My lunch today was amazing. Like, really, really delicious. But the conversation was good too. Husband and kids and I sat around the table talking about the day thus far. ‘Oh I’m going to yoga tonight,’ I said, ‘but I’m undecided if I’ll stay on for the yoga sutras study group.’ After explaining myself, my husband just looked at me and said, ‘Why don’t you write about this?’ Good point.

So, here’s what I told him. After yoga class tonight – asana, physical practice – I’ve been invited to stay for a monthly study group of the yoga sutras, the philosophical and spiritual foundational text of classical yoga. It’s kind of like bible study, for yogis. Neat! But it doesn’t fit in with my Christian quarter.

Of course, I’m not really practicing much Christianity this quarter, am I? I’m practicing by not practicing the other things that make up my personal spiritual practice. Before, I used to get on my case about not practicing enough. I felt like I didn’t have a very dedicated practice at all, not compared to before I had kids, where I’d do forty minutes of yoga asana and thirty minutes of meditation every morning! But now that I’m not practicing other things I see just how much practice I had going, and how integrated into my entire day it was. As I’ve said before, that’s good information. I might never have discovered that were it not for this quarter!

My husband said, ‘What kind of Christianity are you trying to practice? It never would have bothered you five years ago when you still thought of yourself as Christian.’ He has a very good point. Except that five years ago I wouldn’t have viewed or approached the yoga sutras as they are: spiritual, foundational texts. I now see and embrace yoga as part of the greater Hindu tradition.

I could not stay tonight and attend next month, after my quarters shift again. That’s what I’m tempted to do. I want to stay true the aims of this blog project, on the other hand, maybe I’m making to big a deal over nothing?

What do you think? Should I attend tonight, or not? Why?

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About Niki Whiting
  • Erin

    I think you should attend, unless the Christianity you are exploring is an extremely restrictive version.

  • Erin

    And the why of that is that most positive versions of Christianity that I’m familiar with don’t forbid the study of other doctrines, as long as you place no god above Yahweh.

    • myownashram

      Perhaps the conflict is that I DO, most definitely, put other gods above Yahweh.

      • Erin

        If you’ll pardon me sounding critical, it seems to me like you are defining Christianity very negatively–like you’re saying “well, I’m Christian in these three months, so I can’t do these things that are fun/interesting/enlightening.” It doesn’t seem like the same attitude with which you have explored the other faiths in your project. It’s almost as if you’re setting yourself up to have a negative experience with this faith because you feel so done with it. I totally understand and respect your feeling of doneness, but if you don’t engage with this practice with an open heart, than what is the point–other than “proving” that doneness, which seems unnecessary?

        • myownashram

          You make excellent points, and I will address them in the next post! I think you speak to exactly what I’ve been struggling with, only I wasn’t aware of it.

  • Adam

    If your commitment to Christianity revolves around what you DON’T do then it’s not really a practice…unless it’s a practice in abstention, which in my experience is actually a pretty strongly Christian practice, at least, a mainstream Christian practice.

    For me, it boils down to what kind of Christianity you claim to be practicing. As you know, there are plenty of streams of Christianity that wouldn’t object to, and would probably encourage, your attendance of the sutra study. There are just as many or more that would discourage it or ban you from it. So what kind of Christian are you this quarter?

    Lastly, can you attend as a Christian, and then do a compare and contrast with the sutras to the Bible (or equally Christian text) that might shed some meaningful light on either or both traditions? Or, really, you could infiltrate the group, then try and convert them while you’re there. That would be REALLY Christian of you.

    • myownashram

      You make excellent points. I haven’t wanted my practice this quarter to be about rejection rather than about embracing, but I have learned that those days are past for me.

      I think I shall go.

    • homophilosophicus

      Rather, no Adam! That would not be ‘REALLY Christian.” It would, however, be really abusive and a crime against hospitality and love. My Christianity is not about what I don’t do. It is about what I do. I do show love, respect and gratitude for the hospitality shown to me by others.

      • myownashram

        Homophilosophicus, thank you for commenting. If I may be so bold here, Adam was being sarcastic. He and I both know that not all Christians are like that, and that many are warm and welcoming. I will let Adam say more about his experience if he wants to.

        • homophilosophicus

          Oh — I see. Please allow me to apologise for any misunderstanding (to Adam and yourself). This reply actually came as a result of Adam’s comment being used as ammunition elsewhere:

          PS. I love your thoughts here on your blog. I would certainly be keen to read your thoughts and comments on the homophilosophicus interfaith project. It has been very interesting thus far. You have a very interesting modus vivendi.

          • myownashram

            Thank you. I will check out your blog this evening!

  • Eleanor

    You haven’t had issues with modifying your practice of the different religions to suit your circumstances so far – you haven’t observed every practice, gone to church, etc (which is not a criticism, I think your deep dive into each religion without just superficially adopting practices that don’t make sense for you is a totally honest and wonderful approach), so why is this giving you pause?

    I say go and enjoy the study with an open mind and open heart. There doesn’t seem to be anything ‘un-Christian’ in that, at least to me!

  • Curious

    //But it doesn’t fit in with my Christian quarter.//

    I’ve been reading your blog quite often, yet I keep forgetting about the “Christian quarter” and it always takes me by surprise. And one of the reasons could probably be that you seem to be very different from what Christianity tends to expect from people. Everything (or most of the things) you seem to be doing, your thought process, seems diametrically opposite to Christianity.

    Since you ask, I’d say you should go. and it already appears that you will love it.

    n keep sharing – this is a great blog!

    • myownashram

      Thank you for your comment and for reading! I appreciate your observations. Hopefully some of that will be addressed in my next post!

  • victoriamanning

    I am glad that you are thinking of going. It sounds like fun, and it sounds like you have the ability to attend these things without having to worry about your kids being taken care of. I do not – my partner works at night and sleeps during the day. Enjoy yourself – I really like the concept of comparing and contrasting the different religious texts. Sounds really interesting. Hope you have fun :)

    • myownashram

      Thanks for reading and commenting. You make a good point about having child care. And not just that, but now the youngest is at an age where I can actually go 4 or 5 hours between nursings, whereas in the past that’s been a limiting factor in my activities.

      • victoriamanning

        My youngest is finally at that stage as well. I am hoping to be able to get into a routine, but I just don’t seem able to wake up early enough haha.

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