I have been in the Abbey of St. Hildegard for a couple of nights. You wouldn't think that could change so much - you're wrong!! I feel as if EVERYTHING changed!!
If you are a trusted reader of my blog you know my way though yoga, a long path that I really didn't want to walk. I guess you can say it felt as if the yogic way was a religion, and as a critical human being I didn't like the feel of "Oh, you're not doing it right! You are NOT one of us!"-feeling I got time and time again when I have tried to create a connection or cooperation with other, more well-established studios or yoga teachers. I feel the same way with religion and have not been an active part of my church for many years.
I guess you can say it was the easy way to go; I mean I left my country more than 10 years ago, to a part of Europe where you are Catholic, so as a baptised Protestant I never felt the need to go into a foreign church, with a foreign language and rituals I wasen't brought up to understand.
I bear a great deal of respect, off course, for the immense, beautiful buildings and the architecture behind them; I mean, it is incredible that people so many years ago were able to build something as complexe without the technology of today, it must have provided an enourmous skillset that you just have to respect - believer or not!
So when I got into yoga I was reluctant, too, because of the similarities; symbols, language and prayers, the progress of ecclesial worship. The essential is that it is worship! We are trying to connect with The Divine - doesn't matter what He (or She) is called!
I also find it interesting when the same people are overly critical and speak harschly about church goers themselves swear to a yogic routine with striking similarities to worship in a church;
there is a progress in both
you have time to connect with yourself and meditate
you have prayers to a Divine Being
routines, something you know by heart - your body and mouth moves automatically
Since the Reformation we have built our entire church and worship on the fact that we wanted to be able to understand what was going on, so we wanted the mothertongue to be spoken.... and the same people that are critical about that can be seen chanting Sanskrit mantras...... very confusing, I must say!
So to say that I am critical is true! I am a Seeker, I want to find my own way through the labyrinth of possibilities, and yes - I need to believe in something! But how can I believe in a Divine Being that allows so much pain in the world?
I have not had the easiest of lives, had some heartbreaks, depressions, problems, inner battles, insecurities, self doubt - and even hatred towards myself.
I DO believe! I believe that we should show love, compassion and forgiveness towards others and ourselves, and maybe even more so towards the people where we find it the hardest! I believe there is a power that has created our world, and that everything happens for a reason. I am a hippie-touchy-feely Dane, I take responsibility in my everyday life - buy eco, sort trash, try to not use plastic. I have understood I can't change the entire world, but I try to change MY world!
... but to find a church, priest and a preacher that I can totally surrender to? No, I haven't found that yet! Not even in yoga.
In yoga I have met very judgemental people. I am one, I think! Sometimes when I talk to friends I realise I am thinking "Oh, but don't you just start doing yoga, and everything will be better", as if MY way is the best! I cannot remember the Sanskrit names for the poses.... I am not sure what the mantras exactly mean and I feel insecure when humming something I don't fully understand. I don't want to be a vegetarian. I wan't to enjoy coffee, red wine, beer and an occasional cigar. Sometimes I just don't understand that I am a yoga teacher at all!
And I have realised that this doubt is the same doubt I feel with my Protestantism!
I have always thought that I wouldn't find a faith that would fit me because I am a little of everything!
And this is what I meant that everything has changed!
I met an incredible person with an immense knowledge of Hildegard von Bingen and her beliefs, her ways and insights - and it's just like coming home!
The most important thing Hildegard said was: "Divinity is aimed at humanity." That God created you to be happy. You shouldn't live in asceticism, rules and regulations - no, God made your body and you honur Him by doing good for it and making your soul happy to live there!
She also said that we as humans don't understand everything because we can't see the entire picture - and we have to be at ease with the fact that God has arranged all things in the world in consideration of everything else. This light was revealed to Hildegard of Bingen very early in her life and chose her life path (more on Hildegard of Bingen: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hildegard_of_Bingen)
After coming home I have found a way in that I can understand. I am at ease in the idea of the eternal Divine love, and that you honour God by honouring yourself, body, mind, and soul. You are to be happy. You are to see the bliss in nature and use it to recharge your batteries - both physically and spiritually. You are to move your body every day to make your body - and then your mind - happy. You are to eat healthily and not overdo it.
Next summer I am doing Hildegardis Yoga at the Disibodenberger Ruine in South Germany. I will use the quotes from her as mantras and prayers, I will use her way into how to make you happy in your body as a way to find the calmness inside you - and the magic and energy at the ruins to support the practice.
So, not only did I find a loving and compassionate way into my faith again. I also found the connection between the yoga and the worship that I can understand. And through this understanding I can teach it directly from my heart. "How dare you make the connection between Hildegard of Bingen and yoga?" you might ask.
"... a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation."
In short, to unite body, mind and soul to find our balance in the world.
"The Word is living, being, spirit, all verdant greening, all creativity. This Word manifests itself in every creature."
In short, as creations of God we are body, mind and soul and through uniting the three we will be in balance.