Thursday, May 21, 2009
Meeting God outside the mosque
Just a couple of months ago I thought that my spiritual journey ended with finding love. Little did I know it was just another part of the path towards enlightenment.
After travelling through the Buddhist temples in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong as well as Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity and the Vatican City, I fell in love with a Muslim and discovered Islam.
For me this was a strong push back towards the moral values that I was taught as a child and proceeded to throw out the door when my parents got divorced. It's really not that easy to find a genuinely good man in this world and I felt like I could finally be myself again.
I really like religion although the politics and propaganda of religion disgusts me. Yet simply following spiritual practices is not really substantial enough and I had been feeling for a while that I need to make some solid decisions on my religious status.
Being faced with a very religious partner was a good enough reason for me to do some soul searching and be truly honest with myself in this matter for the first time in more than ten years.
I have a curious nature and I like to find things out for myself much rather than being told. So I read books and had many arguments with people of strong faith in different powers. I prayed a lot and asked for guidance without really being sure whether this God that I am praying to is really the same God for everyone.
The mosque in Abu Dhabi looks like a mirage from a distance, through the dust. It's the second largest mosque in the world after the one in Mecca. I anticipated going inside and having a similar sense of peace that I experienced before in cathedrals and temples around the world. Instead we arrive just a little too late for the strict non-Muslim visiting hours and get turned away.
This was the tipping point for me after grappling with many issues for a while - being shown away from an Islamic holy place to which I travelled willingly. I felt rejected by Islam even before I had the chance to accept or reject it myself. That's it, I thought, I would never be good enough for this.
In the end spirituality remains a very personal thing but I can say today with confidence that I live a life without boundaries in the love of God. I don't have to earn my way into any church or any heaven and I don't have to feel inferior for just being me.