ishvara pranidhana x the apostle paul

“Yoga consists of three components: tapas (austerity), svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara pranidhana (unshakeable faith in the guiding and protecting power of God).” -Sutra 2.1

I pen this from the shores of a free beach (with free parking!) and will be walking to work at the free public library nearby in about 15 minutes. Before composing this message, I waded in the water for about 10 minutes, digging my toes into the sand at the ocean floor. Contemplating my smallness at the edge of the world, I looked out from where I was standing into the vast ocean before me.

Then, I came here to my blanket which is always in my trunk and layed in savasana to meditate in the pure sunlight before composing this message. This is the blessing of my hometown. Here, I am free. All of this natural glory is here for free. I saw my father this morning, encouraged him and recieved his encouragement. I listened to my buddy Joel on the ride to work and filled up my gas tank full. These are the blessings of coming home.

Today, I have enough of my own money to fill my own gas tank in a paid-for car that runs well, a blessing from the Most High that my father reminded me as I emptied out a good portion of my savings. He explained to me how my disciplined deposit of every amount, some small and some pretty large, into my portfolio over the years has allowed me to have more than enough for my rainy day. But, he also pointed out that my investment company was compounding my interest according to the growth of the market the whole time as well. So, when I went bitterly to withdraw what I thought to be most of my savings, the amount I had available was twice or three-times fold my original deposit. The blessings of God are like exactly this.

Cultivating our steadfast faith at any amount, a mustard seed or Redwood Forest National Park, will prove to bring double the blessings we were hoping for in our limited human imgination. Today, I have new job offers in my new career field. Just as I have given my first fruits to God’s service, I have been blessed with new opportunites to make more money and add back to my savings again. Further, I know now, that the blessings are also a test of faith so it is important for me not foraske a single one of them. I must prepare steadfastly for each because I know my God will bless me many times over for my hardwork if I hold His blessings and His children as sacred.

Look, each of God’s blessings and each of God’s children is already sacred, whether I have the spiritual maturity to recognize them or not. So, I am growing carefully by learning purposefully to recognize his voice in all people and situations. Though ineviatble challenges and great successes, we each must keep in mind that all is preparation for the bigger things ahead. This is growth. And slowly, we mature by the Lord’s grace and walk into our destinies without a misstep for we known where we have been and the cost to reach the top. This month, I challenge you to beging to uncover the lifestyle God has purposed for you and practice praising God in both good times it brings. Then I challenge you to bring that joy into the bad times it will inevitably bring.

The homie Paul told me in his second letter to the Corinthians 4:16 that we do not lose heart in any trying time because even though our outward Self is perishing, the inward Self is being renewed day-by-day. See, I have learned that the things that grow me are the same things that I am most adverse to. The path to liberation is through the conquering of our deepest fears and the pressing on in spite of oppression. We gain our strength and good demeanor in moments of goodness not to sit idly and relish in them with vanity or to escape our life’s difficulties, but to be able fight the limitations of our minds and hearts.

The source of true and lasting happiness is to have the ability to overcome every barrier that arises and changes. This is the foundation of freedom. Paul continues in 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV) explaining that our light afflictions, which are but for a moment (because all things will always change), are actually working for us for a far more exceeding glory. This glory is eternal, spiritual. “We do not look at the things which are seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Sri Swami Satchidananda teaches us how to put this faith into practice in his commentary on Yoga sutra 2.1: tapaḥsvādhyāyeśvarapraṇidhānāni kriyāyogaḥ. He says, “Dedicate the fruits of your actions to God or to humanity, which is God in manifestation. Dedicate everything–your study, your japa, your practices to God. When you offer such things, God accepts them but then gives them back many times magnified. You never lose what you have given to God.”[1]

Therefore, may this message be dedicated to God and his manifestation in my human family for the blessing of all sentient beings past, present and future. As I head off to work, I pray this message cultivates in you further liberation and tranquilty of mind. Don’t you dare give up. Stay in faith. Your blessings are coming.

Namasate and Blessings Fam,


[1] Satchidananda, Swami. (1975). The Yoga sutras of Patanjali : the book of the spiritual man : an interpretation. London :Watkins