As an Indian, we are born with a great gift: the understanding that God exists. It is not something that is questioned like in the western world. It is simply an understanding we have. Until I came to Canada, I had never heard of the term ‘atheist’. Upon finding out about it I was kind of shocked. The fact that a human could exist without understanding of God puzzled me. I had never heard of anyone who did not believe in God. People around me always thanked God for their existence and everything they had in life. There are even celebrations of God at night that the whole town celebrated. They were called Jagrata. So in my childhood, I had never even thought that you could possibly exist without God. God was so finely ingrained into my life that in my most difficult times, I often talked to God and prayed.
I was very little when I started talking to God in my mind. I often prayed as well, for my family, for my relatives and for the rest of the world, like my grandfather had taught me. I feel that God is in my roots. It is not something I can possibly take out of my life. In addition to me going to the temple everyday, our family was also very attached to Anandpur Sahib (a sacred Sikh temple). We often went there every year on Hola Mahalla (a festival). Moreover, we have a spiritual place in our own family in the town my grandfather used to live in. It is believed that our family’s ancestors meditated in that location. That location is preserved and we always go there as soon as we arrive in India. The point is religion and spirituality are deep rooted into our family. It’s like we are born into an energy so pure that none of us possibly can drift away from it. We are chosen for very very tough battles in life and we always conquer them. I think it’s a blessing. You can run away from God but God never runs away from you. How can you possibly get rid of something so deep-rooted?
Although childhood passed in going to the temple, praying, speaking to God and distributing God’s offerings to others, teenage was not that great. It involved questioning the existence of God. “If God exists, why am I suffering?” This worsened in early adulthood until I finally concluded this crisis with the most important lesson of my life: “God is always with you. Even in the most toughest times, he’s watching you grow.” But those years were difficult. God was something I always had by my side and now I had taken that friend away from me. Now I was truly alone. I felt lost and just directionless. But something somehow remained within me. Praying. I always kept praying no matter what I believed. I felt like someday my wishes would come true.
Eventually in my later years as an adult, I accidentally started meditating. With meditation I realized that what I wish for won’t happen unless I do something. Yes, God is there and he cares for me but I am the one who has to make life happen. God is without form and I am the one in a form – the human form. I am the one who can make things happen. I later even saw the power of God in one of my meditations which strengthened the understanding that no matter what I am going through in life, God is always right by my side. In fact, not just God, everyone I have ever met is always with me. This brought in me a stronger understanding that I am never alone in my life. Not even for a single second. I feel that any emptiness that I felt in life was there because I had walked away from God. I had started questioning its existence, but maybe because of my family background, I had to return to God. There was just no better way. I had lived without him and with him and the only time I felt complete in myself was when I felt that God has my back. I feel that there is absolutely no path without God and that the path I am walking on is selected by God. I feel that there is a fate selected by God but you, as a human being, have the power to change it. I feel that we can only realize our true powers when we walk in his command and not our own. By that I don’t mean that you should follow the religious rules, no. I mean that whatever life throws at you, accept it, because that is what God chose for you at that moment. When you start accepting what you have been given with wide arms, better doors will open. Because regardless of whether we are going through a good time or a bad time, God is watching us and is trying to teach us something. We have to listen to that and go through what has been chosen for us. And yes, there will be lessons, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, but for some reason I feel that God is basically always steering us into the right direction. We fall, we learn to be careful, then something bad happens and we become way too careful, and then something happens again and we learn that we can’t over-protect ourselves. It’s a cycle until we get it right. We have to learn to stop somewhere in the middle and become balanced with all factors of life, and the good news is that God guides us through that by giving us tests. We don’t have to pass all those tests but we should try to accept all of them with love. That is my story as it relates to God. I think the journey of believing in something without form is beyond what a mind can understand, however, only by believing in what we cannot see or touch can we truly understand the true magic of the universe.
What is your relationship like with God? Do share.