We went to Sunday yoga this week and our instructor had us draw cards from a deck (they all said something different) with sentiments on them to help us in terms of finding our intention to offer up during yoga. Mine said, “I surrender to a power greater than me.”
I’ve mentioned many times that while I abandoned the church long ago, I loved the spiritual aspect of Catholicism as I was growing up. I love the ideas of prayer and intention and I adored all of the rituals around mass and the sacraments. As a spiritual person, I still love the idea that there are powers greater than me that connect us all in the universe. But I also 100% do not believe in God or any omniscient or omnipotent being or beings associated with my existence in this universe.
For me, that card did not have me thinking about Allah or God or Jehovah. For me, that card had me reflecting on the power of unconditional love and how my friend recently told me about a book about building relationships full of that type of love to help drown out the negativity we sometimes fill the empty spaces with. That power – of unconditional love – is definitely a power greater than myself.
I thought about the incredible power of empathy in helping build those strong relationships. I thought about the power of kindness and how it ripples out beyond me in the universe. I thought about the power of shared vulnerabilities and how it helps people create strong bonds of trust and love. All of these powers are greater than myself, and they are all powers I need to focus on more as I lead my life…but for me…they are not God.
There are also negative powers in the world – also greater than myself. And sometimes they call to me in times when I want to judge or hate. Those negative powers also have ripple effect far beyond myself and sometimes my own anxieties and insecurities push me towards the direction of those negative powers. But for me…they are not the Devil.
So I read my card and I reflected on the power and the energy that connects us all and I tried my focus on the good and the love and the kindness and the empathy and the vulnerability and how the more positive energy I put into the world, the more power I give to the good which will spread out beyond me.
But every time I give into judgement and hate and non-sympathetic criticism, I am giving energy to the negative powers in the universe.
And the most important thing for me to remember, is that directing that negative energy inward to myself does not isolate it. Being empathetic and kind to the people around me but hateful and critical to myself still adds negative energy to fuel the evil powers in the universe BECAUSE those powers are greater than myself. I can not forget that.
So I didn’t read that card and focus on God or Goddesses or any other being or beings defined by other spiritual or religious groups. I focused on the powers I believe in, that I want to harness and grow. The power of unconditional love of self, the power of empathy towards others, the power of kindness and shared vulnerabilities for building relationships that can nurture the kind of energy that will fight the negative powers that build around us.
I’m going to end by asking that any of you with the same beliefs – please send all of the positive energy out into the universe that you can today, in the hopes that it reaches my family. I have a very worrisome day ahead, it’s a very stressful day for my family in that we have no idea what our future looks like in many aspects until this day is over. Please send out thoughts of strength and love and light and hopefully the ripple effects will reach us when we need them most.