The gods themselves
That's me in the corner, that's me in the spotlight
I've never really had a religion, per se. I've had a few belief systems kicking around, and I spent my first three years in college looking to make sense of things, spiritually. I read the Bible, I started reading the Quran. I read the Gita, when I started learning about Hinduism, and I sort of attached myself to that sort of philosophy.

The knowledge that we are part of a massive cycle of death and rebirth--that if we do not accomplish spiritual enlightenment, we will be reincarnated to take another stab--is something that came to me in a flash, my junior year of college. It wasn't something I had to think about, or debate--I just knew that it was true. I still know that. It's been the other parts that I've had trouble fitting in to place.

When I swear, I still take Jesus's name in vain. And when I pray, I think I still pray to the Christian god. From personal experience I know that there is karma, and the kama-artha-dharma-moksha striving makes sense to me. I believe that the world is occasionally out of balance, and that by bringing it back into balance we help things get closer to godliness. But the gods themselves--Vishnu and Ganesh and so on--have never resonated with me, or spoken to me nearly as forcefully.

It's from this that I've come to the slow conclusion that I might not be a Hindu. I can respect many of the tenets of the religion--as indeed I can respect many of the tenets of Christianity, or Islam, or what have you--but the gods themselves remain absent. This is proving a difficult existential crisis to resolve. The resolution doesn't come with atheism--I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is something greater that orchestrates our pageant on this earth. Nor is it enough for me to say that I don't know. I'm not comfortable with not knowing.

My parents were never especially religious. My mother was raised Catholic, and I don't know about my father. Beyond Easter and Christmas, which everyone observes regardless of whether or not they literally believe in the birth and resurrection of Jesus, we celebrated Shinto festivals and dates. I suppose I can accept the idea of a multitude of spirits and demons; it explains a lot, actually. I'm just not sure it feels right to me. Shouting oni wa soto! may not have actually dispelled any oni, but in retrospect it was comforting. I wonder if that wasn't me being told something. Of course, maybe it wasn't.

Not having a rock upon which to rest one's faith is, in point of fact, immensely troubling. It isn't a simple thing, or a transient problem. Indeed, it's something of a crisis. But who knows what to do?

-Alex
La Chevre
26.07.2008 - 3h09

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