It is only when people begin to shake loose from their preconceptions, from the ideas that have dominated them, that we begin to receive a sense of opening, a sense of vision…That is the sort of time we live in now. We…live in an epoch in which the solid ground of our preconceived ideas shakes daily under our uncertain feet.
~ Barbara Ward
In Yoga philosophy, as with all the great faiths, God could never be captured in words. But if you tried, you might say God is an intelligence akin to the Force in Star Wars or what Voltaire seems to have been getting at when he wrote that “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”
I know there are as many yogic philosophies as there are scientific theories. Samkhya, Vedanta, Tantra. There is probably now a yoga philosophy they sell exclusively online for just $99.99 with a limited edition organic recycled yoga mat. Humans love to brand and argue. But the truth of our original nature must be singular. And yogis would note that meditation, religion, service, science, philosophy, and those funny pretzel poses are all paths to God. But none of those paths or methods encapsulates God. And none is better than the others. The paths are simply fingers pointing at the moon, rafts across the ocean of suffering, different strokes for different folks. Or to use my favorite metaphor, the paths — like all things subject to birth and death — are waves.
God is the sea.
~ Jaimal Yogis, All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride
“What do you call yourself?” the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice it had!
“I wish I knew!” thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, “Nothing, just now.”
“Think again,” it said: “that won’t do.”
Alice thought, but nothing came of it. “Please, would you tell me what you call yourself?” she said timidly, “I think that might help a little.”
“I’ll tell you, if you’ll come a little further on,” the Fawn said. “I can’t remember here.”
So they walked on together through the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice’s arms. “I’m a Fawn!” it cried out in a voice of delight. “And dear me, you’re a human child!” A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Beauty enjoys a profound and ancient autonomy. True beauty is from elsewhere, a pure gift. It cannot be programmed nor its arrival foreseen. It never falls simply into the old patterns of what is already there nor is it frivolous or burdened with leaden solemnity.
Frequently, beauty is playful like dancing sunlight, it cannot be predicted, and in the most unlikely scene or situation can suddenly emerge. This spontaneity and playfulness often subverts our self-importance and throws our plans and intentions into disarray. Without intending it, we find ourselves coming alive in a sense of celebration and delight.
~ John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
My day is done, and I am like a boat drawn on the beach, listening to the dance-music of the tide in the evening.
~ Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds
Awe enables us to see in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple, to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.
~Abraham Joshua Heschel
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
We do not understand the earth in terms either of what it offers us or of what it requires of us, and I think it is the rule that people inevitably destroy what they do not understand.
~ Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays