Recently we made the decision to stop attending church. Every time the pastor said that Jesus was the only one who’d ever died and then resurrected, I wanted to raise my hand and tell him that yogi masters do things like this all the time. When he spoke about Jesus being the only way to the Father, I wanted to tell him that yoga philosophy maintains it’s a consciousness, not one specific man, that leads to the Divine; that Jesus was not speaking of himself as a person but as that greater Self, just like when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

In other words, we got tired of overlooking things, of pretending to be who we were not. We decided to embrace our yogi selves and let go of the Christian church community. I did it as honestly as I could, writing to the pastor and his wife, expressing my gratitude, love and respect for them and yet explaining where we were with it. They were kind, loving and respectful back, but also pretty baffled. And that’s okay.

masters2Since then, Joseph’s been questioning us: What do Blue Eyes and I believe in? Who is God to us? What is our path? Our answers must have satisfied, because he has declared himself to be a yogi. He dove into our photos and put pictures of masters all over the house. You can’t do a thing now without being watched by masterful eyes.

Most of all, though, Joseph’s been pestering, encouraging, and otherwise urging us to join in with our old spiritual community again. This is the literal community, the one that’s about a 40 minute drive away, the yoga community that was Blue Eyes’ and my life for fifteen years. When Joseph was young we’d tried to join in, but at the time he couldn’t abide crowds, and new people, and unpredictability, and music, and we’d had to give that up.

Now I watch him forging friendships with the people in the community. The lady who takes care of the goats, the man who runs the bookstore, the guy who’s joined us at the table when we come for pizza night. There is something in Joseph that touches people — not everyone, naturally, but when that something does touch them, it does so deeply.

I really appreciate that yogis see beyond the form. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin summed it up well when he said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” A yogi might say, “Autism? What an interesting challenge to reincarnate with.”

In other words, Joseph is a soul that took on a body, mind and personality in order to be a part of this divine play. That his mind has a processing disorder is an important part of the role he is here to act out. I haven’t observed anyone at the community talking down to him, or simplifying things for him, or asking me questions that should be directed to him. They don’t seem to define him by his autism, and this pleases me immensely.

body-and-soulAnd so, this dance between autism and spirituality takes on a new rhythm. Kind of feels like coming home; a welcoming, exhaling, ‘it’s okay to relax’ kind of feeling. I don’t know where it will lead but I’m willing to be where we are and to take the next step when it shows up.

My last post had me so sad about Joseph’s lack of connection with our spiritual family. Guess I gave up too soon.

When it comes to Joseph, I’m starting to realize, I should never say never.