In my adolescence, I considered myself an anarchist. The misguided notion of throwing all the pieces up into the air seemed like a solution to the immediate problems of the world.
In my adolescence, I considered myself an anarchist. The misguided notion of throwing all the pieces up into the air seemed like a solution to the immediate problems of the world. I hoped that after such a chaotic reset, things would fall back together into a semblance of decency; and whatever was wronged at least stood the chance of being righted. This myopic outlook depended completely on the vast majority of participants being ethically upright which, at the time, seemed a possibility.
In my twenties, I yearned to construct meaning of my experience. I had a lot of unanswered questions about the nature of existence itself. In this pursuit, I rekindled my childhood confidence that a higher power was at work in the world. For me, this natural faith just seemed to create more questions, though. If God exists, then why does he allow evil to take place? This classical inquiry of theodicy made me suspicious of the idea of God as a person who was actually involved in the day-to-day dealings of our lives. A nameless, ubiquitous force or energy seemed to make more sense as a place to couch my ideology. I found plenty of reading from both western and eastern philosophical schools to support my viewpoint. This was also a socially acceptable common ground which allowed me to relate to a broad range of people.
At some point in my twenties, I found myself drawn to people who felt a compulsion to act on their ideology. It was one thing to hold to a set of beliefs, but another to organize one's life to be able to affect others positively. I wanted to ‘walk the walk’ myself and felt the need for a mentor. Retrospectively, I think it was these desires that led me into the company of bhakti-yoga practitioners.
Now, much later in my life, I can see that I was not alone in this journey. I’ve been guided from within and from a force beyond myself. The desire to construct meaning of one’s existence is intrinsic to humanity. All of the people in my life now have gone on a similar journey, albeit in different ways and in different contexts. It’s a source of much joy to be able to appreciate their wisdom, despite however that comes packaged.
Belief systems are good up to a point, and then an internal synthesis needs to take place. Rituals may be different, philosophical concepts may vary, but universal principles of self-sacrifice, compassion and love leave us all capable of being instruments in the hands of God, however we see that.
Respecting the rich and dynamic theology of my own tradition, it’s this broader outlook with which I choose to enter retirement. We might disagree on so many issues, mundane or otherwise, but we have common ground and this needs to be emphasised.
In a way, I’m still an anarchist in the sense that I understand that there is order within the chaos. The order, however, lies in a dimension outside the scope of our control.
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No part of this text was generated with artificial intelligence; just “flawsome” human thoughts here … with, of course, homage to The Algorithm that abides over us all.
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