When I was younger, I came to a point of despair when I thought, “It is impossible that God exists. Why would this be happening at all?”
Indian mythology too is quite difficult to understand for the lay person. I questioned the Ramayan for having an avatar of God that left his wife. I questioned the Mahabharat for having characters so flawed and self serving. I wondered how can there be justice when the Gods themselves make hasty and often destructive decisions.
I judged them all, and myself. I felt ashamed of my failures and decisions. I felt sorry for myself and wondered if I was even deserving of happiness. Being far from family and no faith left to hold onto, I struggled.
One day though as while exchanging emails with a cherished friend, she wrote a simple sentence .
“ God is a forgiving God. “
And my life changed. That one simple thought brought me peace. If I could hold onto that belief then I could forgive my own mistakes. If God could forgive me and accept me as I am, so could those closest to me.
With that thought, I walked the path of self acceptance. And with that came the strength to stand tall once again.
And when I re read those stories of long ago, I realized Indian mythology is beautiful when you interpret them as stories. That Gods too make mistakes when in human form and that is okay. Those stories are not a source of ideology but a treasure trove of real world values. They teach us to accept the world and act to the best of our karma.
Over the years, those stories and the many, many books I have read and continue to read have slowly but surely helped me discover my own spiritual being.
It is very easy to get lost in the many ups and downs of life. But once you build a personal belief system that you can go back to refer to, most decisions do not seem that difficult to make.
Of course, having hit rock bottom, the only place left to go was up. And that is where my spirit led me.
Finding Strength In Faith
I have always said, “I’m more spiritual than religious. “
For me, spirituality is the belief that there is a higher power that resides all around us and within us that guides us at all times, holding us accountable to ourselves.
A core belief system independent of religion. Being a good person above all, accepting people’s choices and mistakes(even my own), valuing people (time, energy and deeds) and appreciating all that I have with a heart filled with gratitude.
The first to accept my idealistic nature, I also accept not everyone has the same value system and that above all is essential.
What is faith but the belief that there is hope no matter what the situation you are in? That you believe in something bigger than yourself. When someone is in despair, the smallest sliver of hope is enough to buoy their spirit and carry them through the toughest journeys.
Now, with the conviction of faith in the beauty of all around us, I have the super power to look at the silver lining of the worst situations.
My spiritual compass helps me navigate my life with my kids, knowing when my decisions regarding them are right or wrong. Knowing when to forgive myself, my mishaps and when to hold strong in the face of tragedy.
To understand how to counter my relationships, when things go wrong and how to better understand when someone is judging my every move. To help my kids avoid the loss of faith when pitfalls arise. To guide them better towards a stronger self.
How Do I Pass On My Spirituality?
In today’s fast paced, social media crazy, photo frenzied world, it is more important that ever to have the next generation grounded and in touch with their true inner self. To have a sense of self awareness.
Indian culture is full of customs and traditions. I enjoy sharing them all with my children to teach them the joy their origins. But above all, I wish my children to discover the spiritual side of their being so that they have a strong value system to guide them and faith to hold onto in times of despair.
To that end, I pass on interpretations of these age old stories to my children. Explaining to them the human aspect to them, encouraging questions and accepting their disappointments at face value.
I teach my children about the world. We have conversations about people and the many problems different kinds of people face.
Reading and dialogue have been my way to finding the spiritual aspect of my being and I share these with my children to hold them steadfast in all their joys and sorrows.