In recent weeks – or even months – I’ve started to revisit this concept of spirituality, and what it means for me. More so than ever before. I’ve been jaded for who knows how long. A jaded believer, if you will. I’ve been feeling like all this talk of religion and life-after-death and fear-of-God and the neverending list of to-do’s and not-to-do’s have been overwhelming, and consequently, has pushed me away. Who but God should be judging our actions? Why do I need friends on Facebook posting status messages about Ramadan and its holiness to feed my guilt – not my desire – into fasting/praying? To be sure, religion is designed to keep society in check, to keep moralities and immoralities separate, to provide people with “guidelines” on how to live life… But that just hasn’t worked for me. The more I have been told to read and try to understand why I am and am not supposed to do certain things, the more disenchanted I became. To fake faith is the worst disservice one can do to oneself, and even others.
When I sat down to write this, I scrolled down to see my meager previous posts. Funnily enough, the last noteworthy one was about the same topic of religion. And a loss of peace. And I remember exactly how that felt – and still does, most of the time. But here’s where I’ve changed—peace is beginning to come back into my soul. This did not happen through any religious awakening. It did not happen through friends or families’ incessant blateration about religion and religious duties and the wrath of God. It wasn’t a heavens-opened-up moment of revelation.
It came from myself. It came from a realization deep within that self-improvement is not something I should spew in words, but something I need to strive ardently for. It came from the realization that I have the potential to be a good person, and I have not even scratched the mere surface of being one. It came from my own search into myself – brought on my none other than my own self, and the knowledge of how little I have done for those around me, and just how much I have wronged so many who have been dear to me...
It’s a start, and I am at the very lowest rung of the totem pole of spirituality, if there was to be such a thing. I am at the Regretful Self level (re: Sufism); I have been realizing my shortcomings and I have the desire to change. The faults are innumerable, and the realization very dim. There is a strong desire to change, but that change is a long way off. I will get there, hopefully not as slowly as I fear. Everyday is a challenge, but everyday is also a chance, to do the right thing.
To quote my recent inspiration, Sultan AbdulHameed, “the controls for changing our circumstances are not in what we see around us, but within us, in the invisible parts of us, where our thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs reside.”
That’s where my search is taking me… to where my beliefs reside.