… was what I was told as soon as she knew that I wasn’t religious. “Huh,” I thought.
It seems like a really nice and considerate statement, but then it had seems somewhat closed and short. Like the topic was over. It had bothered me.
You know what? I’ll pray for you, and that the lord will find you and lead you to a better place.
Wasn’t that statement a little passive aggressive?
Religion and I
Since little, my parents had given me a strict set of guidelines of things I can and can’t do, must and mustn’t do via religion. I was told to sit in a meditation posture and pray, without really knowing what it does.
It turns out, I was supposed to see my “master” in my inner conscience. If we pray and meditate a lot, with enough focus, we would be able to see her. I suppose it is similar to Jesus or Allah appearing in your thoughts when you ask for help.
My family’s religion, The Quan Yin Method, developed by the Supreme Ching Hai, is similar to Buddhism. Raised with this religion, I was vegetarian all my life. I meditated for most of my childhood, not knowing what I was doing. I was told to chant my “master’s” name before I slept so that I would be blessed. If I did everything right, I would see her in my inner thoughts.
Well, hard as I tried, I never saw her.
I felt like I was doing something wrong. Like I wasn’t good enough. How come everyone else seems to be on the right path, but I couldn’t see it?
Doubts, Questions, and Insecurities
As a child I was really confused, but I was scared of asking for fear of adults scolding me. I was also scared of being slow and that everyone would know that I’m too shallow to understand the depths of my master’s teachings.
I felt like I was just sitting there, waiting an eternity for the 30 minutes to end so I could go eat and play.
When we lived in the Philippines, Christianity was the dominant religion. I didn’t participate in Bible study, so I had a lot of time to myself while my friends hung out and talked about Christ.
I enjoyed reading stories about Christ. How God created the world. The story of Adam and Eve. The three kings and baby Jesus. Christmas was also my favorite holiday!
Then, I was also conscious of Buddhism, from books and TV shows, there were lots of fun lessons to learn. Buddhism taught me the importance to question everything. I needed to be conscious of my way of living.
If I want to throw fire at someone, my hand would be burnt first.
The more people I meet, the more my mind opened to what all was out there. I began to respect religion in so many ways.
If there is a god, then I think my feelings towards him/her right now would be much respect. I’m sure it must have taken a lot of effort to make such a large and intricate universe, down to every speck.
I see every religion has a point. A system. And if each religion says it’s right, then which is right? It’s hard to imagine that there’s only one right answer, leaving the rest of the ancient religious systems wrong.
The truth can be quite tricky a lot of times, tangled up in a ball of invisible truth yarn.
Judaism. Buddhism. Sikhism. Hinduism. Islam. Christianity.
Who’s to say which is the true one?
I used to say that there’s just too many religions, and that I didn’t believe in any particular one. I go on with my life.
It worked while I was young, carefree, and somewhat ignorant of everything.
My perspective changed when I was faced with a question of – how do we raise children with regards to religion?
Today, I believe in every single one. I believe in the values they create within each person. All religion teaches the importance of values.
I admire that religion gives one such strength to get through difficult life ordeals. That it brings a family, a community together. Its ideals are to strengthen the resolve to be the best person you are. I studied a little on every major religion, and all I saw were good things.
Through travels, I have had many wonderful opportunities to meet with people around the world with their own unique religious beliefs. I love talking to people about their religion, especially those who devote their entire lives to one.
I don’t believe in demeaning other people, like what happened to me today. The conversation had baffled me, making me feel as if I needed to be saved or leaving me feeling like I’m not good enough.
I think religions are great, especially if they are interpreted well and foster actions and feelings of:
- Spirituality and mindfulness – be in the now and appreciate all else around them
- Way of living – cause no harm to others
- Values and Integrity – teaching honesty, work ethics, cooperation, punctuality
- Responsibility – be a good person to a family, a community
- Give strength – to get one through hard times
I have a lot of respect towards religion bringing people to different countries of the world to bring love and care to those who don’t have enough.
People could be in their own bubble, but they chose to spend time and money to take care of others.
So to those who says I will “go to hell” or that I needed saving and “pray that the Lord will lead you the right way,” I say- Thanks, it would be cool to see God, but if I don’t, then I will learn from the lessons he teaches through his religion. God is a part of us all, isn’t he?
Thanks for tuning into my little segment on religion! What did you think? Have you encountered anything similar?
On a different note, here are some less controversial topics I’ve written about recently:
- 10 Reasons Why Didn’t Want to Leave Vietnam
- Vietnam Transportations: To Motorbike or Not?
- A Blogging Post to Get the Ball Rolling