Have you noticed that we are creatures of habit? Speaking of church, have you noticed that people always tend to sit in the same section, some in the same pew and others only in one specific seat? Someone sat behind me one day and I heard her say in exasperation, “Someone is in my seat.” Now, I’m not familiar with all the places of worship in the world but in the churches and synagogues I’ve been in, I’ve never seen a nameplate on the seat of a bench. I am fascinated by this desire for certainty. The gym I belong to has several types of fitness classes and there too people seem to need to be in the same place every time they attend a class. One day, I watched a gentleman set up his equipment in an area he wasn’t aware “belonged” to another lady. She came into the class and went over to him to tell him he was in her spot. I was dumbfounded and I must confess I judged harshly even though it had nothing to do with me. I was curious how this interaction would go and was charmed when the usurper apologized for not paying closer attention, thanked her for informing him and picked up his stuff and moved over. I’ve also been in a similar situation in a dance class and couldn’t figure out why this woman who came in late kept stepping on my toes as we bounced across the gym floor until I finally realized I was in her spot.
Patanjali, the grandfather of Yoga claimed that by practicing the eight limbs of yoga one would be helped with conquering the five human afflictions that cause suffering (kleshas): ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and possessiveness. The third klesha, raga, attraction, creates in us a pattern of acquisition: we began to pursue human relationships, knowledge, wealth, status, power-anything which might be capable of enlarging and protecting our fragile individualized existence. But because change is the nature of creation, all objects within it are impermanent, and thus subject to loss at any moment. (http://www.physics.udel.edu/~bnikolic/klesa.html)
In the March 1993 issue of Guideposts Magazine there was a short article by Catherine Marshall called Prayer of Relinquishment. In it, she tells the story of Mrs. Nathanial Hawthorne, wife of the famous American author. Mrs. Hawthorne wrestled in prayer in the city of Rome one day in 1860. Their oldest daughter, Una was dying. As she urgently prayed for thier daughter’s healing a strange thought arose in her, she decided to let her go. She prayed to God to take Una, if that was best. “I give her to Him. No, I won’t fight against Him anymore.” According to the story, an even stranger thing then happened, minutes later she went back to their daughter’s bedside and found the girl sleeping naturally, without temperature or restlessness. She was healed.