Finding Our Religion

One of the series that I enjoyed watching on Prime Video was The Path. Around the same time, I was enjoying reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. While the web series and the book are not connected, as a viewer and reader, I found a common theme. The inherent violent, rather competitive nature of man, the use of myths and stories to advance control over bands of people are timeless. Cognitive behaviors and social needs inherent in our genes are tools to further the misgivings and insecurities of humans leading to subjugation.

“…an imagined order is always in danger of collapse, because it depends upon myths, and myths vanish once people stop believing in them. In order to safeguard an imagined order, continuous and strenuous efforts are imperative. Some of these efforts take the shape of violence and coercion.”

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari 

Placing both the series and the book side-by-side, I could articulate the problem I perceive in any organized religion, movement, or cult. It is the concept that nonconformists are beyond redemption and need to be brought into the fold to be cured, saved, and protected. This thought leads to hatred, subjugation, divisiveness, a holier-than-thou attitude and eventually a thrust towards conversion. The same holds true in the political world.

Religion or spirituality has to be a personal experience. Till a religion teaches that the people on the other side of the fence are sinners requiring the intervention of its followers to cleanse them, that religion is teaching hatred and it cannot be a world religion. Can we identify any world religion today … None … Each one says unless you join my tribe of followers you are doomed! This is my reason for keeping away from organized faith of any sort.

Now the question is, why do leaders and preachers demand sole allegiance or conversion to a faith, calling it “The Path” to world peace or Eden or whatever. The first reason is self-aggrandizement, and the second reason is funding and fame. Money and ego are the root of all religious hullabaloo and power struggles. Sadly, followers of organized religion—as parents, teachers, social influencers—are propagating this same theory of hatred towards nonconformists in the younger generation. In politics, we are refusing to listen to the other viewpoint—nationalism is being equated with patriotism, and supremacists demand undivided ownership of privilege.

In a world steering towards hatred, when our generation had hoped for a New World Order for a unified flag, for spirituality, and peace, for love for nature, and a flourishing environment, we swiftly slipped into a sinkhole. The only good news we heard in some time was that the hole in the Ozone layer was finally healing. When I was a child, the depleting ozone layer seemed like the biggest bogeyman. Look around you now; every other person is threatening another for holding a different political ideology, for practicing a different faith, for being of another color or race.

I do not know how politics can be cleaned up but maybe we can start with religion because we are born into the religion of our families and introduced into its rituals and customs within the first week of our life on earth! What if we find a personal, unorganized religion; one that doesn’t condition young minds from the start, to look at people different from them with suspicion. What if we started a new religion of love and peace, in our homes, in our family of three, four, or five, and allowed our children to flourish in empathy and compassion!

I wonder if it’s possible or is our destiny set in stone on the foundation of myths and coercion, for Harari says, “… despite the astonishing things that humans can do, we remain unsure of our goals and we seem to be as discontented as ever.”

The Introvert Gene

As a loner, I have difficulty in connecting with people. I am the one you will see sitting alone in the cafeteria reading something or the one who refuses to take a walk in the park because there is a book or a craft waiting at home. I have few friends and I just don’t beam into a smile when seeing strangers/neighbours. I am cautious in my dealings and wary in my relationships.

At my new home, I haven’t as yet explored the entire space – the parks, the club, the pool! I look at people huddled in groups chatting away and I almost panic. I fear the small talk and the fake smiles, I fear the comparison or the show off, the condescending and the patriarchal, the overambitious or the downtrodden. I fear of being swamped by energies that I don’t need in my life. Maybe my fears make me lose out on some good contacts but then this is just me.

Continue reading “The Introvert Gene”

Memories of Another Time

Hope and Healing in 2021

The first week of January 2021 has gone by in a haze of fog and rain, and the demanding work desk; the political drama playing out this week provided social media with the ultimate newsbyte to keep the cold at bay (at least in the Northern hemisphere).

As a meme read – “If this is just a trailer for 2021, send me back to 2020”. But I beg to differ for I see that violence has not been victorious. I hope this remains the resounding message in global and domestic politics, throughout the year 2021 and beyond.

I still have hope that the younger generation and the people who are not yet dabbling in hate and divisive thought and rhetoric will help pull up humanity. Though, the amount of hatred and hurt we are seeing everyday is scary, to say the least. The world needs healing – from the hearts of men to the depths of nature. May 2021 see the healing begin!

Do Not Tarry!

Today, is the first day of work
In the most mysterious decade
A new year, waiting for respair;
My schedule is filled
The calendar overflows
So do the diary notes
The brain counting To-dos’
Demands to push oneself
More and more to fulfill
Ambitions, aspirations
Continue to race ahead,
For so say the big-wigs
Competition and corporates
Academies, colleges, and schools,
Innovate, accelerate, don’t stop yet
Rush to grab an opportunity
To make a mark; when actually
The biggest message of last year
Was to stand back and breathe
In the silence of our homes
The deep aroma of peace –
Deliberate, meditate, get insight
Are all the projections, worthwhile?
Then, the fateful year also taught
To be grateful for all we had
And so am I for a bulging diary
Thats calls out to me, do not tarry!

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