Unlocking Spiritual Confusion


A recent comment from one of my blog readers raised questions about the sincerity of my declared search for “religious” enlightenment” during our recent vacation to India. They suspected I was altering my religious stance perhaps because of the deadly presence of the Corona crisis. In the following story, I attempt to answer this critic with a revealing account about one young adult who might have similarly dealt with such a period of spiritual confusion.

Sam would often wonder how his life stood when it came to the subject of religion. Growing up as an only child, he deeply regretted that he never had a brother or sister to share with them his spiritual void. Knowing however, that his grandparents had immigrated to the United States from Germany in the early 1940s aroused his suspicion that his family connection to the oppressed Jewish faith there at the time seemed likely from a historical perspective. Yet throughout the course of his childhood and adult life, the subject of Judaism had never been discussed in his immediate family. Such secrets unshared in the face of this seemingly marathon period of religious confusion only intensified his curious demands to know more about his family’s religious past.

So it happened then on a lazy Sunday afternoon when Sam was busily putting up wallpaper in his mother’s living room, that she suddenly revealed to him a religious “bomb” that he was in fact a blood disciple of Jewish teachings. It shocked Sam further to see for the first time in his mother’s newspaper clippings notebook, some graphic images of German Jews living in tattered clothes with a prominent yellow badge labeled “Jude” pinned to their chests. One particular image that moved his emotions contained a struggling peddler carrying around a dusty bag in a war torn ghetto, obviously impacted by a viciously “Anti Semitic”island of Jewish shame. He then pondered how his grandfather most likely endured a similarly inferior fate as a Jew by the Nazi regime yet persevered to provide a worthy life for himself and his family.

So what conclusion might be drawn from Sam’s awareness of his grandfather’s crisis as a Jew and overseas escape from German persecution? One must realize the danger of allowing others to exploit the power of organized religion to define who we are as a person. So now my religious critic should know that my recent travels to India inspired new spiritual understandings on my “own terms” (not theirs) of life and death matters.

Have you ever experienced a similar time when your religious views were called into question? Could travel have helped you ultimately handle this situation? Why or why not?

Hindu Spirit Ascension

“A spirtually illumined soul lives in the world, yet is never contaminated by it.” (Swami Bhaskarananda, The Essentials Of Hinduism)

I’ve never been particularly enamored by faith-based tenets requiring me to submit myself to organized religion. For I have always embraced the power of finding my own path to right and wrong behavior in each passing moment. So as I explored my spiritual journey of “now” on our recent South India adventure, the fanatical devotion of followers to the Hindu faith seemed at first oddly strange and out of place. Yet as I continued my walks through the stunningly beautiful mazes of temple corridors, each subtle head nod, pleasing eye glance or gentle Buddhistic smile made me surprisingly realize that I had taken the rare step to reach outward of myself to obtain fresh spiritual guidance. I indeed seem mesmerized to this day by the sacred teachings of “Dharma” and “Karma”, the righteous path to Hindu ways.

Thus our recent South India journey has given me good reason to reconsider what best drives me spiritually these days. For Hinduism has shown me the critical need for practicing daily goodness to nourish my “inner soul. In this “trying” time of the Corona pandemic where so many struggle now to stay healthy and survive, I could certainly use such moral guidance. What places that you have visited in your life similarly evoke new ideas of spirituality in your life.”

At many temples I visited, curious Hindu followers crowded near me to humbly rejoice that I would be sharing my photographs for them to see soon.

Despite all the distractions of crowd noise and loud music from a Sunday service, this pious man seated outside the temple, remained determined to study his Hindu Scriptures.

I stared intently at God-like statues in every temple feeling a strong reverence toward Hinduism’s spiritual beliefs.

As I entered this great temple , I observed the welcoming presence of a Shiva- like figure overhead.

Daily offerings inside each temple provided evidence that Hinduism contains a strong spirit of giving.

Dance and music played a powerful role in entertaining holy gatherings in all of the temples I visited on weekends.

Why do these elephants sculpted along temple walls seem so friendly to others? Maybe only a Hindu would know!

Temple life provided a safe, quiet and clean haven for families/friends to bond away from the congested chaos existing in the nearby city. Contrast these two scenes.

Observe the exalted presence of this Hindu spiritual leader at the daily call to temple service .

When a call to Hindu temple prayer began, all eyes paid dutiful attention to the spiritual leader’s daily teachings.

Note: If you are interested in knowing the names of each of the temples described above, please let me know. Namaste


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