Faith and Choice

Our 300 YTT group has been reading the Bhagavad Gita aloud each weekend. It is a life changing text. Each time I read through it, I find a deeper understanding and insight into a yogic principle that affects my life. This weekend the concept of “shraddah” spoke to me. Shraddah can be loosely translated as “faith” but it is so much more than faith. Eknath Easwaren states that it means “that which is placed in the heart.” These are all of the beliefs that we hold so dear, and these beliefs infuse our thoughts that in turn create our actions. I believe that we become what we practice, and we tend to practice what we believe in. The Gita says “a person is what their shraddah is.” Easwaren goes on to say that shraddah is how one person with a major illness believes they have an important contribution to make in the world, and they somehow live on to see that dream manifest despite their illness or restriction. Shraddah is how the bold go on to overcome great obstacles, but it is also how the person with little faith in themselves has great difficulty overcoming obstacles. We live in what we love, and our lives become an eloquent expression of our beliefs. What we strive for reveals what we value, and what we value we will back with our time and with our energy. Our faith and practice are what we put our very lives into.

My questions are:

  • What am I practicing every day?

  • How does that practice reflect what I value?

  • What do I believe in? How to I support those beliefs in my actions?

  • Is this the direction I want my life to take?

  • How does my practice support my values, or how does it compromise my values?

We each have many choices to make every day. Human destiny is in human hands. We shape ourselves by what we believe, think, and act upon. How can we contribute to the future we long for through our thoughts and our daily actions? Where do you place your faith, what do you place so dearly in your heart???

For me, I long to practice yoga philosophy in my life and actions, to live by the principles of yoga: the yamas and niyamas, and the teachings of the Gita. I long for art and creativity in my life, to be inspired by nature, and to live an artistic life. I long to be aware of the injustices in the world, and to help be a voice for all sentient beings who have been systematically abused and oppressed. I hope to live in action of these values and to be in inspiration to others as a teacher in whatever capacity life offers me. These are the things I hold dearly in my own heart.

*Photo by Nourdine Diouane on Unsplash

Angie Follensbee-Hall