Friday, January 8, 2010

A virus called Guilt

Isn’t religion supposed to be Personal!!!

يجب ان لا يكون الدين وسيلة للسياسة

Religion is a peaceful place where I don’t want to feel guilty about being myself. I was born and raised Catholic till I turned 26. In my mid twenties I met this wonderful Jesuit priest from Holland who changed my life, my belief system, my childish faith. He taught me how to meditate, how to be silent and listen, even Yoga. He made me question things, challenged me to think, liberated me from all the guilt that the church fed me through the various religious organizations I was member of.

I’m now 36 and I couldn’t feel any happier with the inner peace I have. I’m not saying I figured it out, I’m open to learning more. Do I necessarily seek it? not really, do I try to spread it? absolutely not. Where I come from, it’s a taboo to say I was this and now I’m that. And even here in the US my experience around people with the same background has been kind of harsh. When in social circles people ask me about my religion (which is not a very polite question to start with) and I answer that I used to be Catholic, I’m still under the Christian umbrella but I don’t practice anymore, I get all kind of reactions that are mostly negative and judgmental, I will not get into that but I will say that with all the negativity, I’m still at a very peaceful place.

I wrote a song about what I believe in, the song is ironically called “I’m a believer” when according to religious people I’m not.  And no matter what I believe in,  the purpose of my song is not to spread my personal agenda, it's a peaceful song that tells us to get along no matter what our belief system is.

I have so many theories on religion, but the one I like to follow the most is calling my religion “Humanity” and it’s the way we treat each other, being merciful, none-judgmental, forgiving, none-judgmental, loving, none-judgmental, open minded and none-judgmental.

Well, the fact that certain religions teach their followers that unless you’re this and that, you won’t go to heaven, is full of ignorance. If you say it's the journey that really makes the difference, why are you so caught up in the destination. Heaven is here and there, we're all going to heaven, some will arrive before the others, some are already there, and they're not necessarily Dead. Look back and reflect on the hidden agenda behind most wars, and in so many cases the real reason of the war, look today and find for yourself how much wasted energy lots of religions are putting to spread more of their belief and still not getting it, they won't win, look at the killing in the name of God and how some religions consider it more than legitimate with heavenly rewards. No one is going to win, no one, wonder why? because people select their religion or inherit theirs and stick to it, it's got a format so strong that goes through your veins to a point where backing up will get you real bad, shrewd virus called Guilt.

I will love you no matter what religion is, through the way you treat me, the way you carry yourself, the way you treat others. I will love you if you love yourself and embrace yourself, whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and even Atheist, just keep your belief in the background. It's your personal preference, don't feel obligated to spread what you believe in the name of God, because you're spreading it in the name of man, the man who wants everyone to believe what he believes. I had an Atheist uncle whom I adored, he said he doesn't believe in God, but through the unconditional love he gave everyone around him, God was present whether he liked it or not. Some things are out of our control, Is Love God or is God Love? we don't have to label everything

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Comfort Zone

They say that "Knowledge" empowers. So I work everyday on getting one step closer to what I aspire, wish and dream about, by learning more. However I feel that the more I learn the more I’m overwhelming myself and the further away I'm getting. I come to discover with that "Knowledge" there's always more to do and more to learn. I hate to admit it, but also it makes me feel there’s a right way of doing things, not a random way of experimenting. That right way, though requires more efforts, boosts your self confidence to do it again and again without doubting your system.
I have decided to give writing a shot. I don’t know what I’m going to be writing about, I’m not a professional writer and English is my second language. So I guess I will write every week for the next 52 weeks about a different experience or feeling. I will expand on that and be as truthful, transparent and authentic as I can be, then send it out there to the world. Maybe someone somewhere will connect to it, after all, feelings are universal even though experiences vary.

Why do I write? I decided to write a blog once a week after I watched the movie "Julie and Julia" and also because of the encourageing responses for my annual email that I send out to all of my friends and family. So my commitment is to write about one thing every week, religiously. It’s my goal for 2010
So starting with this one as the first weekly blog, I wanted to call it comfort zone for a reason. When I reflect on my past, I notice that every time I move forward a step or two, every time I experience a divine experience, it always involves initially some resistance, hesitation, and coming up with all excuses that I should not do it. However I end up pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and in most cases I end up having the time of my life. I like to push people too, yes I have been called pushy. After my trip to London for a week, I find myself encouraging people to travel alone and explore the world without waiting for someone to travel with them. Of course travelling with company is fun, but sometimes your vacation schedule doesn’t match those you want to travel with. Do you sit down and wait? I hear all kind of objections to it, I ask “well how do you know it’s not for you if you never tried it?” and most people say, I simply know because I don’t like to travel alone, I don’t enjoy it. Yup, that used to be my answer too. London ended up as one of the most fun trips I have ever had.
My Comfort Zone would have kept me where I was 10 years ago, I left my hometown with so many doubts, to a country that I knew nothing about. It would have kept me at my first job as a bus boy, then a stuck boy, a carpet cleaner, a painter, a teller, a personal banker, a barista, a banking center manager. It would have kept me from launching my own business in teaching one on one my native tongue. And you do know why? Because comfort zone is cozy, it’s warm, it’s easy on the eyes, also on the ears. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable. And one thing for sure, “it will keep you where you are”. I don’t want to stay where I am, as much as I love routine and discipline, I like to move, not necessarily up, but to move in a different direction. Life is too short to stay at one place (and I don’t mean one place as in one apartment or city, I mean one place as in not moving on and learning and exploring more) so this is my new direction, writing