Do we still believe that the sun travels across the sky while we stand stationary on a flat piece of earth? No, these once held beliefs were dispelled long ago. But how many other things to we accept as true simply because our limited senses tell us so, or that is what everyone else believes? For example, we see ourselves as separate from one another, and we assume our security and happiness come from acquiring or arranging things well enough.
Yoga teaches us how to experience for ourselves that this normal perspective is an illusion. Sri Swami Satchidananda used to ask us, “Who made your very first food?….your mother?”. Then he would remind us that even she watched as her breasts created that nourishment. For that matter, who arranged that the plants around us absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen? And who makes sure we remember to breathe at all?
Clearly, the universe and all its forms are created and guided by an unseen hand, a supreme intelligence. Each particle is a miraculous world of infinite detail and interconnected so fully that even prayers offered from a great distance can generate measureable benefits. How is it that we manage to watch our bodies self-regulate minute by minute, the planets orbiting and the march of the penguins and fail to be in awe? Can we just as easily observe, if we pay close attention, how we are being steadily guided to realize our innate condition of peace and compassion for each other?
Gratitude is the most natural response to even a small effort to acknowledge all that we are given, especially those of us who do not suffer from lack of basic needs. If we pause to really see the magnitude of these gifts, we will not fail to humbly offer thanks, to let the fullness in our hearts spill out as service to those in need. May we in some small way earn this blessed life by making peace in our hearts and bringing peace to those around us.