Saturday, November 22, 2014

Where Do You Place Your Faith?


Yesterday was science Friday, so today it seems like a discussion of faith is in order.

But not really in a traditional sense.

Last night at yoga teacher training (YTT), before we started a two-hour asana practice that seemed both endless and lightning-fast at the same time, the teacher asked us three questions:

What is the solid foundation upon which you rest yourself?

Where do you place your faith?

What do you come home to?

I suppose for those raised in a church the answer is easy: God. Allah. Yahweh. Pick one. Whomever the deity is. The Godhead.

For others, such as myself, this question has plagued me for awhile, not in a seeking-religion or walking-in-the-desert-for-40-years-searching kind of way. People raised in church have it easy. In my experience (which I am sure has its opposite), the faithful are generally raised not to question. Faith is believing in something you cannot prove exists, and that's what happens. In the face of any evidence or any trial to the contrary, the religiously faithful still believe.

This is comforting in the face of tragedy, certainly. Unless you are on the receiving end of platitudes like "He's in a better place," when your husband has just died in a car accident. Then I wonder for whom faith is comforting. Certainly not me. But so happy the faithful feel good.

But I digress.

I thought about those three questions as we practiced (when I wasn't struggling to stay upright or "hug my muscles to my bones," which is still a very mysterious instruction to me), which I suppose was the point, and maybe there was a right answer. I suppose the right answer is supposed to be "the breath," but I am still young in my yoga practice and breathing, although reflexive, is very, very difficult. The breath is life, yes? A symbol that no matter what happens (unless death), we are still breathing, it is still constant, it is still there.

That's not enough for me. Alive isn't living. Alive isn't awake. Breath isn't enough. I don't care to place my faith in a reflexive action.

I have been seeking my home for a long time, and the archive of this blog will show evidence of that, including blog titles like "Running Away To Return" and "Home" and "Home Is..." and "Heading Home," plus others. Dane felt like home in a way that I hadn't ever known and hadn't ever appreciated until he died, but "home" can't be people. If you put your faith in people or build a foundation of them, that is problematic for super-obvious reasons, like death and disappointment and expectation and all of the other things that sentient beings are plagued with.

So I don't know what my answer is, but I am certain that it has something to do with something inside, and this feels very New-Age-y to me, which will run right up against my cynical side throughout this training, I suppose, but will ultimately make me a better teacher because so many people are already shaking their heads at the very IDEA of having faith in anything other than a vaporous god.

What are your answers? What do you place your faith in? What is home? Upon what have you built the foundation of your life?


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