I often catch certain people looking at me.  Their eyes are fixed.  They are watching everything I do.  They are watching every frown and every smile.  I’ve caught my Grandmother Shamamta doing it.  And she finally said to me the other day in her Inshalla voice, wishes for me to have another boy.  One of my uncles has done it as well.  He seems to be wondering how I can smile and laugh as much as I do.  My close friend had tried to tell me once how she was so deeply affected from my loss, and months later, after I had stopped talking about it, she told me that her anxiety level was so high that her doctor gave her anti-anxiety medication and a referral to a therapist.  She was reminded of death and her fear escalated.

And then I remember the people that try NOT to look at me for too long, because they are too afraid to be reminded of something that we can never escape.  And I think to myself, what would happen if these people tried a Buddhist meditation that I have yet to try, where you meditate on your own death.  Where, no matter how hard you try, you are unable to prevent this inevitable death.  What would happen to us if we all did that?  Wouldn’t it help us stop fighting with each other?  Stop bickering?  Stop blabbing about things that simply don’t matter.  Wouldn’t it keep us from spending money on ridiculous things and maybe spend it on others who need food, medicine, or shelter? 

For my friend, I wouldn’t try to do away with the reminder.  I would embrace it and the anxiety will diminish.  I am thankful that I am able to even though I’m just learning how to do that.  And for those that try to forget it, I will always be a reminder for them that death exists.  That’s okay by me.  When they see me smile,  I hope they think, what enables her to smile?  What does she know that I don’t?  And maybe they’ll ask.  And if not, maybe they’ll wonder.  That is usually the beginning of something wonderful.

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In my second year of college, I decided there was no God.  Because I was raised in a Chaldean Catholic community, I sang in the church choir for years, and I live in a world where most people claim some sort of religious following, this decision DEVASTATED me.  But I understood, at the time, that it was THE BELIEF in some sort of life after death that helped human beings feel that life is worthwhile to some degree.  It was a way for us to trick our brains, an evolutionary trait that helped us in our existence.  Reading the book “God Part of the Brain” influenced me further in this decision.  Middle-Eastern History and Anthropology classes also convinced me of this reality, though I was morbidly shocked to find out that my anthropology teacher was a devoted Christian.  That’s when I believed it even more.  Even a scientist couldn’t break free of this evolutionary need to believe in something higher.  In a lecture on spirituality put on by the anthropology class, I questioned him but he just didn’t see it my way.  This was all very depressing and it would take a couple years to shake the depression off.

Now I find myself wondering.  I still don’t believe there is a God but I do believe there is some force in the universe.  I don’t know anything about it but I definitely know it doesn’t speak or have human qualities.  It’s a force of energy.  What else could it possibly be? 

When Oprah Winfrey started endorsing Ekhart Tolle and his book “A New Earth,” I joined her on-line group but I never logged in.  But I read it.  In his book, Tolle draws from different religious texts to illustrate how there are common messages among them, messages I won’t go into here.  For example, he is able to link Christianity with Buddhism (I don’t remember much about Islam but it may be there) through similar words of Jesus and Buddha.  Jesus and Buddha have a lot in common: having denounced the ego, understanding the importance of being in the present, practicing compassion.  These two historical figures, who became spiritual guides, understood similar things about the universe.  Well, since they didn’t discuss the purpose of life with each other over tea and biscuits, there must be something to that, right?

I’m totally comfortable with the decision that I am done with Christianity.  Trusting God knows the answers, God will see us through, believing God has a plan for me, etc., just doesn’t sit well with me.  This is too passive for me.  It is ME and MY ACTIONS that have a lot to do with what happens in MY life.  But what about Buddhism?  If Buddhist Monks, or Enlightened Ones, can control their bodies with their minds, they most know something worth knowing.  They are so ACTIVE and IN TUNE.  They must have answers of some sort to our suffering.  I am trying to open my mind to ideas of Karma and Rebirth but it is difficult.  Still, it makes more sense than the idea of a heaven.  Since energy doesn’t get destroyed, it MAY be possible that the energy is transferred to another body.  Maybe?  I don’t know.  I’m still totally skeptical.  I’m coming from the belief of when we die, we die, the end!  Since so many other parts of Buddhism DO make sense, I’m going to TRY TRY TRY to open my mind.  I shall see where I go.

 

The only thing there is to do, is GROW

 Tragedies can lull your spirit to sleep or they can help awaken.  The loss of my son has shaken me so hard, that I do not expect to sleep until that day when I stop breathing.  There are no more mindless activities to do.  Everything is now a conscious decision.  By conscious I mean, whatever I do, I do because I believe it will help me grow.  The only thing there is to do is grow. 

I am beginning a new spiritual journey.  I will be exploring the spiritual side of yoga on the path to becoming a yoga instructor.  To prepare for teacher training classes beginning in April 2011, I will be attending Buddhist talks on Tuesdays and continue to practice yoga at home and in class.  I will be reading philosophical and historical works.  I’ll be blogging about this journey so that one day I will look back and remember the steps along the way.