very religious. we pray and pray to a god we only really talk to when something terrible (or seemingly terrible) happens. we promise him we will never sin again if he just fixes this one problem. we’ll give 100% of our income to charity and will never so much as ever think a mean or bad thought so long as we shall live.
and one of two things happens.
the problem is solved. and we exclaim “thank god!” and we go about our merry way. and 100% of our income doesn’t actually go to charity. and we think a lot of really mean and bad thoughts. and there are sins. but god couldn’t have possibly thought we were serious about all those things anyway, so who really cares? life is good.
the problem isn’t solved. and we curse out god. how can god cause such terrible things to happen??? how can god allow cancer, war, murder, abuse, famine, earthquakes, floods, terrorism…and so on…and so on. that god! life is bad.
and then, life finds its equilibrium. for better or for worse. life does go on (until, of course, it doesn’t).
and we don’t spend too much time thanking god for the good and easy and normal times, because they are just good and easy and normal.
are we mindful yogis or are we reactive robots?
enter ishvara pranidhana. the last and most potent of the niyamas, ishvara pranidhana means complete submission to a higher power.
what does that mean for us in everyday life?
it means that if we submit to a higher power (and you can call that higher power what you want: god, jesus, buddha, krishna, muhammad…whatever…), we have to give that guy (or girl) full credit for everything that happens to us. the good, the bad, and the ugly. and the beautiful.
we can’t pick and choose what is god’s will and what isn’t.
yes, god is responsible for disasters and diseases. but also for sunsets, and sunrises, and flowers, and chocolate, and art, and babies, and love, and rainbows, and koala bears, and puppies, and yoga, not to mention oceans, and day spas, and good health, and happiness.
the good news about all that: when you hand it all–and i mean everything–over to a higher power, it makes it easier to accept that everything is going to work out in the end…and hopefully somewhere in the middle, too.
not to mention, if everything is done in the name of god, goodness and kindness will always prevail. mindfully dedicate this moment to a higher power and it’s unlikely you will use it for nefarious means.
think about it. and think about it often. get in the habit. at random moments stop yourself and dedicate that moment to god…see what happens.
oh…and don’t forget to say thank you to the big guy…because life is good.