Monday, December 22, 2014

one love, one god

Meditating at the minaret at Ibn Tulin Mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

In Japan, I quietly walked up and down a Shinto mountain God barefoot, in thoughtful meditation. In Egypt, I chanted with ecstasy and enthusiasm to Allah in a Sufi zikr. Last night I went to simbang gabi ("evening mass", which is Christmas tradition among the Catholics here in the Philippines).

As I sang wholeheartedly the familiar “Kordero ng Diyos”, “Lamb of God”, I wondered whether my fellow churchgoers would consider me an infidel for being so very liberal in the ways I choose to worship the Divine. I know that I don’t see myself as such. Rather, I feel that along with the world opening up the way it has over the years--with the yoga practice and the travel that has magically come with it--so has my view of that which is absolute and complete.

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.

I find that wherever I go, true devotees have the same kind of heart no matter what form, formlessness, or format they resonate with. And the rest, well, we have the same struggles--the same struggles of lack, of faith, of littleness and of separation. That somehow each version of God is a reflection of the culture that seeks to understand it. And while there is something to be said about how we create the God or Gods that we value, I continue to believe that the Divine is Everywhere, Everything, call It what you will, worship wherever it works for you. There is no limiting the unlimited, there is no naming that which goes beyond words.

Shinto moss shrine in Kyoto, Japan. 
In the New Year, I will be landing in India and there my acts of devotion will transform into sun salutations, pujas, and mantras. I will be bowing to a dynamic set of representations of the Divine, blue-faced Gods, many-armed Goddesses, magical beasts. Moreover, I would like to be more liberal, more open, I would like to make a practice of seeing the Divine in all people, in all things. I’d like to love the people I find most difficult. I’d like to look upon strangers as brothers and sisters. I’d like to treat the the land, the world we live in, the planet at large as sacred—because it really is. 

One love, one God.