Not religion, but spirituality has always been a priority in my life, be it applied as a woman, a wife, a mother, a professional, a friend, a citizen.
The search began when I was born and I hope it will continue until my death.
I was baptized as a Catholic as a baby and went to church all my childhood for my own interest (my parents didn´t attend), I follow Sathya Sai Baba´s teachings since I´m 13 years old, I took initiation in Tao and I participated in Catholic praying groups in my early twenties (until they found out my interest in Hinduism and excluded me from the group!). I lived in Thailand in my late twenties and prayed and prostrated to Buddha before dawn along with my little students every day for a full year.
Six months ago I attended with my sister in law to a lecture of a German Sufi Teacher and to my request, he conversed me a Muslim and gave me a new sand beautiful name.
This simple but profound experience raised my conscience amazingly and granted me bliss for more than a week in a constant state. As far as I am concerned attending Islam lectures, singing to Allah in circular dances and repeating His Holy Name has been an incredible experience, that has strengthened my love and inner peace as well as that of the people around me.
This week I´ve been surfing the web in search of a book my sister in law recommended to me. What I found left me in deep thinking.
She has become a Muslim some three years ago and we are all really happy for her because her life changed drastically, for the better. This is particularly expressed in her inner happiness, gentleness and loving attitude.
I´m always interested in learning new things related to spirituality so she recommended that book to me: Mohammed. Since it´s not available in Argentina I searched for it at Amazon.com hoping to find the e-book version.
I got very disappointed to discover a wide offer of books attacking Islam, even doubting the existence of the Prophet, written by “experts”. The first title in the search results assures this “is the most intolerant religion in the world”.
I´m a common, not literate person regarding religious issues. But let me tell you my little knowledge shows me religious intolerance is a double mistake: to be intolerant is bad, to tolerate may be worse.
After OxfordDictionaries.com definition “to tolerate” is to “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one dislikes or disagrees with) without interference”. Ergo, intolerance is the unwillingness to allow anything one dislikes or disagrees with. Yes, that´s bad.
But who are we to judge people´s beliefs and be in a position of allowing (or denying) their existence in the first place? This may be even worse. It is just the opposite side of the same coin.
The more I dive into world´s spiritual teachings and get in touch with true seekers from all religions, the wider my range of understanding of Unity becomes.
I don´t want to tolerate, endure or bear with anyone who´s different from me. Who am I to judge if they “deserve” my acceptance?
I want to be alike to everyone. I´m a Christian, I´m a Hindu, I´m a Taoist, I´m Buddhist, I´m a Muslim too. Beyond tolerance.
Main inspiring sources for this post (including images). Meditations of a Muslimah
Dr. Mary Ann´s Academy
Further articles and video suggestions.
Daniel Barenboim Stiftung
Israel Loves Palestine: the Movement
What would you do?