15 June 2016

Reform Thyself

“The one who reforms himself will reform thousands,”

~Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda, born in 1893 as Mukunda Lal Ghosh, was an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga. His book, Autobiography of a Yogi, published in 1946, has sold several million copies and continues to sell today.

When I heard his wise words: “The one who reforms himself will reform thousands,” I knew this was a man who had tapped into universal truth.

Contemplative prayer helps us realize how intricately connected our personal transformation is to the rest of the world. A meditation practice like centering prayer helps us open to the process of being reformed. The work of transformation is God’s. We must only cooperate by putting forth effort to make time for spiritual practice. Spiritual practice is our way of saying “yes” to God, letting God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Over time as we yield to this mysterious work of Grace in us, we are changed, little by little. But then those changes in us have an impact in the people nearest us. That impact is a catalyst for their growth and transformation and so the rippling effect of lasting change occurs.

As we commit to the process of transformation through spiritual practices like meditation and yoga, and inner work through tools like the enneagram and spiritual direction, we come to realize how connected we are not just with our human neighbors, but with the entire cosmos.

St. Francis of Assisi illuminates our interconnectedness so beautifully in his “Canticle of the Creatures” where he thanks God for Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Brother Wind and Sister Water, and Brother Fire and Mother Earth. We are related to all life. We are made from the same stuff by the same Ultimate Mystery, who we’ve come to know as God.

It has never been more urgent for us to wake up to our universal family (aka: the Body of Christ) and commit to spiritual practice. Terrorism, human trafficking, global poverty, and the extinction of plants and animals that support life on Planet Earth depend on our commitment to being reformed. Jesus put it this way, “You must be born again.” And as St. Paul admonished us, let’s live into our identity as a “new creation,” rooted in our divine DNA, at one with God and the world God created.

Never before in human history have we had access to so many spiritual traditions and spiritual wisdom. All truth is converging to resound and reverberate the one universal call to Love. And we have a wealth of teaching and instruction to guide us along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Why are you resisting? What are you afraid of?

*photo credit :: yogajournal.com