It seems to be a chaotic world that I live in. Nothing that’s happening to me or around me seems to be in my control. However the silver lining in this is that right in the middle of chaos, I ask myself the most important questions of my life. Who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? What will happen when I die? Will I see God or the Devil? Does God even exist? What is religion and what is spirituality? Where will spirituality lead me?
The questions are endless, but the answers seem to be limited. The most popular discussion that I’ve come across is on the existence of God. There’s one group whose life is dedicated to the service of this benevolent being who seems to control their fates. Then, there’s the second group whose mission in life is to disprove the existence of God. Finally, the third group, my personal favorite, that’s neither here nor there. They pride themselves in their confusion, adding to the already existing chaos.
I belong to this third group, disappointed by organized religion that claims to have a direct connection to the almighty God. Their explanation just doesn’t make any sense anymore. The rules and regulations that they claim to have come straight from the man upstairs, seem a pointless exercise. But, does that mean I’m an atheist? If life were that easy, why would there be so many questions in my mind?
Unfortunately, I simply can’t accept that my existence is a random collection of atoms and molecules. The world that I see around me is in a way too beautiful and organized for it to be a chance event. When I think about how the world started, even the big bang as well as how we evolved into the fine specimen that we are today, I somehow can’t ignore that there might be something going on underneath. I do close my eyes from time to time, and pretend that’s not true. But, somewhere deep inside I know otherwise.
It’s that “deep inside” that really fascinates me. I am constantly hit by thoughts, emotions and feelings. It seems like an impossible task to sort out this giant and jumbled mess, in order to come to some sane conclusion. Who is that voice in my head and what is he saying? Is it me or is that God? I have spent my entire life time, looking up there, searching for that ever elusive being of love and peace. But what if he didn’t exist? Or should I say, he didn’t exist up there? Maybe, he was present deep inside me, calmly trying to bring the change within me.
Even as I am in the middle of figuring out the answers, the outside world invades. Somebody in my family gets sick, or some person out there starts a shooting rampage, and the disturbance begins all over again. But, the voice inside has not stopped talking. It may sound muffled, but it’s still there, surviving the mess that was made outside of me. And with every set of new problems, I notice that the voice seems to be getting stronger. The outside world doesn’t seem to make sense to me anymore. As if it’s not enough that I am dealing with my own thoughts and emotions, I am simultaneously being hit with thoughts of every other being that I come across in my life.
I begin to observe my life closely, and realize that every single event, big or small, have lead me inwards. From the day I was born, till the day I will die, the source of all emotions arising from everything that is happening around me comes from inside of me. I was told that when I was born, I spent a great deal of time crying. It seems logical to think that my family would have spent all their time trying to figure out my internal process, in order to meet my needs. And then as I grew older, my internal voice matured with me and was able to express more complicated emotions. The first time that I separated from my parents, the first time I expressed my independent personality, the first time I made a friend, the first time I fell in love, and the list goes on. Every single experience brought about an internal change that I created. As my experiences increased, the amount and complexity of the change also increased. At some point in my life, I began to realize that the chaos is not out there, but actually exists deep within me.
And that’s when everything suddenly became so clear. If the problem exists within me, then the solution to this problem should also be somewhere in its vicinity. After all, every problem comes with its own solution. My search for answers begins and what I look for I must find. As a young girl, when things would go wrong in my life, I would look upwards, waiting for an explanation. It didn’t occur to me then that I was the creator of my own problems, and therefore the solution couldn’t possibly come from outside. Now, I claim to know better. I am older and wiser; at least I like to think that I’m smarter than before. So, it should get easier to solve the riddle, right?
The older me has realized that it actually tends to get harder as I get wiser. I have been living in the belief that my problems can be solved only by somebody who is more powerful than I am. My older belief system is now clashing with my new belief system that I’m the one in charge of myself. I find myself at crossroads, where I have to make a choice between religion and spirituality. If I choose religion, I can continue with my old belief, where I put a God out there in charge of my destiny. If I choose spirituality, I get to be in charge of my own life and destiny. I still believe in God, but instead of looking upwards, I get to look inwards.
According to the Webster’s online dictionary, “Spirituality is the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters: the quality or state of being spiritual.” They seem to have combined religion and spirituality and placed them in the same category. However, my life experiences have taught me that although religion and spirituality appear to be similar, they are actually poles apart from each other. Religion separates the atheists from those who believe in God. But spirituality is a branch that includes every being, believer or not, and puts them in their own individual path.
In other words, spirituality is a journey that each and every one of us are taking, knowingly or otherwise, in search for that ever-elusive truth, that is unique to each of us. There doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong way of going about it. That would also explain, why in the same world, a person who hasn’t harmed a soul and a person who does nothing but harm others can co-exist. That would explain why an atheist and a believer of God get to breathe the same air, or experience the same amount of warmth from the sun. Spirituality does not discriminate. Each of us have our own journey, and the beauty is that spirituality begins inside us and leads us right back to where we started. My spirituality leads me to myself as I become the solution to my own problem.