As usual in all my posts, in whatever I write, my own experiences are used as reference to teach and also show the way or make a point. Often times I let you into my thoughts and you will know exactly how I am feeling even when writing these posts every morning. My concerns are many, and one of them is keeping with the theme of Embracing Spirituality. I am very spontaneous by nature and although in my life there is no conversation a person can have with me without me seeing, assessing, or speaking of the spiritual value or spiritual connotation of whatever the discussion is, so I thought it befitting to write upon such a subject. What is Spirituality? Spirituality is the ability to find the presence and essence of God in all things alive and for some people, inanimate. Spirituality is sacred geometry, signs, symbols, language, accessing your inner being and higher self, tapping into your consciousness and stretching your human limitations mentally and physically beyond what is of supposition to be normal. Spirituality is God, not religion, but God as he manifests to you and relates to your life. Spirituality is finding and realizing your true self and potential, having the mental discipline it takes to embrace all which is innate, nurture it, hold it, experience it, flow with it, own it and eventually share it.
People seek all sorts of spiritual experiences often. Some experiment with meditation, some with fasting, others make their sojourn to spiritual places in other countries, or where they reside and to them they feel fulfilled when meeting the Dali Lama, or the Pope, or the Araba of Ile Ife (Where Orunmila of the Ifa/Orisha traditional practice build his house), or to Mecca as Muslims do, and also to Ethiopia for the Rastaman. Whenever there is a book on spirituality and it is endorsed by Oprah, the shelves are empty in a day. People more and more are waking up to their spirituality and becoming more aware. In times gone by the object and focus of our spirituality was in finding out who or what is God and the answers came through religion, for most. Religion captured the minds of many who needed something to bind their faith with. Preachers, Pastors, Bishops, Imams, the Pope, the Dali Lama, Sai Baba and others became man Gods in the eyes and hearts of willing worshipers. The thirst for a connection to the divine was so powerful that even though for some, it was worth every penny they had, as long as they could claim their God and find solace in him.
Often times you will find people greeting you with “Namaste” which is a Hindi word derived from the Sanskrit and a part of the meaning is “I bow to you.” In the tradition of Ifa/Orisha we greet each other with “Aboru Aboye Abisese (abuh- ruh, abo-yay, abi-shay-shay), which means “may the sacrifice which is given manifest and is accepted in heaven.” Hotep, which is a peace greeting used mainly by African Americans as well as others, the word itself stems from Egypt formerly known as Kemet. Also Salaam alaikum, which is used by Muslims in their salutations. The need to finding your spirituality is growing and as the Earths vibration rises, which it is doing now, we are shifting into the fourth dimension, a slow process but we are getting there. Many people are finding the need to understand more about life and themselves from a spiritual perspective, deeper than the church. Gone are the days when people were afraid to admit that they had a reading, for fear of the bible beating Christians, or the chastisements of the Imams or even worse the parents. People are waking up to what our ancestors knew in times gone by. Many are no longer glamoured by the the distractions of life which bares no fruit but are on a mission to “un-indoctrinate” themselves, free their minds, re-evaluate their thoughts, on what they were born into as way of religion and religious thoughts and teachings, dogmas and texts.
I was born into Christianity, and so I grew with Jesus and the twelve disciples. The Garden of Eden Story, although it made no sense to me, was one that I told my children as I had them, although by this time I had began to see beyond the bible and all the stories there, after reading them over and over again they seemed to contradict themselves and most did not ring true to me. I convinced myself then that these stories were metaphors and used to teach us about God and his son and how we should live and love. I read the bible day in and day out, fascinated by the stories but more so in love with the benevolent Christ. I never saw myself as a woman in the pages of this great book being born with the strength, love and compassion which I knew I had, because to me the Bible suggested that women were wicked and evil. There was the very stupid and salacious Eve, then there was the eternally evil Jezebel (I love the name actually, such a sweet name but the story attached to it would never make you dare to be called so), then there was Lots wife, the Whoring Bathsheba, the wicked Delila (love dah name deh tuh), Lilith, the she demon Adam’s first wife (she was taken out of the bible), Mary Magdalene the prostitute, Salome, King Herod’s Daughter, Potiphars wife among others.
I saw a common theme and that was to bastardize women, belittle them and make them seem worthless, wicked and evil. The Koran did the same thing, although not as harsh as the Bible because I looked there also. Upon my search for me, a woman, within a text marked as holy and dedicated to a God who loved us all, I could not find the love, and care that was to be ours, the mothers, the womb, we represented life, but for Mary mother of the Christ, what I found instead were women who were used, and abused, chastised, and despised, found guilty of setting a curse upon her fellow women as in Eve and her wanton ways. In the Bible women were responsible for the sins of men, I could not accept that. In church I found no love (people, I am speaking of my own experience, do not condemn me for my truth), none, only hypocrisy, jealousy and hatred and I struggled to leave. This was all I knew, Christianity, and I thought that anything without Jesus being apart of it was hell and damnation, blaspheme. I wrestled with my faith which I was born into and sense, natural good common sense, in the end sense won and I freed myself from the shackles and constrictions of religion (remember ALL RELIGIONS ARE VALID AS LONG AS IT TEACHES PEACE AND LOVE, but that is not to say that one has to be beholden to only one particular doctrine). It almost mad mi, I was jarred into a reality I had never known! I stepped away from my religion, something which no other in my family had ever done before. I looked to Africa and took a leap of faith. What sent me to church and becoming baptized, other than being born into Christianity, was a message when times were rough for me emotionally. The message was “Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God And All His Righteousness, And All These Things Shall Be Added Unto You” Matthew 6:33. I was a hairstylist, and I had been having a horrible time with the children’s father and almost all my costumers would come in and while doing their hair they would repeat that verse to me, they had no idea of my torment at home, but they left me with that message. When I left Jamaica I prayed the night before and promised God that I would return to him and to the church once I had settled in America because I did not know what would meet me there. I told God that I did not even know if they had Churches there and I begged him to release me and watch over me for soon I would find him again.
So when these messages came, I remembered my promise and returned to the church. I was told in a dream to go to a revival church, and I found one and decided to get baptized. I was the youngest of 24 people to be baptized and in the Revival/Zion churches, before they bring you to the river or Ocean for baptism, they do what is called ‘Tarrying”, where they sing and dance in the church all night. In the morning before six the church buses would load up and we would go to the water side for baptism. The night I prepared for my church, for the tarrying, as I dressed I noticed a Bee flying around my room. When I was in church, the Bee buzzed around me, not quite sure it was the same Bee, on my way to the water the Bee buzzed by my ear on the bus and I told my water mother, (elderly women of the church who were appointed to each person, to care for them who was being baptized), and she flashed it away but it went no where. I was the first to enter the water and as I came out into the loving arms of my water mother who wrapped me in a towel I felt a sting on my right hand, the Bee had stung me and it bled, but he left no sting on my hand and I saw him hover just above my head as my water mother covered the blood and soothed me. When I went home, tired because of the whole tarrying and baptism, as I settled down to sleep, I saw on my left hand a very small creature (this was like being in a vision), the creature was tiny and had the shape of a sea shell but he spoke with a Barry White voice. He said to me “let me bite you”, I replied “hell no.” He said, “just a small bite on your left hand it will hurt less than the Bee sting, but this what I want to do to you I must” and as I was about to protest I felt a sting on my left arm which woke me from my sleep, but the pain in my arm was real and so I looked to see my arm swollen, the flesh was raised and pulsating, I had been bitten. I called the pastor and told him about the Bee which stung the right arm and the creature which bit the left. He told me that I had a very special road to walk in life and what I did (the baptism) was the beginning of my journey, he told me I must take care as I will be taken very far on my journey and be made privy many things but where ever I went he was happy to have met me.
I did go far on my journey. I still have the marks on both hands, I know now who the Bee was and what the creature also represented. It was a hard journey into finding my spiritual path, the half of it I have yet to share. It is important for us all in finding our truth based upon our beliefs and who we are. It is important that we not conform to the will, or manipulations of others upon our quest for knowledge or our search for whatever we seek, but follow your head, and allow yourself to be guided by your faith and trust in God. It is important for you to release any and all hang ups and to delve into texts and your studies with an open mind, to be objective in your views of others and never judgmental. Art imitates life and so objects, monuments, paintings, sculptures and nature, can also guide you as you travel along life’s way.
There are messages everywhere and wisdom will open your eyes to them, pray for wisdom. Wisdom is a wary companion, it disguises itself and often shadows you and hovers above. It is very choosy in whom it keeps company with and it has no patience with frivolities. Wisdom does not discriminate in race, age, color or creed, Wisdom is within every culture and awaits us to call it forth, yet it makes the choice of whether to come. It admires patience, Wisdom admires a studious person, here he will teach and share and bring along his close friends and constant companions, knowledge and understanding. Finding your spirituality is easy but keeping up with it takes discipline, endurance, concentration, openness, love, patience, faith, trust, dedication, peace, acceptance and balance. All these are are very hard to be present at the same time in the same room, but it is not impossible, if you are a true aspirant. It is not impossible if you so desire to… it is not impossible.
Ní tútù là ńká ẹja kò; ẹja gbígbẹ ò ṣeé ká. /
Fish may be bent only while fresh; dried fish cannot be bent (without breaking)….Yoruba Proverb!
[Issues are better resolved while simple; complex issues, can be difficult to resolve.]
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love…Obara Meji
You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.