Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Religion..dare I go there!

I have thought about this for a while and have finally concluded that I have a right to express exactly how I feel on this subject.

I know that it might rile a few nerves but then again, I cannot make everyone happy. This post is merely my take and impression on religion. The one thing that can make, break, heal and bring either war or love to mankind.

So here goes...the reason for my ramblings began with another one of those experiences where I could either laugh or cry with frustration at the madness of some people.

I am personally very spiritual. I do not believe that I need to advertise my own personal beliefs or go to any specific building to prove that I believe in a higher being that has given me the gift of life. I believe. That is all the explanation that is needed.

So my take on religion is this...Religion has been created by Man as a set of rules for Mankind to achieve various spiritual experiences. Many will debate this, but I welcome open thinking. Maybe if women were involved with input or their thoughts with some of the scriptures...there might be a fairer view on some of the lessons involved.

Anyway..I enjoy going to Cathedrals and sitting in a quiet pew, feeling the awesome heavy stillness descend upon me. Something I do not experience anywhere. I love going to the Hilltop in Inanda to experience the joy of the Shembe people when they celebrate with their haunting music and slow, rythmic dancing. I enjoy going to the Bhuddist temples to revel in the calm, gentle spirituality that exudes from the solemness of the meditating priests. I enjoy going to the various temples to witness the beautiful comaraderie between the gorgeous temple goers of the various Hindu faiths. I love meditation when I feel like doing it. I love breaking fast at Passover with my Jewish friends and celebrating the end of Eid with my Muslim ones. I also support and join the journey of my friends during Lent.

So in simple terms..I love and respect all religions. I strongly believe that everyone has a right to worship or not in the way they believe is the right way for themselves. It is a very personal journey.

Hence this blog. I have been feeling a bit riled up by the recently increasing forcefulness of various individuals who have deemed it their duty on this earth to convert me. I do not feel the need to profess an undying devotion to any particular religion to make it easier for people to understand me. It is my personal journey and will always be so.

It is just frustrating to be told continiously that the Devil is living in me and that I am going to hell if I do not accept a certain religion. Now I love alot about that religion, but the Devil does not exist in my wonderful world. As for hell?? methinks it is the best manipulative thought to have ever been created.

I mean, why fear going to hell when you die, when we are creating the worst type of hell on our precious Earth right now whilst we are living and breathing.

We are a continent of people who are currently murdering, raping, killing, stealing, hurting, damaging, demeaning, de-moralising and destroying our fellow human beings and Mother Nature..What is worse than that..pray do tell?

What can be worse that the wars that are starting using the name of religion in vain? That is mankinds greed, envy, gluttony, pride, hatred, anger etc..

How about we each as individuals, use the amazing teachings our religion or personal beliefs teach us and strive to make this world a better place right now, right here, in this moment, without advertising our religion.

How about we drop all pretences and really, truly accept and rejoice that all human beings deserve a place on this earth. That the word diversity encompasses different ways of thinking, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, mannerisms, experience, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, feelings and above all individual choice.

Each person is perfect as they are and their beliefs in religion or not is perfect for that person too.

So my plea to the really, over excited converting types..leave peoples personal choice of religion to themselves. Stop forcing something that was intended to bring love and hope into the lives of people and changind it into something that is compulsory and hurtful if one does not choose that path.

Let us all start to respect the people we can see in front of us right now, instead of professing to be holier than everyone else.

As far as I am concerned..if a person is comfortable to believe in devils and hell..then that is their choice..please keep it close and leave me alone. I do not wish to enjoy any religion through fear of what could happen. It is already happening, with our racism, prejudices, paedophiles, pornography, bad behaviour, underlying gossipping and backbiting. If anyone can prove to me that there are worse things than that in an afterlife..then I am willing to listen with an open mind.

Until then..love the beliefs that you choose and keep it sacred!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Making Memories..

As a society, we have been taught to work hard, play hard, earn money, buy things, aspire to have the biggest car, best home, provide the best education for our children and to have the perfect life.

All the wonderful things you can have and achieve if you want to and if you dream big and work for it. But is that all that there is to to life?

I look at people everyday who live in informal settlements, who take a bus to work, they do not have the latest technology, contract phone, flatscreen tv or even a fridge filled with expensive food. What they do have is a life filled with awesome memories.

Sure enough, they are worried about where their next meal is going to come from, when they will be able to get a home that has solid walls, where their next income will come from and whether they will ever get out of the slumps of living in squalor. But speak to anyone of them and ask them if they are happy. Truly happy as a family. Many will answer with a resounding yes. Yes they are happy that they have their family with them. Yes, they are grateful for the plate of food they have because they are able to share it together. The point being that they are together. They are families who pray, eat, drink, talk, laugh, cry and share everything together.

Compared to the people who are striving and working so hard to achieve the best for their families, but at the end of the day, are so tired that they miss out on the essential and pivotal moments of laughter and growth in their own children.

I was thinking about how little time we make to create the very memories that contribute to who we become as adults. You know those memories, like when your dad read a story to you or when you got washed away by a freak wave and your mum hauled you out and became your hero. The love that grew in those moments can never be replaced by the obscure memory of when you got a new playstation or watched tv all day long.

Nowadays, we are just content to buy the latest gadgets for our kids and shower them with inane gifts to cover up our guilt for not spending quality time with them. Toys are there to be ooohed and aaaahed over for a paltry 10 minutes then launched into the -to be forgotten - box.

Whatever happened to us letting go and encouraging our kids to take a walk with us in the afternoons just to feel the wind in our hair and count the number of red cars that pass us by.
What has happened to us that we have forgotten to be spontaneous enough to jump into the car on a school night and go the beach, grab an ice cream and meander aimlessly to soak up the gorgeous night lights and stars whilst listening to the crashing of the waves against the endless sleepy sands..

Memories do not just live in the form of a photograph. They live in the deep hidden recesses of ones heart, mind, body and soul. It lives on for an eternity, ready to be pulled up suddenly when triggered off by a song, touch, thought or gentle reminder.

We feed off our memories in times of joy, pain, sadness and love. We thrive on their very existence to add to our own lives and how we choose to live it.

In our darkest hour, we haul up the best memories - mainly the ones that did not cost a cent to create - to help us heal in our time of need.

Think about it...when we die..as we are all bound to..what memories will your children, spouse or family have of you? Is it ones where they reminesce about how hard you worked and the beautiful home (or debt) you left behind or will it be that you loved them with all of your heart, being there when they needed you the most?

My aim is to create memories where I listened to them when they spoke, was thoughtful in my giving, spontaneous in my random acts of fun and spending time and money on adventures. Even though it may not be the latest gadget or toy, the fun interaction is thoughtful and more meaningful in its giving and excitedly recieved by all that I interact with.

Children are not interested in how much money you can spend. They are interested in you as a person. They are sitting there waiting in impatient anticipation for the knowledge and wisdom that you have to share with them. Make life an adventure of discovery. Plant a tree with your kids, take a walk, lie on the grass, play in the rain, embrace life in its simplicity.

After all, making memories is free. It does not take money..it takes something more precious than that - It takes your time.

So live each day as if it is your last and make it meaningful to you and the very people around you that you are working so hard to provide for. Give them your time!

Play in the park..Just Coz..it is fun to do so..

Play in the rain..be rebellious and let your inner child shine..

Howl at the moon..or sit outside with a mini picnic at night...nature has a gorgeous way of inspiring us with her beauty..lets take advantage and revel in it..!!

until the next time,
take care and have fun!
Arthie Moore