You can’t choose where inspiration comes from and the inspiration for this post came while watching Shahs of Sunset on Bravo. The show is composed of Persian men and women who are Jewish and Muslim living in Los Angelas as friends going through this life with all its struggles and blessings. The particular situation that gave rise to this blog came when they all were on a trip to Isreal and decided to pray at the Wailing Wall. I became very emotional as I tend to when I see any holy site and people engrossed in the energy that resides in each space. What saddened me were two instances where the welcome sign seemed to not be present. It just blows my mind when anyone who feels they are a child of their faith and spiritual wouldn’t accept others for reasons in my mind that have no basis. So I’m writing this to say, ” I am a child of Spirit, we are children of the Divine,” and I now want to explain why I feel the way I do.
The first instance that hurt my spirit was one of the cast members, who is Jewish, commenting it was disrespectful for the other cast member, who is Muslim, to pray at the wall. From my understanding, many people of different faiths go to this holy site to give reverence to the energy that is present. I could only surmise because of the long and bloody history between Jewish and Muslim people, his comments came from that hurt and pain carried from generation to generation. With Iran stating the country( the leadership not all the citizens to be very clear) would like to bomb Isreal, I do understand having a heightened sense of pride in being Jewish at a site that is so important to them. What helped calm my spirit was when a regular citizen responded to the comment saying the wall was for all people of humanity. I was unable to hold in my emotions because I felt the sincerity in his words. Later in the scene, another cast member who is Muslim commented how she was overwhelmed with emotions to see Christians, Jewish, and people of many faiths praying together, and how she felt her ancestors with her in that moment. This is my feeling for all spiritual places because I have a different perspective on religion than many others.
The second instance that hurt my spirit came when another Muslim cast member decided not to participate in prayer at the wall. She made comments about it just being a wall that I can’t fault her for due to not knowing where she is on her own spiritual journey. Not everyone is ready to be a child of Spirit, a child of the Divine. And she might be very much a child of spirit within her Muslim faith, but what saddened me wasn’t her, but another citizen seeing her, feeling she was not Jewish and calling her names based on her Muslim faith. It will always strike me as contrary to any faith when someone goes so nasty in the name of the Divine. This person, I imagine was there to pray at the wall like everyone else, and to tarnish his own experience, as well as forsake the energy of love and positivity that was available to him to slant someone else really hurt my spirit. Why do we do this? We go to our places of worship and spew hate, and in some cases destroy them.
I feel the episode was a great teaching experience for those who are tuned to that energy. When I say I am a child of Spirit it is because I truly feel all religions are one. I’ve always felt the separation was due to culture and language that was before our time. Because of national pride and ethnic pride, many people just decide if it’s not familiar it’s wrong. They decide if it didn’t’ come from my people then it can’t be true and must in no way be similar to my life and beliefs. Many of this is done without any research or study to prove their mindset, and often times is due to the small changes that are mostly due to culture than it is due to an actual separation from the same Divine energy I feel all religions are pooling from.
I hear often people using the phrase, “you can’t serve more than one master.” I find it an odd statement because I don’t feel like I’m serving anyone per se. I feel like the Divine energy flows through us, calling us to serve everyone with love and compassion. I feel when we put things above us, we are diminishing the Divine because we are Divine and created from the Divine. It could still be me asserting my pride and serving my Ego to not feel the need to bow to a creator but I still understand that power and instead feel we should be walking with the Divine learning and showing what we have learned by how we treat ourselves and others. I put “ourselves” first because I have learned by putting other first, we are not serving them well because the foundation, which is us, isn’t at its best. I’ve said before, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself, especially if the intent is to better serve others.
When I say I am a child of Spirit, I am a child of the Divine, I purposefully am not speaking of a specific deity. That separation is what brings strife and destruction, and in my mind takes us further away from the Divine energy we hope to infuse with. I don’t mind being wrong on this point and having others disagree calling me disloyal to my chosen faith which is Buddhism. What I love about Buddhism is I don’t feel I have to make such a defined line in the sand. I follow the precepts, study the Dharma and from my own stuff see only the requirement that I move with love and compassion in all things I do. I am still a novice lay person, but I trust the path I’m on and if information moves me to a different understanding, then I will accept that and continue on.
I don’t feel a sharing of thoughts and ideas needs to be hostile or combative. I encourage anyone with thoughts on the matter to comment below, but I do ask you to remember the basis of love and compassion I know to be in all religions of the world. Like with the star and share on your social media site.
Be a child of spirit, a child of the Divine.