Recently I’ve come to find myself lacking something within me. I don’t want it to come across cliché but the truth is I find myself lacking faith. I don’t know what my connection to God is, and I can’t define it. But I can tell through seeing my patience become impatience, and the weakness I feel both mentally and physically, that it’s fading.
So when I heard a retreat to Bhaktivedanta Manor was being organised I thought, this is it. This is where I will find my faith again and strengthen my connection to God. I visited the Manor last year and I found it beyond beautiful.
Why didn’t I go? Firstly I couldn’t wake up for 6.30am. On the night before, I saw two people on the street from the bus I was on holding a sign saying “Smile. It’s free.” Something compelled me to jump of the bus and speak to them. That experience provoked thoughts throughout the night meaning I couldn’t really sleep and wouldn’t wake up. Saying that, part of me believes something in the instant I decided to get off the bus, and my encounter with them, was a flicker of faith.
Those two or three seconds I had to get off wasn’t enough for me to conjure up decision making thoughts. Logically, it made no sense, but there was a sense of purpose for doing so, even though at that time, I didn’t know what that purpose was. Looking back I see meeting the two, inspired me and I hope I helped them in some way too.
There were more reasons I didn’t go.
I told my Grandparents in India I’d write to them explaining what my new job is. Since starting that job I’ve not done this, despite the fact that I bought a card to write in (of which I’ve now lost). It’s not even slipped my mind, I’ve been knowing to do this for so long.
In January this year I travelled to Istanbul for an Islamophobia in the Media conference run by the Turkish government. I promised my mum I’d get her a postcard. I recall frantically running around the airport to make sure I got her one. I bought bookmarks too. Despite sticking to my promise, I never sent these things home. My mum doesn’t even know I bought them.
I also bought a postcard for my family when I went to Scotland for work. I never sent that one either.
I had an interesting relationship with my old accommodation provider- UNITE. Those who know me know. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t hold back in fighting to get my full deposit back. Luckily I didn’t have to in the end and they sent me two cheques.
I’ve not banked them. My mum has to keep reminding me.
Finally, it was Diwali last week- essentially the Hindu new year. When my mum visited me in London recently she brought down my Indian clothes for me to wear if I was to do anything for it. It was quite gutting for me as it is most years as I didn’t do anything for it – I’m not really close enough to anyone within my faith to do so. So to me, I didn’t feel a connection to the festival, it was just another day. I’ve realised I’ve still spoken to some of my family to say Happy Diwali.
Upon reflection I realise there are two elements to each of these little things. One is my intentions. The other is my actions – or should I say lack of.
One who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.
I bought the cards but didn’t send them. I intended of challenge to make sure I got my deposit back, but I’ve not banked them.
But mostly I realised how my loss of connection to God may be linked to the lack of action on my part especially with the ones I hold close to my heart – my family.
So last night, before I fell asleep, I made a conscious decision not to go to temple but to fix-up. I sent a letter to India, I found the bookmarks wrote the postcards, I banked the cheques and I rang family members. Another thing, recently I made some small but stupid decisions. I know something within me wouldn’t’ve felt right if I were to go to temple without attempting to right those wrongs, so today I took actions to rectify these.
Have I reaffirmed my faith? Honestly speaking, no. But I’m ok with that. It’s not that simple and I wouldn’t expect nor believe it should be. But what I have learnt, is for me the temple is not the place to go for salvation but a place for me to go in gratitude. One day, you may find me there admiring it’s beauty, but until then I’ll be sorting things out, from the little things to the big things.