Religion: My Experience
My experience with religion was one of fear and control. "DO this or you will go to hell! Be quiet, obey and follow the scripture. Religious leaders know it all. What they say, is right. Period!"
I was raised in an islamic household and also attended an all girls catholic school for a a brief period. At home, prayer was compulsory. At school, if you don't say the Lord's prayer out loud you'll get disciplined by the teachers. When we attended the Friday prayer or listened to the sermon, our Creator was made to sound FEARFUL.
Why must I pray? Why fast? Why abstain from alcohol & drugs? Why no sex before marriage? Why why why? I had so many questions!
So when I moved to the UK, an opportunity presented itself for me to create a path of my own and so the journey began...
"...in the workings of the universe, there are signs for those who reflect".
The above quote describes my journey in a nutshell and in the video, I present my past self from my current self in the form of art.
After I moved out of the homeless shelter in London, I was caught up in the material world. I went about my usual business; school, career, relationship, social events, trips etc. I prayed morning and evening because it was part of my routine since childhood but something was missing and I felt empty. I even booked myself an appointment to get a surgical procedure done because I thought, "altering my body was what's missing". I was completely lost.
So I turned to a place that felt familiar and intimidating at the time, The Quran. This time, I looked at it from the perspective of an individual seeking answers. I did the same with Christianity & Buddhism. I even dived into Judaism. I became a student of thyself. Stripping away everything I was thought and starting from the ground up.
A page will never be enough to explain in detail how I find myself here. But as I began to unlearn everything I was thought, it felt like a veil was lifted. The fear of my Creator became one of love. The questions to my why's became crystal clear. I found peace, I feel a sense of love that is eternal and I finally found balance in everything I do.
The New You is The Old You without the veil from your past.
I came to the realisation that everything I was seeking lied within reach and within me. When I found my answers, I found me. It made me aware that I exist because I am a higher being made to function in my highest self, along with every other creation. With the understanding that, to love others, I must first love the person I see in the mirror and to help others, I must also help myself.
Here is what I say to my past self:
I have chosen a life of service and adventure.
I strive to achieve the best in life because I was not created to exist from a point of lack.
I am no saint and I do not wish to be perfect but I am now certain that I do not want to be any one else but myself and to continue the process of learning and growing.
I have not changed, I simply understand myself better and I found a connection to my Creator I never knew existed. One that is indescribable.
If I could offer a piece of advice it will be to not rely on google and the media to provide you with answers to the questions you seek. And to always have in mind that we live in a world where spirituality is has become a trend and a money making tool. Buying crystals, chanting om and doing mushrooms is not the solution. True spirituality is growth of the soul.
When people ask me what my 'religion' is, my answer is always the same:
In an age of information, I don't need a middle man to connect with my Creator.
Neither do I need to attach myself to a label in order to fit in, belong and identify with one community. How I to chose to worship my Creator is between my God and I.
I appreciate your time for reading all of the above and I hope this page provides clarity on all the questions you've sent me.
I would end this section with my favourite quote from the Holy Book: "it is not our eyes that are blind, but our hearts".