“So you see, don’t judge the way other people connect to God,” concluded Shams. “To each his own way and his own prayer. God does not take us at our word. He looks deep into our hearts. It is not the ceremonies or rituals that make a difference but whether our hearts are sufficiently pure or not.” Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love
I’ve spent many a teenage year nose-in-a-book, soul-searching. Once, I went to a Tarot Card Reader, and another time to a Past-Life Therapist who convinced me I had tortured wrists. I followed every line of Gibran’s ‘The Prophet.’ Bought a shelf of Osho books. Turned up at a Christianity event and believed in it utterly for two years after. Attended a meditation session in the green grass, under blue sky…
Until, I felt entirely lost and terribly confused. I’ve spent the years after floundering…wary of religion, and warier still of spirituality.
It took some convincing for me to finally attend a Buddhist prayer meeting one Sunday ago. I was no longer going to let my skepticism come in the way of my curiosity…and decided to accompany a friend.
The sound of the Buddhist chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo filled the air. The sweet sound of ringing bells followed thereafter. People came together to discuss how the chant helped them overcome life’s many everyday trivial troubles. There is both suffering and joy in life, you cannot have one without another. The Buddhist chant at the beginning of the day, and the chant of gratitude at the end of the day help embrace the ups and downs of life without losing one’s delicate balance.
I was interested, but not moved, and not unmoved either. I realize a little later, over a mug of hot tea on a white bedspread, I am slowly making baby steps into a world where I am once again spiritually receptive.
For the occasional sweet sound of calling out to God is reassuring, indeed.