Sunday, July 26, 2009

Little Altars everywhere......

Seek and ye shall find....right? At least that's what I remember from Catechism and I took Catechism classes as an adult, not as a kid, so, my memory of it should be pretty close to the surface. Yes, that's what I remember them saying, "Seek and ye shall find". Boy, have I been seeking, in all kinds of places. I have to confess since I read "Eat, Pray, Love" my search has been a little skewed, in fact, my expectations have been very high as the story of Liz shadowed over my own spiritual quest. I adored the book and the story, I want to move to Italy, learn to speak Italian, study meditation in an Ashram in India and find love in Indonesia, seriously. And, adding fuel to my envy of her spiritual quest, Elizabeth Gilbert is coming to speak at a venue close to home and I am desparate to go see her and hear her speak. (It is a very great possibility that I will be going to that event).

Back to my seeking situation......I have been reading voraciously, all kinds of books on religions, seeking Divine inspiration through prayer and my misguided attempts at meditation and Friday I participated in Kirtan with a group of Hare Krishna's near where I live. After chanting and music (which I thoroughly enjoyed) we cracked open the Bhagavad Gita and read from the scripture....and a man presenting himself as "Brahman _____" attempted to 'teach' the group what the scripture we read meant. This is where my journey into Hinuism comes to an end.....personally, when a person presents themselves as all knowing and then cannot simply articulate the meaning of what he is imparting, I am out the door. I was very excited about attending this form of worship and learning what Krishna had to say and having someone intelligently discuss these lessons, but, I was seriously disappointed and my disappointment has clouded my entire weekend. I was to attend the Sunday afternoon worship and feast with the kind Hare Krishnas, however, I know that I would not have been able to disguise my disappointment from them had they asked what I thought about Kirtan on Friday night over our FEAST....I chickened out and stayed home brooding over my 'find'.

Now, all of my life my family has done their very best to persuade me that either Catholicism or Evangelical faiths are the only true churches and I have made very concerted efforts to respect their judgement, however, I never felt fulfilled by these religions....they didn't like it when I would ask questions. "how does Jesus come back to life?" "how does the wine turn into blood?" "why do I have to ask Jesus to become my personal savior if he loves me unconditionally? won't he save me whether I ask or not?" And, "what do I have to be saved from? I'm a nice person, I do good things for other people and I haven't killed anyone and I carry all kinds of guilt around with me on a daily basis, in fact, I have 8 steamer trunks I carry around with me everywhere I go, can't you see my size 16 caboos?" This is why I keep searching, hoping one day the answers will come.....that is why I would like to learn meditation, to become enlightened, because I've HEARD that when you can escape this plane you find the answers....

After my experience on Friday night....let me add here what actually transpired, my friend Judy, the nurse, the extremely intelligent nurse, got her head caught on some of the scripture we were reading, it went like this, the scripture:

(from the Bhagavad Gita as it is purport)
"There are different processes of religion and purificatory processes by cultivation of knowledge, meditation in the mystic yoga system, etc, but one who surrenders unto Krshna does not have to execute so many methods. The simple surrender unto Krisna will save him from unnecessarily wasting time. One can thus make all progress at once and be freed from all sinful reactions."

These words caught me, too, if the law of the Divine is so simple, why are there so many 'book's (ie; religions)? Why so many words to say the simplest of things; surrender to me and you will find enlightenment, happiness, fulfillment? Why are there holy wars about this simplest of statements? Why do we have to read and interpret ancient texts, in a bazillion languages in order to grasp this one concept? And, this was the question posed to the man who represented himself as the teacher of the Bhagavad Gita.....he could not answer the question with any confidence, he danced around, paused, mumbled, stumbled and reiterated a few phrases he'd already read to us from the Gita, but, did not clearly and or succinctly answer the question....and that's when the answer hit me, came to me as a slow dawning, while I was squinting my eyes and arching my one eyebrow at this man who was supposed to be my teacher....I was hearing my own heart give me the answer: As humans we are incapable of understanding such a vast concept of what the Divine's love is like that it takes many words, debates, even wars for us to sort out that concept, to surrender to the simplicity. We seek out icons, statues, beads, names, architecture, prophets, altars, pen to papers to find something that we can hold, touch, feel, SEE, in order to understand. And, I got that answer on my own, without a teacher.

I know my disappointment is judgemental. I am a judgemental person, although I strive not to be, I judge myself, continually, so, therefore, I tend to judge others...a grave sin, I know, it is something I pray about all the time...but, back to the experience with Bhagavad Gita study. I probably will not go back to the Hare Krishna's, I believe I've found some of the answers I have been seeking and like the prodigal son, I will more than likely return to the Catholic church on an as need basis and the the Evangelical church on an as need basis, blending what I have consumed in my reading with my experiences and pray and continue to find that Spiritual Enlightenment through lame attempts at meditation at the little altars I have scattered throughout my home. I inadvertantly lead my devoutly Evangelical Aunt to believe I was considering Bible college when I asked her where I could study Theology, guess I better let her know that I probably won't be signing up for that. Although, I am still very piqued by the whole Monastic life Monks lead, very mysterious to me....those are some people I would like to ask some questions of......

The real question I wanted to ask at Kirtan on Friday will probably never get answered, "why is Krishna always depicted blue?"

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