I don't want this to turn into a yoga blog. Oddly, I think God might. So we'll run with that for a while.
Yogi Bhajan explained the Seven-Fold Path to Happiness like so: "Commitment will give you character. That will give you dignity. That will give you divinity. That will give you grace. That will give you the power to sacrifice. Then you'll feel achieved, and you'll be happy."
It's telling to me that the very first rung on the ladder is commitment. Try a quick experiment and do a run-through of your current life in 30 seconds: which of your activities are satisfying to you, and which are causing you angst? I'm willing to bet there's at least some correlation to your level of commitment to each. Even things that are enormously challenging often bring us satisfaction when we are all in and fully invested.
This has been my experience with the Church, and it's tied intimately to the last post on doubt and inquiry. Commitment is, I think, the key to true inquiry--commitment to living wholeheartedly the principles we wish to experiment upon, even and especially when we have difficulties with them. Abraham understood this idea: "And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge" (Abraham 1:2, emphasis mine). The following of righteousness precedes the possessing of knowledge, every single time. What's so cool is that that pattern never runs out--there is always greater righteousness with which we can align our wills and actions, and there will always be more fruits of understanding that result. And let's not forget that Abraham didn't exactly have an easy time pursuing that path, what with his father trying to sacrifice him and his household nearly perishing in famine, and that's just in the beginning of the story. But he persisted, and he became the Father of the Covenant, visiting face to face with Jehovah on what seems a pretty regular basis by my standards and understanding things of eternity that I can barely begin to grasp or don't even know exist yet.
These blessings are not beyond us. We learn in 3 Nephi 26:9 that only a small portion of Christ's words to those he visits in the Americas are recorded for us Gentiles: "And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them." Believing implies by necessity commitment to action, and after we commit, greater things always follow. Just be ready for those things to, you know, actually come, because I'm learning that God doesn't really mess around when it comes to bestowing gifts, and he doesn't give them so we can sit around feeling awesome--he gives them for the benefit of others, for the uplifting of all. And that means he's going to ask us to do stuff and make more commitments. I'm pretty sure that's a cycle that never really ends, but as we grow more and more like God through grace we receive as we fulfill those commitments, it's one that gets increasingly exciting and joyful. Our capacity increases for these good things.
Personal story time: God led me to meditation a little over two years ago. I was lazy and skeptical and tired and too busy to really commit to a daily sadhana, so I dabbled. And it drove me nuts. I couldn't get away from it, but it made me feel crazy. I had mindboggling beautiful experiences whenever I said, no, I'm DOING this meditation thing for real!, only to get lazy and apathetic again a few days later and stop making time for those special moments with God. Because every effort I've made has been rewarded, my commitment level has very gradually risen over the past two years, and a few months ago, I decided to jump in with both feet and see where this practice takes me. Oddly enough, things started to accelerate much more quickly at that point. Perhaps they are seemingly silly changes, things like pulling my hair out of my face and even brushing it on occasion or feeling a sudden urge to deep-clean and organize my entire house to an extent I've never accomplished in my life and actually doing it (college roommates and friends would pass out if they saw the order that is my reality at this moment). I knew things were getting out of control when I started crying during my prayers one morning last week because I just felt so grateful for a piece of correction I'd received from my husband the day before. It was the most gentle correction you've ever heard in your life, but I am the World's Worst Taker of Criticism, which is why he ventures into that scary water maybe once every two years, and usually I almost kill him for daring to suggest that I'm not perfect. And this time I was doing this bizarre happy weeping for the blessing of having my weaknesses exposed to my view so I could hand them over for healing. I'm telling you, something weird is going on.
I'm gaining a testimony of Yogi B's words. I have watched rather dumbfoundedly as God has taken my meager offering of commitment and turned it into a strengthening of my character and given me a dignity I didn't have before. He has given me breathtaking glimpses of divinity, my own and others', and now I am experiencing daily grace that enables me to become a version of myself that is completely impossible alone--not to say that I'm superwoman all of a sudden, but instead that I understand now that I'm kind of a slug at best on my own. I'm not even a slug, actually, but that's okay and beautiful, because not a single one of us is ever alone because that's impossible. Even at our most rebellious and lost, God is still with us, and we're welcome to enjoy greater and greater sociality with God as we commit to greater and greater fidelity to his glorifying precepts. The eventual promise and inevitable outcome is seeing our God face to face and becoming full of light ourselves, and I have yet to find anything that confines those circumstances to after death. On the contrary, the scriptures urge us to do everything in our power to prepare to meet God and to seek him always. It's our primary goal.
Step one is commitment. What's one thing you can commit to today, an area in your life where you want to see miracles instead of discontent? If it's something God has asked you to do, you'll certainly receive help, and it will certainly be worth it.
...even if you have to recommit every couple hours or even minutes, as is the case today with my commitment to patience with my toddler screaming, "WHY??" every 4 seconds. Keepin' it real.
Exploring the spiritual side of things. Brevity is not my forte.