For most of you who know me, which lets be frank, isn’t a lot of you; you know that I don’t have a huge belief system that ties in with religion. I believe in the inherent goodness and darkness than lies in every soul and I believe that life is your journey in finding out whether you live your life in the shade or in the light.
I’ve been asked over and over again what my religious affiliation is and the response is always almost the same: I grew up Hindu, my mother is radically protestant, the extended family is More so catholic but follow old West Indian traditions that they grew up with which translates to Indian which translates to Indian.
At the end of the day, I was raised to be a good person. All of my values were pointedly taught and learned. Do good for others without expectancy, nurture the world around you, live like tomorrow is never promised, cherish the people you love, die for those you care for etc…God was just a word that brought everything together.
Now that I’m older I can definitely say that I’m more cynic than blind believer. I know God, or whatever he/she/it is called can accept that since I am merely made in his/her/their image. Historically, Jesus is not someone I can put my money on. I do not believe in the Historical Jesus. Symbolically, he makes sense, like all the other gods of old cultures that have died and lived in the exact likeness of the sacrificial lamb. Jesus, is a metaphor in my mind, for what every person can be, he is the example of what a Father would want, would like for each of his children. God never meant, in my understanding for Jesus to be worshiped. Let me give you an example, if you dad is a Neurosurgeon, would the hospital call you into work if your dad was unavailable? Checkmate.
God is the core of all things. God is the way a lover smiles, the way the sun helps plants grow, how roses blossom, how a river swells, how children see people for what they really are, how our eyes perceive color, how our tongue tastes..god is the representation of everything we can’t explain, everything we wish we understood, everything we know we could never comprehend. God is a thought. An idea. A compartmentalization of greatness, existential, ethereal awesomeness that is illusive and beyond our influence.
Religion boils down to powerful/influential men convincing you that you have to follow their guidelines in order to experience God, in his/her/its full glory. The only way to give thanks isn’t crying prostrate in church on sunday, or not moving a muscle on the sabbath, or even aarti at Mandir. The way that you experience god is to find him/her/it in the stillness when everything you feel and think can be transcended, can be lifted and moved…when your mind and body are ready to take in a higher power, you naturally open up to the encounter. The reason why people spend years falling deeper and deeper into religion and never feel anything but still go on, is because they are convinced that seeking god means disappointment, prayers will go unanswered, heartbreak and loneliness will follow. A network of people going through the same things, seeking god…becomes convincing.
Oh, and just so we’re clear. I’m not judging. I’m sharing. I was one of the people who spent all their free time at church, hell, I lived in the same building as the church. Worked at the church, was in the choir, taught Sunday school, assistant to the youth pastor. I was there for everything. I felt nothing. I was empty. I was bored, and while I was there, I came to understand that most people who were at church felt the same way. I stopped going, because I couldn’t bear the charade.
Looking for answers lead me to a quiet place. Where I was at peace. Where I didn’t have to pretend to be anyone else.
I’ve always respected religion, and its ability to tame people who have no value system and make them afraid of the unknown. I respect the community aspect of churches and how good they can be for people who have nothing else. I don’t respect people who judge me because I am no longer one of them. Sheep. I dislike people who try to force their religion on me. You are not better than me because you have rules on how to be a good person and I don’t. Don’t look down your nose at me. Ever. I’m normally more than willing to put a religious zealot in their place. With all of this said, I encourage everyone to explore their religious options at all times never forgetting that it is always a choice. Yes, there is a higher power, but because it is just that, we have no idea of the implications, we can not understand or explain it to someone else.
I wish everyone best of luck in their spiritual journeys and I hope that we all get to nirvana.