In the World Religion class that I'm currently taking, we had to write a paper that was loosely related to a topic we had been discussing in class. We recently started a unit on Hinduism. I had never noticed the influence this religion has had on my own personal faith until I started reading more about it and comparing it to my own life. I've always had a very unique view on religion and faith, so I figured I'd post a bit of my paper on here to give a little insight into my own beliefs. I try to view the world with an open mind, and I give respect to all faiths and opinions. I just hope all readers of this excerpt will do the same. This is only a small portion of my personal beliefs, and I invite anyone to ask me more about my spirituality. I'm not ashamed of it, and I'm honestly developing it more and more each day. So here you go:
I was raised with a semi typical Christian background. For many years my knowledge of religion and faith was solely based on what my parents told me. Around the age of fourteen I began to become very interested in other parts of the world, and other forms of faith. The more different the views were from my own, the more interested I seemed to be in them. As I got older, and my knowledge of other faiths and areas of the world grew, so did my views of religion and spirituality. I went from having very strict Christian ideals, to much more liberal views of faith. Instead of focusing on a specific religion, I started to focus more on my internal spirituality. Today, instead of claiming one particular religion as my own, I tend to draw aspects from many faiths to create my own individual kind of spirituality. Some small parts of Hinduism have ended up in my custom made spirituality.
I have long believed in the Hindu concept of karma. It is the idea that every action has a consequence. It is the belief that we shape our own lives, and we are actually shaped by our actions. I don’t believe in reincarnation, so my idea of karma is certainly different from that of traditional Hinduism, but the basic ideas of it fit well within my lifestyle. I think a part of being human is having the hope that if we do good things, we will be rewarded for them. Hindus try to live a good life to ensure a good reincarnation in their next life, with the ultimate goal of reaching Nirvana. Christians try to live a good and moral life in hopes of attaining eternal life in Heaven. Both faiths also believe that if a person lives a bad and immoral life, they will be punished. In Hinduism a person can be reincarnated as an animal or insect. If someone lives a sinful life in Christianity, they will be punished with an eternity in Hell. So even though both faiths have a lot of differences, they are also quite similar.
I have quite recently taken up meditation, which can be a large aspect of the Hindu faith. When meditating, I’m not trying to obtain an altered sense of consciousness. I am however, trying to clear my mind, and center myself. Daily stresses can get people out of alignment mentally and spiritually. I try to take ten or fifteen minutes, on as close to a daily basis as possible, to sit in silence and reflect on my day. In this short span of time, I feel like I obtain mental clarity as well as spiritual clarity. Some people to pray to feel closer to God, meditation is like a form of prayer to me. With a clear head, I feel like I’m more receptive to any divine messages that could have been missed during my hectic day.
I don't claim to be a Hindu, nor do I claim to be an expert on this form of faith. These are just two small examples of how this religion has become a little piece of my life. Like I mentioned earlier, there are so many other aspects to my personal beliefs. They certainly couldn't all be summed up in one blog post. Perhaps I'll post more about my own spirituality in the future.
I have a challenge for you: Be open to learning more about people that have different beliefs than you. You don't have to convert to a new religion, but maybe you'll learn more about yourself in the process.
Lindsey. Twenty-Five. Currently pursuing a degree in Professional Writing & Film Studies.