This morning during a guided meditation practice, I heard words I needed to hear. The words, which my yoga teacher read, were Swami Satchidinanda’s. Since I don’t have the text, I’ll paraphrase. The basic idea is God is always there.
Things often seem mysterious, and the meaning of life eludes us. We question why we’re here or how a merciful God would allow suffering or obscure the solutions to our problems.
Yet we see others who have tremendous faith, even when they don’t understand why some things seem so bleak. (They also practice gratitude and experience joy, but that’s another topic.)
God is Always There
Swami Satchidananda explains that devotion gradually progresses throughout the spiritual journey. We don’t earn a deeper understanding of God with effort. No matter how hard we try or want it, the truth is, we may not be ready to move on.
In prayer (or in trying to understand God or decide if we believe in a higher power in the first place), we often expect suffering to disappear. We think if there’s a God, we should get what we want in life.
It may not occur to us that suffering is an opportunity for greater union. Even when we know that intellectually, we may still expect to be rewarded for our devotion to God by getting what we want. Or at least we shouldn’t suffer.
But, as it’s been said, God works in mysterious ways. The question, of course, is why. God’s apparent silence can be painful; Christians refer to it as the “dark night of the soul.”
Our meditation in yoga class offered some insight into God’s silence. Maybe the reason for the apparent silence is we’re not ready to hear. We may think we are, especially if our lives are painful and we see union with God as the antidote to suffering. And we may wonder why God seems to reject us when we desire connection so deeply.
But what if God is revealing what we can handle for now and no more? Perhaps understanding more will mean more is expected of us. So for now, God is giving us a break.
The Desire for Union is Enough
Our meditation invited us to consider that allowing our spiritual practice to develop in time—not our time, but God’s time—is the only way. It takes faith (not belief, knowledge, or measured results) to keep going.
Swami Sarchidananda related this to the way we teach children. We don’t expect them to master calculus before they learn to add. We don’t give them car keys before they can walk.
So it seems to be with God. In the Bible, we’re told God’s ways are beyond our understanding. For many (myself included), this is disappointing. Why the mystery? Shouldn’t anyone with the desire to understand be able to unveil what is hidden?
Why Doesn’t God Do Things My Way?
We can see the futility in deciding how the divine should behave. If God did things our way, would we need a higher power?
But before we’re too quick to doubt that God is always there or decide we don’t need a God who doesn’t do things our way, let’s look at the question.
We need God—or something greater than ourselves—because by ourselves, we struggle with meaning and doubt our purpose. I’m not talking in circles. I’m relying on faith.
Now, if this doesn’t apply to you—if your life is perfect and you have no fears, doubts, or questions—you may not need to think about connecting with something greater (and more mysterious) than you. Or maybe you’re already connected.
Then again, it may not be time to ask the questions. Whatever the case is now, if you do begin to wonder why you’re here, please give God time.
Hi, I’m Maria. I created Yoga Circles for you if you want to delve more deeply into the philosophy, practice, and life-changing effects of yoga. I’m also a writer and editor who helps small business owners, wellness professionals, teachers, and authors publish books, develop marketing strategies, and connect with readers, clients, and students. Visit my website (link below) for more about that. I’d love to hear from you!