I read an article about a jet-setting executive in the film industry who got involved with yoga. Yoga worked its magic on him and, as it can, turned his life around 180 degrees. He went from Hollywood riches and fame to living extremely simply, while working to improve the lives of terribly impoverished children in Cambodia.

He was working in Cambodia one day with these kids, who were living in a toxic waste dump that looked like the apocalypse, when he got an “emergency” call from LA. It was an actor having a meltdown because the private jet he was to ride in didn’t have the right amenities for him. The actor was quoted as saying, “My life wasn’t meant to be this difficult!”

Ironic, right?

And yet.

After we read that article, Blue Eyes and I started quoting this line to each other. We go places where “normal” families are having “normal” times. Parents are off socializing with each other while their kids are playing together somewhere else, and we —

Well, we’re usually with Joseph, soothing him if it’s too stimulating, or helping him to learn some new RDI objective, or intervening so that he can interact socially with his peers.

And it’s easy to look around and say, “My life wasn’t meant to be this difficult!”

Or was it?

Yoga’s main principles are the niyamas and yamas — roughly translated as the do’s and don’ts of spiritual living. One of the yamas is non-envy. Its corresponding quality, which we are meant to cultivate, is contentment.

I work with non-envy and contentment. I watch my ego wishing things were otherwise, wishing we could be one of those normal (and, therefore one assumes, happy) families.

And yeah, I get sucked in. Sometimes way in. Then I get to drown in self-pity for a while, and I feel isolated and the world seems so dark.

Then, by some grace, I eventually remember: it’s not out there, it’s in here. It’s an inside job.

Yoga calls contentment (santosh in Sanskrit) the supreme virtue. And I remember that the circumstances in my life are not my business — they are God’s business. My business is what I do with those circumstances.

Sister Gyanamata, one of Paramhansa Yogananda’s great disciples, is quoted as saying, “Your religion is tested in the cold light of day.” Having a child with autism is as cold and light a day as I’ve ever experienced.

Gyanamata also said, “Change no circumstance. Change only me.”

And so, remembering who and what I am — a spiritual being having a human experience — and what makes me happiest, I pull my mind out of the delusion of wishing things were otherwise. I open to embrace this moment, with gratitude and acceptance.

This is not some fake “tra-la-la, everything is great” kind of attitude, but the harnessing of all my strength, all my resources, to pull against the strong downward current and reside in that place of peace within.

Yes, our life is not as simple as some people’s appear to be. But if I truly believe that there is a Father/Mother God who gives us exactly what we need for our highest good, then how can I possibly believe that this is an accident? Or that it should be other than it is?

Fighting it, resisting it, blocks the flow of energy. As Byron Katie says, “If you fight with reality, you always lose.” Exhaling and letting life be as it is opens that channel between me and the Divine, and I feel the contentment of knowing things are exactly as God would have them.

So, God, I thank you for the remembrance that there is so much more going on than I can see. I thank you for this beautiful boy and for the magic of having him in our lives.

Change no circumstance. Change only me.

Wow.

Advertisements