Monday, April 5, 2010

52CP14: Honoring Faith

First I must apologize for how late I am in posting this week's challenge - frantic week, out of town yesterday, and my day deteriorated rapidly today, causing delays all around. I'm so sorry!

As I was mulling over what I wanted to post, I thought maybe something to do with Easter, but then I thought that this might exclude those who do not follow the Christian faith. This time of year is also when those of the Jewish tradition observe Passover, and Spring has traditionally been a time of celebration for pagans in regards to fertility and renewal. Seeing as there are so many diverse celebrations, I thought it fitting to expand a bit.

My thoughts turned to religion/faith in general, and how many different paths there are to find spiritual enlightenment. Some consider Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, some follow the teachings of Buddha, some choose Mother Earth as their deity, some choose to omit any kind of "god" from their beliefs. A few things came to mind as I was mulling this over.

I have - and love - a remarkable book about a remarkable young girl named Anna. The book is "Mister God, This is Anna", written by Fynn. Anna had the amazing ability to take something she had learned in one area and apply it to other, seemingly unrelated, things. One such instance is an observation she made about religion after learning about music theory. She stopped in the middle of a game of hopscotch to tell Fynn, "We're all playing the same chord."

In music, the name of the chord you're playing depends on where you started, as in which key you're in. There are several different names for the same placement of fingers on a keyboard, for example. As Anna saw it, those who took the evidence of God and arranged it one way called themselves Protestants, those who took the same evidence and arranged it a different way called themselves Muslims, and so on, but it was the same evidence and the same deity, just a different label for the same "chord".

I had a similar "a-ha" moment one afternoon while watching leaves swirl by me on a little stream. One leaf went around a rock protruding from the water on the side nearer to me, one leaf went around the rock on the farther side, but they both ended up at the same place downstream.

One thing I found to be alarmingly inaccurate was a billboard that proclaimed, "A world at prayer is a world at peace." How many crusades, jihads, or other "holy wars" have been waged, with each side convinced that God was on their side?

My hope this week is to introduce the thought that there is room enough for all beliefs, and we need to honor those who follow a different path than our chosen one. I think it is beneficial - and even advisable - to discuss various theological questions with those of another faith in order to flesh out our own belief and come to an understanding of theirs. A poem that I found expresses this:


I would not interfere
with any creed of yours,
or want to appear
that I have all the cures.

There is so much to know,
so many things are true...
The way my feet must go
may not be best for you.

And so I give this spark
of what is light to me,
to guide you through the dark,
but not to tell you what to see.

Author Unknown

Another thought I wanted to share with you is the concept of "Namaste". This is a word of Sanskrit origin used as a greeting between Hindus. They place their palms facing together and bow their heads as they greet each other with the spoken greeting, as "a gracious form of extending friendship in love, respect and humility", as Subhamoy Das relates. He also defines it as a recognition "that the life force, the divinity, the Self or the God in me is the same in all," and states that the real meeting of people is the meeting of their minds. In one of my trainings years ago, my Reiki master explained it as "The God in me sees the God in you. When I come from that place, and you come from that place, you and I are one."

As another addition to my inspiration board, and a reminder to keep an open mind and heart regarding my beliefs and those of others, I opted to make a little "Namaste" plaque:

I printed out the word on my computer (Mystic Prophet font), then cut a frame from a DCWV Old World stack and a mat from cardstock. I used my Krylon gold-leafing pen to outline the letters and edge the frame.

And that's our "pickup" for this week! What will you create to honor where others might be on their path? How will you gain tolerance, understanding and acceptance of beliefs that differ from your own? Here's Mr. Linky:


Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

Thank you for this wonderfully thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I have always felt the same way in regard to other religions - that we are all worshiping the same loving, creative life force of the universe. It is sad to me that so much hatred and violence has taken, and still takes, place in the name of "religion". I don't know if I will have a chance to make a card for your challenge this week, but I wanted to leave a comment of appreciation.

Beverly Gotthardt said...

You are one deep thinker girl, and you express your thoughts very well. Thanks for your continuing thought provoking challenges.

Sue C said...

Thank you for your kind thoughts, Linda and Beverly! I appreciate the feedback. It's especially nice since we still have so few 'players' here - it helps me renew my enthusiasm for continuing...