Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On Faith

Have you ever thought: Maybe my over-dependence on other people is because I lack a connection with something bigger? Maybe my fears, in part, have to do with not having a sense of security in the overall goodness of the world?

It's hard to talk about God. It's hard to decide even what to name that something that is bigger than us. Naming it defines our relationship. 

Do we call this force by a name? Do we think of it as simply consciousness? 

And how do we grapple with our hundred different thoughts of what God has meant to us in the past as well as how these ideas have changed. As I have practiced writing in the last few months, I have become more aware of the parts of my life that call out their absence. I don't have any spiritual practice, and I pray very little. If you were to ask me though, I could tell you what I believe.

It's founded in my experience of a few different moments in my life. For brief instants, I touched that thin space between life and death. I knew, with a surety that defies reason, that I was part of something bigger. 

I knew that when we die, only the form disappears. The essence remains intact, it continues. But even though I have touched this place, I have not been able to live this experience in a way that frees me. It has ended up becoming a frozen intellectual thought. 

As I have gone through life, I have picked up other debris. Like you, I have had shocks to my system. When something unfair has happened, I have asked, like many others: Why would God allow this? Is there really a God?

And so, I have developed a deep ambivalence, and my relationship with God is one in which I have stopped talking, and stopped listening. Maybe you are in a similar place. You have a faith that you have carried through your life. You also have doubts that lock you in place.

All we can do when we realize this is start walking again in the direction of our questions. And resolve the faulty beliefs that might have stopped us in our tracks. Maybe we have stopped our search because we don't have the internal permission to pray in our own way. 

Maybe we have turned away from the meaninglessness behind rituals, but haven't actually turned towards something. We have a right to synthesize our own practice. If our creativity helps us encounter ourselves, and encounter sacredness, then that's one form of prayer. 

Service is another. We don't need to necessarily follow conventions, or mindlessly accept that there is a “right” way and that if this way doesn't resonate with us, we are left with nothing.

It is radical for me to think that I could have let such flimsy reasons come in the way of such an important relationship. But the real reason, of course, is the hurt and anger that we all carry. We don't know what will happen when we start relating, start asking again. 

There was a time when we thought that we would crumble if we asked, and did not get an answer. That self that was hurt needs compassion. Maybe today, we are a little bit stronger, and can let ourselves fumble in the dark. 

We can risk asking. We can shake lose our frozen, numb places and start on what really is the ultimate quest that gives meaning to our lives.


  1. "Maybe we have turned away from the meaninglessness behind rituals, but haven't actually turned towards something. We have a right to synthesize our own practice. If our creativity helps us encounter ourselves, and encounter sacredness, then that's one form of prayer." Favourite line!! I've always believed that faith comes from within and from what makes you feel one with nature. For some that is art, for some that is rituals, for some it is the cosmos and the vastness of the universe. There is no right or wrong in faith; I believe there is only what is right for you, an individual.

    Ritualistic tradition following without questioning really may work for the masses, but it is way to "idealistic" view on what faith and spirituality is. I've always believed that spirituality is individualistic, and found in different forms for everyone.

    Great piece!

    1. Thank you Roopali ! I think so too. To each his own. There are different ways of doing the same thing. I think what comes naturally is what's usually right. I think service and connecting through my creativity speaks the most to me.

  2. "May be we have turned away from rituals...." Ritu you know where is am coming from intellectually/theologically/... about rituals let me tell you this--- rituals build dogmas... dogmas generally work for 10-20 years.. and then we have other dogmas to follow dont we ?? .. cultures change.. may be you ought to question why is it that we as people turn to something?? why is it that humanity has always turned to something?? When you think of having a relationship with God..and if its is a relationship.. do you think that you ought to see what you are in this relationship... do people examine the claims that a deity makes?? that any philosophy/religious system makes??

    Let me tell you that we dont examine anything... we believe what we want to .. and then find reasons to justify what we believe in!!

    Independent of what each one of us believes to be right/wrong/flimsy there is a right or a wrong! do you get this point.. ?? Otherwise us having a thought such as this would not have a meaning.. everyone finds an end to this...with God/philosophy/creativity/philosophy and rituals.. but here's a question.... what each one of us turns to ral?? should that be examined ??

    out of curiosity .. what do you mean when you say that 'there are different ways of doing the same thing... what ways?? what thing??' ways of living?? honestly i dont think that a catholic[a lot of roman catholics do that] offering prayers to saints or Mary is the same thing as me offering it to Jesus...

    I dont know if you'll reply to this post.. but if you've managed to read the whole of my post.. I thank you!! :)