Today marks the final blog on “Christian Yogi’s Perspective on Yoga Philosophy: Eight Limbs of Yoga.” Since August, I have written about all the limbs of Yoga according to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
- Yama – “Moral Code/Guidelines” toward external environment
- Ahimsa – Non-violence
- Satya – Truthfulness
- Asteya – Non-stealing
- Brahmacharya – Non-excess/Moderation
- Aparigraha – Non-Possessiveness
- Niyama – “Personal Code/Guidelines” toward oneself
- Saucha – Purity
- Santosha – Contentment
- Tapas – Self-Discipline
- Svadhyaya – Self-Study/Introspection
- Ishvara Pradnihana – Surrender to God
- Asana – Physical postures
- Pranayama – Breath Control
- Pratyahara – Sense Withdrawal
- Dharana – Concentration
- Dhyana – Meditation
The eighth limb of Yoga is Samadhi, which means union with God or complete integration. Samadhi is also interpreted as spiritual absorption. As a Christian, experiencing samadhi is becoming one with God; Not that I am God, but samadhi allows me to be completely unified with God and experience being completely in sync and being on the same page with God and His will for me. One of my most favorite scriptures has been Psalm 37:4 which reads, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.“ When I was a young Christian, I thought this meant if I have my quiet times, share my faith with people, and help others become disciples of Christ, then He will give me what my heart desires. After about 15 years in the faith, I started to have a different understanding of this scripture: If I delight in the Lord, my desires will transform into the desires He has for me. Now almost 27 years of walking with God, I believe that if I delight in the Lord (being completely consumed by Him and His love), He will give me the authentic desires of my heart.
Let me explain: I grew up as a performer. I performed in musical theatres, choir concerts, plays and dance concerts since I was a kid. I even performed in a community theatre production of GREASE as Frenchy in my 30’s. As much as I loved singing, dancing and acting, the feeling that came with being recognized as a talented performer was — if I’m being honest — the true driving force behind it. So my desire and passion may have seemed like it was performing; but I believe that my true, authentic desire was TO BE SEEN.
According to my Enneagram Type (I’m Type 4), my basic fear is that I have no identity or personal significance, and my greatest desire is to find my significance and identity. As a Christian, my deepest desire to be seen and to matter were filled by God. Knowing and fully experiencing that I am SEEN by God, the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Creator of all things, I can breathe a sigh of relief and peace as I surrender completely in His love, His power, His protection, His grace, His mercy… His goodness. And all of this — samadhi — can be experienced while sitting still, practicing pratyahara, dharana and dhyana.
May you delight in the Lord and receive the authentic desires of your heart.