So some of you know I was raised as an Ismaili Muslim. Some of you also know I stopped identifying as one about 12+ years ago. Now this decision had nothing to do with the religion of Islam, with the faith of the Ismaili sect, or with the people within these communities - most of whom I absolutely adore.
It had more to do with a misalignment between the universal truth within my heart and the limits of identifying with one particular religion, as well as with the many religious rituals and traditions that did not feel authentic to the person I am inside.
So I left the Ismaili faith first, and eventually left Islam altogether. I knew in my heart of hearts that these religions (and after much research and soul searching, that all religions) were just not right for me.
But I also knew full well that I'm a highly spiritual person. Yep, I dropped the S bomb. So what is spirituality? Lately it seems like it's just a trendy term to throw around like, "I'm not religious but I'm spiritual".. As in, you have a church that you don't go to basically? Or you do yoga? You jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon? Maybe you meditate (Headspace app anyone?). Even my 4-year-old daughter was telling me about 'quiet meditation' which she apparently learned about at school (I was suitably impressed, I ain't gonna lie).
But beyond the fluffy spirituality stereotype, there's something there. There's a reason more and more people are identifying (whether publicly or to themselves) as 'spiritual' (but often not religious, though of course spirituality and religion can go hand in hand).
I think what's behind the rise of the spirituality concept is a creeping increasing awareness in our collective consciousness that we're all connected to one another. That we're more similar than we are different. And sometimes despite the many merits of all religions, sometimes they can feel a bit divisive (though of course...not necessarily).
Like many 'spiritual' people, over the years I have toyed with many different ways to express my spirituality and 'fill up my spiritual cup'. Leaving behind my religious community was the right decision for me, yet it left a sort of a spiritual void. I'm happy to have now found a spiritual sanctuary for myself and my family where everyone is welcome and loved. I have somewhere to be and belong, accepted exactly as I am at any given moment, where I can grab my regular dose of soul food, and my kids can learn more about the core values I'm working so hard to teach them at home.
So with love for all people of all faiths and non-faiths, this is me 'coming out of the spiritual closet'. I believe in the one beautiful creative energy that is responsible for our universe, for humanity and for the ties that bind us. I believe that guiding source is forever flowing through everyone and everything, that we all have divine gifts to offer, and that we're all on our perfect path - whether religious, spiritual, both or neither.