I was one of those people in school who couldn’t sing the hymn. I would mouth the words but let nothing out. I looked around at the chapel we frequented all of once per year and nothing in that building made me feel remotely connected to God.
To me, religion was a dirty word – a word that described sheep deprived of opinions, free thought and who were instead subscribed to a dogmatic, sexist, racist view of the world. I was raised non-denominational and went to a school that was for the most part, without religion.
It wasn’t until I was 23 that I had my first experience of God – and it changed my life.
I was doing Esoteric Yoga at the time – laying in a gym with about 100 other students at a retreat in northern NSW. The instructor was mic’d up, reciting the format for the class.
Bend your left leg, then straighten, bend your right leg, then straighten. Sit up, Lay down.
There wasn’t anything complicated about this. And yet after 3 days of morning and night practice, as the sun set outside, and I yet again I bent first one leg, then the other, suddenly my body lit up like a Christmas tree. It was as if my blood cells were being carried by thousands of tiny fairy lights – the sensation was like a very fine, very subtle tingling, running through my entire body.
It was a level of connection I hadn’t experienced before, and it was sensational.
I have done my fair share of recreational drugs and drinking, and consequently had many experiences of being high. This was not like that at all. There was a clarity and a quality to the sensation. The best way I could describe it was the cells in my body were running on a different quality of energy.
I didn’t realize it at the time but that energy was impulsed from the Soul. A connection that is available to every human – it is as commonly available as the air we breathe. This connection to The All, is also known as God.
As you can imagine, to feel God in such a ‘real’ way – as a sensation in my body was a perception changing experience. Gone were the days of being anti-religion. After all, what is religion but a name describing the connection to that oneness.
This finally fit with what I had always known was true. I had observed all religions as being separatist, and while they might preach love, they often always preached judgement and that never sat well with me. True love has no judgment, only pure acceptance of another’s equality in divinity.
Of course for some their experience of organised religion has left them feeling cold to the word god. But is it possible to redefine it? To start looking on god as a connection to something Universal, the bigger picture of life and our awareness of the world around us. God can be in the everyday moments we see and feel, a simple acceptance that there is more to life than the naked eye sees.
If that awareness that I found in the gentle and purposeful movements of Esoteric Yoga created a connection I had never felt before, might I have found god in this and had a religious experience? With no temple, script, mantra or dogma required. Just me and my body feeling more than I had before.
If we are all from The One then there is no space for condemnation. And if God doesn’t judge us, then might it be that it actually supports us; holding us in love wherever we go, whatever we choose to do, whether we choose to feel that or not.