Peace be upon you all ✌🏻
This week someone asked me for advice about how to find their spiritual path, knowing that I had struggled greatly to find mine. I’d like to offer this advice to all of you. It will be based on my personal experiences, and therefore I cannot promise that my advice will be perfect.
When my doubts first began, I shoved them down out of sheer terror of not knowing. What if everything I believed was… wrong? What if the things on which I was basing my eternal destination were… irrelevant? These “what ifs” were scary, so I ran away and buried myself in every possible occupation. Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know what not to do. Don’t ignore your feelings! Begin a journal and write down what you wonder about. Then pray. Pray and ask whatever Higher Power there is – and yes you can phrase it that way – to show you what’re the answers to your questions.
The other thing I did at first was not research. This was part of ignoring my feelings. I thought if I immersed myself in the doctrine that I thought was the only safe one, I’d one day wake up without doubts and it would all would finally click in my soul. Of course that didn’t work. So what I finally did – and this is what you should consider doing if you want to avoid a lot of heartache – is research. Read the scriptures of numerous religions. Try out different ways of praying. Decide what, if anything, in different religions, resonates with you deep down inside. When you read the Bible or Quran, for example, does sow,thing you read feel like Truth with a capital T to you? Do some things just feel wrong? When you find these things, write them down in your journal. As time goes on, refer back. As you read more religious texts and books about religion, you’ll eventually come across something that matches what you’ve written down that resonates with you and that doesn’t have aspects that feel inherently and deeply wrong to you.
I also recommend that you visit different houses of worship and attend services therein. Along with that, talk with members of different faiths. Let them show you what is beautiful about their traditions. As you do this you may see that in your eyes a certain faith makes its followers kinder, more spiritual, and better people in general. They may also be able to show you doctrines carried out in real life that, when you read about them, didn’t seem that important but which in real life hold great meaning.
Don’t forget to pray. A lot. Simply speak to God in whatever way feels comfortable to you. Tell him your thoughts, your fears, your beliefs, your doubts. Be honest and open. I personally had a lot of anger towards God. When I finally opened up to Him, I was transformed. God is infinitely big enough to handle your finite feelings. He can take it. So don’t be afraid to say just what you think and feel. Tell Him you’re angry! Tell Him you’re confused! Tell Him you don’t have a clue, or that you’re proud, or that you’re afraid! Tell Him everything. Trust me, doing so consistently changes everything.
You also must be patient. With yourself, with God, with the process, and with those around you. Patience was something I needed to learn and and area in which I improved due to my crisis of faith. Patience will sustain. You’ll go bonkers without it! Really. Be patient with yourself because you’ll have moments in which you’ll feel like you’re a jerk and an idiot, and like you’re the slowest person to ever try to find faith. Be patient with God because He has His own perfect timing for revealing Himself. So don’t rush Him. He knows best. Be patient with the process, because it may well be long and arduous. If you’re patient, you’ll learn to actually enjoy the journey! “Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” Cliche but very true.
Finally, be patient with those around you, especially those closest to you. They will feel bewildered, left out, and frightened by your changes. That’s their right. Be patient with them as they learn to accept you. That’s good advice for a lot of things really! They may become angry. As long as they’re not abusing you in some way, allow them healthy anger. The anger will pass. Be supportive of them, but also insist on following through on your journey. Don’t let them discourage you.
As you come into faith and knowledge, whatever you do, don’t become arrogant. A sheikh I know once coined the term convertitis. By that he, meant that terrible sense of I-am-oh-so-wise-and-you-aren’t arrogance that often comes over the newly religious. Avoid that. If you succumb, check yourself, repent to God and those around you, and be more humble than ever. True faith should make you more humble and loving, not an unbearable know-it-all jerk! You’ll drive dear, good people away from you if you become arrogant. Remember, any wisdom we have comes from the Source of all True Wisdom. So be confident, but not proud. The Prophet Mohammed taught us that “He who doesn’t have kindness, doesn’t have faith,” (paraphrasing.)
Finally, never ever lose sight of God’s infinite love and forgiveness. If we the finite are capable of deep love – and we are indeed – imagine how much more infinitely loving and kind God must be! The Quran says that God says, “My Mercy encompasses all things,” (7:153). When you are overwhelmed by your shortcomings and doubts, fall back on His love. God. Loves. You. Really!
And with that, I close. Thank you for reading. If you liked this post, do share! Don’t forget, you can reach me in the comments below or on my Facebook page. Salaam ✌🏻