Then he said to them all: "If anyone wants to be my disciple, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me."
This passage was shared this morning during service at First Lutheran Church as the visiting Pastor ended his sermon. It resonated very powerfully for me, so I wrote it down in order to contemplate it later. As I often do when I attend Church services, I internally translate from Christian to Yoga in order to gain an understanding. This ability to interpret these profound teachings has evolved over the years. Growing up Catholic, I struggled with certain words like 'sin' and 'devil,' and longed for the deeper meaning behind them. This is what drew me first to Buddhism and then to Yoga, for their ability to open my mind and my heart, and what now allows me to embrace the brilliance and simplicity of Christ's teachings.
From my perspective, this is what Jesus is saying in the parable above: In order to recognize our True Nature (as Unity Consciousness, Christ Consciousness, Krishna Consciousness, Buddha Consciousness, etc.) we must release our Separative Ego, (lower self, self-image), practice humility, compassion, releasing attachments as well as resistance (Sadhana) daily, to ultimately experience reunion with our Source. In Yoga what we refer to as Sadhana is practicing witness consciousness whether we are on the yoga mat, meditation cushion, in Church, at our jobs, with our families, or our communities. It is all Sadhana. We must look closely at every aspect of ourselves, everything we do and say and think, in order to truly see who we are.
Yogis and Christ have taught us very simply how to deny our ego. It is repeated every time one recites the Lord's Prayer or, in our Lineage, the Guru Mantra Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya:
Thy will be done, not mine.
Surrender. Again and again, surrender. I welcome any and all opportunities to be reminded of this, whether they come from Church Service, or on the yoga mat. This is my practice.