The first thing I purchased as a new resident of New York City was a Mala. I felt like it sent a strong message to my psyche about how my time in New York would be spent and would really focus me as I entered into a rigorous conservatory program. A string of 108 beautiful Rudraksha beads hung around my neck and I was rarely seen without them. I made a point of only taking the mala off only when I absolutely had to, and even when I wasn’t reciting mantras I would often run my fingers over the textured beads. Passing the beads through my fingers always calmed me, and I found great comfort in knowing that a link to the divine was always around my neck.
And, just like a child on Christmas, the novelty of our possessions usually wears off. One morning I woke up, and sure that I had taken my mala off before bed, I began to search through my dressers in my tiny dorm room. As time went by, I began to search more and more frantically for the mala, taking things our of drawers, stripping the sheets from my bed; turning my whole dorm upside down.
My roommate walked in, and sensing my panic he questioned me, “Jimmy, what’s wrong?”
“I lost my mala! I can’t find it anywhere!”
“The beads you wear around your neck?”
“Yes!” I responded. I was really beginning to freak out.
“Jimmy, they’re around your neck.”
I looked down.
Sure enough, there they were.
In the same way we forget about God. As children we are incredibly in tune to the world around us, constantly filled with wonder and as we age we begin to forget that wonder and lose that ability to recognize the Divine in everything. The most tragic of these losses in ability is the ability to feel the presence of God within us.
Through our practice of yoga we experience, both on and off the mat, that divine spark.
We spend so much of our lives searching for the things that will make us happy when, in reality, most of the things we desire will only bring us a temporary happiness. In this passage of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that he is in our hearts. Even when we’ve forgotten or lost hope, there He is. Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we’ve had the tools we needed the whole time. We just needed a little reminder.
Once we see that divine spark within ourselves, we can recognize it everywhere.
Spend time today in silent meditation. My teacher once told me, “Prayer is us talking to God. Meditation is us listening to God.”