I think I may have found my spiritual home.
In the last year I have been drawn to the poetry of Rumi; the acclaimed Sufi poet from the 13th Century. My heart has been so thirsty for so long, his words are like a balm for me; wrapping me in their warmth and giving me hope.
The spirituality that he aspired to is inclusive of all people and the Sufis believe there are many paths to God. I believe in this so strongly at this point in my life, as I know many good people who are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Agnostics and Atheists. I find it hard to believe that the compassionate and merciful God I know would condemn these people just because they were born into a family practising a different faith.
Underlying Sufism is the belief that we are all connected and that we should be more concerned with self-examination rather than being preoccupied with judging the behaviour of others. I know very little about Sufism, but from what I have read, according to the Sufis; a person who doesn’t know and love him/herself is a danger to others. This is another truth that I have experienced first hand. There are so many people who are walking around with wounded souls, their inner children unhealed. These people are hurting and in turn they hurt themselves and others. The Sufi way calls for people to look deep within themselves and know themselves. This has been my journey for the past year. Before embarking on this inward journey, I denied my own truth and refused to believe that my father had sexually abused me as a little girl. Until I faced this truth, I couldn’t know myself and was not authentic in my interactions with others. I wanted to prove myself good and worthy always. I know now that I am loveable and worthy just as I am and this essence of beauty has been unchanged despite everything that has happened.
I have just finished reading Elif Shafak’s ‘The Forty Rules of Love’ and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for words that will soothe and heal. This book is about the friendship between Shams of Tabriz and Rumi in the thirteenth century and it is about divine love. In this book it talks about how our perceptions of God change as we grow in self-love.
Growing up, I was taught that God was a punishing, angry God, it was all about punishment and the fire of hell. There were strict rules and everything was black and white. Good and bad and wrong and right were the order of the day. At the same time God was supposed to be the most forgiving, most compassionate and most merciful. The two God qualities are clearly at odds with each other. With the life experience that I now have and the self-love that I am cultivating, I see God in a different way. Some would call it blasphemy! But I do believe that God doesn’t need me to praise him all day or follow rituals blindly! He loves me and knows all that I have been through and understands me and everyone else who he has created.
My purpose is to live in the present moment and be the best version of myself.
I leave you with these beautiful words that have warmed my heart