I was not always spiritually connected even though the general education system tried to shove religion teachings to its students. I’d say it wasn’t effective because why else, but the lack of spirituality and self-recognition, did I go into a long phase of depression?
I was brought up with Islamic teachings albeit not in a very religious household, dare I say. We did all the necessary rituals such as fasting and celebrating Eid because society dictates them. But I don’t remember ever being forced to pray, which is the more, if not the most, important spiritual activity. I prayed sometimes, and read or memorised some parts of the Quran when the teacher asked us to do so. But in my middle to late teenage years, I nearly abandoned those important activities and I guess consequently life seemed to be against me.
Where I grew up in, it is generally thought that everyone was associated with some form of religion — the Chinese were generally Buddhists and the Indians generally Hindus, except for some that embraced Christianity. But never were the Malays anything but Muslims. Those who seemed unsure about their religion — and there were many — kept their thoughts silent so as to not receive chastisement.
I’d say I was a generally good student; I didn’t create havoc nor did I smoke. But I suppose I was too obedient and too timid that the question of “who am I” constantly lingered. You see I didn’t have a solid ground under my feet. Those who did might have been brought up either quite religiously or morally upright with values instilled in them on a daily basis, I think.
I did not have that luxury. My luxury was more to materialistic comfort, which I think was not all bad, but, obviously now, potently destructive.
Ironically enough, during the peak moments of darkness, I desperately searched for a source of light. Knowing no more than what I had been thought, I held on back to Islam. At first, I didn’t straightaway pray five times a day. Instead, nearly every night before sleeping with cheeks drenched in tears, I asked God the “why” question and to forgive me and show me the right way.
Painfully slowly, I managed to find my footing. But of course not without more crying, praying, reading and watching inspirational lectures on YouTube.
And soon my “why” question was answered. No, I did not receive any revelation through my dreams (how I wish it so!). But the more I learn, the more I understand why life is the way it is. It is indeed a test; we are put here to worship the Lord of the Universe through our actions, to learn about the many facets of life, and to express gratitude.
But what matters is the now. All I can do is seek knowledge and appreciate all the good things that Life/Nature/Universe/God has to offer. I am alive here on Earth, and there are forces that I cannot even begin to comprehend. Forces of invisible energy that can only be felt through conscious practice, the energy that keeps us all alive and connects us as human beings, as creatures on Earth.
And so my spiritual journey begins.