Religion can be defined as a set of belief systems. The belief usually concerns one or more powers that guide the path of people throughout existence, explain how the world itself came into being, and lay out the proper "way" of living.
At first glance and without looking below the surface, kriya yoga can easily follow under the category of religion. However, this is far from reality, as kriya yoga is not necessarily a set of belief systems. It is a spiritual path in and of itself.
Kriya yoga is a meditation technique that utilizes breath work, chanting, and other such spiritual methods to promote a person's spiritual growth and enlightenment.
The practice is greatly different from what you might come to know as a religion. The most significant difference is that in Kriya yoga, you are not told what to believe, or who to believe in. The all-powerful entity that guides the world and decides one’s destiny is not defined clearly as in other religions.
In Christianity, for instance, you have God in His three forms: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God created the world and created humans. If one lives in accordance with the Word of God, they are given the ultimate reward. Upon their death, they are given access to the Kingdom of Heaven.
This creates a set path one must follow. Follow the 10 commandments, love thy neighbor, be righteous and Love God, and you will reach Heaven. By definition, religion creates two separate ways of living.
One is the individual way of life each can choose. The rules are defined by personal values and morals. The other is the way of God. Religion asks you to align your individual way to the Divine’s way, and only then will your path be on the track to the ultimate reward.
But kriya yoga is, by definition, inner work because there are not two paths in this context. The path of God, and the individual path, are one and the same.
In kriya yoga, the God you believe in is a lot less important, in terms of having clear definitions and rules as to how your faith should translate.
What this meditation practice wants to achieve is how a person "reaches" God. In many religions, it’s by going outside of them, being careful of their actions and how they interact with the world.
If in another religion, you call out to God outside of you, kriya yoga asks you to look inward, and access one of the strongest links all people have to the Divine: the soul. The most prevalent belief here is that humans are created in the image and likeness of God, so God exists in every human. The prayer or other practices are a way to look for and find God within each person by forming a stronger connection between the soul and God.
Therefore, the path you are in is already the path of God thanks to the existing connection you have with the Divine. This connection is your right, and cannot be taken away from you.
What may lack, however, is awareness of this connection, that you are created in the image of God, that you must look inward to discover the Divine and nurture a stronger connection. Kriya yoga, if anything, brings a heightened level of awareness of your connection with the Divine, and the potential to connect with Him to a better, enlightened way of living.
Kriya yoga simply asks you don’t look for God outside of yourself. It is a spiritual path that helps you reconnect with your own soul, and therefore to God. Through the different practices of this meditation technique, you come to learn that you are more than simply a physical element in the world, or that your body is a vessel for the soul.
God is already an integral part of who you are and your existence. Through prayer and purposeful living, you can experience the spiritual growth you need to feel his Love more vividly, tap into the inner wisdom you already possess, and guide your path through this world.
You see, the true purpose of kriya yoga is not to see or reach God, but to connect with the Divine. Enlightenment is reached when you become fully aware of the existing connection with Him and are able to use it to guide your path.
In religions, the ultimate gift is often presented as something that comes before the mundane existence is over. Again, in Christianity, you reach the Kingdom of Heaven, the ultimate goal, only after your soul leaves the physical body.
But when kriya yoga seeds Divine awareness, everyday existence, in its own right, becomes the ultimate reward. As you realize you are made in God’s image, and you carry a piece of him right into your own soul, existence itself becomes a lot less mundane.
You, therefore, realize what your true purpose in this world is, and become less consumed by fear, anger, and the problems the modern lifestyle presents. You gain a form of perspective that helps you to realize the preciousness of each moment, as each moment of your life on this plan
can mean so much more if you allow it to. If you put your true intentions, coming from the Divine, into each action.
Kriya yoga helps seed peace and tranquility in your soul and offers you a sense of self -control over your own destiny.
Kriya yoga is not a religion, nor does it want to be presented as one. The belief systems you already have when you enter don’t act as obstacles to overcome during the practice.
Rather, kriya yoga helps you see the Divine differently, and access a way to better yourself and your existence, by starting from who you already are as a whole: body, soul, and even your beliefs.
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