These words were hanging from the ceiling of a class I attended. They had nothing to do with the class. They were just part of the room in which it was held.
The class took place at night, a couple hours after work. I had already decided to stay home and had changed into my evening get-up, a funny striped long tee with a half sweater overtop and grandma peds on my feet. It is the outfit no one sees me in but in which I am most comfy.
For whatever reason, soon after I changed my mind and my get-up and left the house.
I arrived at class, sat down and looked up.
Each word was written on a card and hung from a string across the ceiling. The first word You was missing, and the cards were not aligned. They zigzagged, and it was difficult to decipher. Throughout the class, I kept looking up, trying to line up the words.
Before the evening's end, I had it.
Before the evening's end, I had it.
You are loved by a God that is as close as your breath.
I have not really been breathing in yoga. At least, not like I should. Even when the instructor reminds us to take more breaths, I don't always do it. Breathing is supposed to be a big part of the practice. It's what makes the flow a moving meditation. If I am concentrating on my breath, I can easily leave my mind and connect to my body.
But some days find me feeling disconnected, like something took my breath away.
If you met me from the outside, you would think all things were connected. But I live on the inside, and I know when I am feeling a little lost.
When I found yoga, it seemed like a door opened to a new place into which I was invited. A bit skeptical at first, I put one foot inside. Then, I started to feel the effects of the physical practice, and I eagerly jumped in.
I embraced everything. The practice. My fellow yogis. A new diet. My mat. Even some new yoga get-ups, so much more attractive than my evening one!
I was part of a community. My spirituality awakened, and I felt connected to something greater than myself. I thought I had found some kind of answer in yoga, and I had not even known I had any sort of question! I just know that, for quite some time, it settled and lifted me simultaneously.
But now it has been awhile and, for whatever reason, I sometimes find one foot out the door. I do not feel so connected all the time, to the community or to any sort of greater good.
So, now I have been searching again for a solution to a question which I am not sure I can even posit. I keep thinking something is missing in my practice, but I think it is more that something is missing in me.
Perhaps it's true that whatever we carry on the inside comes along for whatever ride we take on the outside. And, when it is time to breathe, what’s on the inside can make an easy escape through the exhale.
When I came across those words, it clicked.
Might there already be some kind of goodness, even greatness, inside all of us? And might it be that our breath serves as a regular and secure reminder of this?
If this is so, then it would mean that none of us is ever really disconnected or ever even somewhat lost.
It was hot the other night at yoga. It was crowded. There was barely enough room to breathe.
There is a reason your mats are so close together, the instructor announced. There is a reason it's so hot in here.
Tell me why! I wanted to shout, but he was already explaining.
It's because everything you need is already inside you. That is where you can find the joy and the peace.
Ah. It's like he had seen the cards, too!
The answer can be as simple as a breath. We have to breathe.
And with each inhale comes the reminder of something inside that has been there all along.
And with each exhale comes the assurance that we are never really alone.