This morning, I attended a meditation and heard some words I needed to hear. The words, which my yoga teacher read, were from Swami Satchidinanda. Since I don’t have the text, I’ll paraphrase. The basic idea was God is always there.
We often think things seem mysterious, and we are baffled by the meaning of life. 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 to higher levels. 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 just not be ready.
In prayer (or in trying to understand God or decide if we believe in a higher power in the first place), we often expect the evidence to be removal of suffering. We think if there’s a God, we should get what we want in life.
It never occurs to us that suffering is an opportunity for greater union. Even when we know that intellectually, we still expect to be rewarded for our devotion to God by getting what we want. Or at least we shouldn’t suffer.
But God works in mysterious ways. The question, of course, is why. The silence is painful; Christians refer to it as the “dark night of the soul.”
Our meditation this morning offered some insight into God’s silence. We may simply not be ready to hear. We may think we are, especially if our lives our painful and we see union with God as the antidote to suffering. We may wonder why God seems to be rejecting us when we desire the 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.
The Desire for Union is Enough
In today’s yoga meditation, we were invited 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 measurable 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 is with God. In the Bible, we’re told that God’s ways are beyond our understanding. For many (myself included), this is disappointing. Why is God hiding from us? Shouldn’t anyone with the desire to understand be able to grasp the mystery?
Why Doesn’t God do Things my Way?
Well, of course, we can see the futility in that kind of expectation. If God did things our way, would we need God?
And 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, we need to look at the question. The answer is there whenever we wonder why things don’t unfold the way we believe they should.
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—then maybe you don’t need to worry about connecting with something greater (and more mysterious) than you.
Or maybe you’re just not ready to ask the questions. Either way, if you do begin to wonder why you’re here, please remember to give God time. You don’t need to understand everything now. All you need is the desire for union.
Just like the sun on a cloudy day, God is always there, even when nothing makes sense. Do you agree?