The Human Cohesion Project — 27 April 2020
What are the questions you are asking yourself, and others, these days?
Today, I was touched by someone sharing a story about how they fasted in solidarity with their Muslim staff member. The person mentioned that they would not have usually liked to talk about something like this, but that given what we are collectively experiencing, sharing it was essential, and they hope the story inspired someone. I was, and I honour their generosity and fraternity.
I was also asked about why I wish to take on a ‘religious project’ when there are apparently so many differences between religions, particularly between the Hindu and Islamic ideologies in the Indian context where I live. I must of course, reiterate what I stated on the first day of this project, that this is not a religious project for me. It is a peace project.
Having said that, I understand that the apparent conflict comes from what questions we hold about religion, about ‘our’ religion and about the ‘other’ religion. If our questions are about what the differences are, those are the answers we will find. Very often, not only in the context of religion but in general, we think we are asking a question just by virtue of using language in a certain construction. However, more often than not, we have only, rather cleverly, manipulated words to sound like a question, where what we seek is not answers, but validation of what we already believe. A real question needs deeper investigation into our motives. Unfortunately, it is not something we are trained for in our knowledge and skill based education systems. To ask questions, we need to seek to know ourselves.
In many ways, a lot of spiritual practices, including fasts, are meant to facilitate this — they are designed in a manner that we withdraw from the world and converse with ourselves. The questions that emerge from those conversations are curious inquiries about life and our purpose, not about proving our view point, which is as ephemeral as our bodies are (and just as prone to be devastated by an invisible virus).
So, what questions are you gestating?
Ramadan Kareem. May you experience spaciousness to meet all of you, within.
#RukminiIyer #Ramadan #peacebuilding