So this might be a bit controversial..
Namaskar – I bow to the divine within you.
We all have different opinions on God, religion and spirituality.
What I’ve come to notice is that there are times and moments, when none of this is important.
“Did she just say, religion isn’t important”?
Yes. At times, religion isn’t important, in my opinion.
Ever since I was little there has been a great emphasis on religion but not in the way you might imagine.
I was brought up Hindu; we always whole-heartedly partake in religious festivals – the ones where Indian Bengali culture, tradition and religion would manage to culminate into something simultaneously exotic, colourful and food focused.
I went to school with important Christian values; I always loved singing hymns during assemblies and carols at Christmas services in church and dutifully attend the commemoration events at the local church.
Ever since I have been little and to this day, I enjoy witnessing other faiths and experiencing different places of worship.
Ever since I can remember, my mum has always made it a point, particularly abroad, to go into places of worship, other than the usual mandir (temple) and spend a few moments in quiet prayer.
Where and when possible, she lights a candle.
Mosques, Synagogues, Mandirs, Gurdwaras, Churches, Temples.
There’s something special about every single one of them.
Spending a few moments in each and every one of them, one can find peace, regardless of whether they belong to a specific faith or not.
In my mind, this is because there is something completely higher and ‘bigger’ than what people identify as religion. For me, spirituality and religion go hand in hand.
Others, however, may disagree entirely.
All I know is from my own experiences and in my mind, people use religion and spirituality as a means of seeking a higher power but in doing so, they seek to reach a higher level of consciousness for themselves; through prayer, meditation or other, we all want to fulfil our own potential, of finding the self-belief, confidence and courage to be who we think we can be. In times of hardship, some focus all their energy towards prayer, in order to make a situation better, or to have the strength to carry on.
Rather than being overly religious, I would say I am more spiritual. However, my faith that there is something bigger than all of us keeps me going and I truly believe, much like in The Alchemist, that the universe conspires to help us achieve our wildest dreams, as long as you have the courage to take that first, bold step.
Religion may sometimes wrongly define us; it’s too often blamed for certain actions and people. However, there have also been a few instances that have reminded me that all of us, regardless of whether we identify with a faith or not, are the same, we are one.
Last year, my Muslim friend invited me to The Ramadan Tent, at SOAS in London.
I left feeling so blessed, overwhelmed and grateful, that I felt compelled to write about it.
But to sum up, there was a moment of clarity.
Religion and spirituality may help us focus and realign.
Religion and spirituality may ultimately help us cultivate a relationship with the divine.
But actually, where is ‘God’? Where is this supreme being that billions of people believe in through a variety of different religious lenses?
And I believe that ‘God’, when described as the supreme being or divine, i.e. one’s highest potential, lies within all of us.
The potential to look past racial differences, to see the best in every situation, the best in every person one encounters and to step above conflict.
That ability? That ability lies within all of us.
We are one.
Namaskar – I bow to the divine within in you.
Wishing you a blessed Sunday.
Ana | The Asian Destination xo
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