Now, before anyone gets jumpy and defensive, you need to understand that this is my opinion. My journey. And my take on religion. If you’ve got no desire whatsoever to expand upon what you believe in, by all means, read something else, like this adventure I had in Pundaquit somewhere in the Philippines.
The idea for this post all started while one of my lecturer asked me what was my belief and religion. And while I was explaining to her on my take, I came to realize that I grew into this way of thinking after I started travelling, so I think, in a very brief way of putting things, I found God while I was on the road.
Doubtful? I’m sure you must be. I was born and raised a Hindu, and till this day, for all intent and purposes, I call myself one. But am I? Probably not.
When you travel, especially if you’re alone, you find yourself. You learn a lot about yourself because you’re thrown yourself out of the constant routine of life. Without a schedule, without purpose in fact.
You put yourself in a place where no one knows you, where you wouldn’t be held accountable for a lot of the things that you do, because you can just pack your bags and go away, leaving everything behind. You meet strangers you’ll most probably never meet again, you’ll treat others with less caution because it’s all temporary.
In almost all aspects, you can do whatever you want because no one would find out. If you’re a vegetarian, nobody will know that you ate meat in the night market you visited. Married? No one will find out about the fling you had on the island. Recovering alcoholic? One drink at the surf beach wouldn’t harm anyone. The list goes on.
So when I travel, I observe places, cultures, food, and other people, but most of all, I observe myself. I can tell you that I know myself so much better now, the good and the bad. And I’ve seen people grow so much while travelling. Either in terms of responsibility or maturity itself.
When you travel solo, you have a LOT of time to think, to ponder and to reflect. I have always been taught to pray everyday at the prayers room while facing photographs etc. Until one point (I was in a train somewhere) I made up my mind that God resides in me as my conscience. I don’t need to be somewhere to get close to God, I just need to be alone, to think. Solitude keeps me sane. When I travel, I experience what it’s like to be alone with my mind. It wasn’t pretty at first, but I grew to enjoy my own company, my own thoughts and my problems.
I talk to myself as though I’m talking to God (alright, at this point I sound genuinely crazy) because that’s my support system. I enter temples, churches and mosques not because that’s where I think God lives, but because in the tranquility, I find the God in me.
That’s how I recuperate, and I always come back home feeling calm, a little closer to myself and a little more sane in the mind. For all intent and purposes, the idea of God keeps us grounded. It makes us, the more ‘intelligent’ species have morale. But most importantly, it heals.
I found that in travel. In living out of a backpack with very little extras. In meeting strangers day in and day out. In making completely new decisions for myself. In forming and molding myself to the person I am today.
I live more freely now, I let myself go. But I don’t think I’ve ever been more disciplined. Or nice. I love the place in my head, it’s mostly a happy one.
And in my own thoughts, in that very train, I found God.
PS : it’s very obvious that I’ve not exactly talked about my beliefs, what I think of God etc. That’s only because it’s a very private subject to me, and in publishing things like that here, it gets VERY public. I don’t want my delicate opinion to affect others at the opposite side of the world.
I’m going to turn 21. I’m too young to be preaching about anything, yet alone religion. So I left that out of my writing. I want to show you how I found God, not make you read about what God should be. I think everyone has the rights to believe the things they want :).