I FOLLOW THE RELIGION OF LOVE
My heart has become capable of every form:
It is a pasture for gazelles,
And a monastery for Christian monks,
And a temple for idols,
And the Ka’aba of the pilgrims,
And the tablets of the Torah,
And the book of the Qur’an.
I follow the religion of Love:
Whatever path Love’s camel takes,
That is my religion and my faith.
Sometimes the baby naps in his stroller. I take him for a walk after playing in the kindergym. I make his stroller into a mini bed. I sing him songs. Sometimes run my fingers through his hair. He sleeps and I walk to the library. I find a cozy spot with a cushioned seat. He sleeps and I read. Usually books on Sufism and Islam. That is where I found the poem above. It seemed to have been transmitted to my mother because that is the religion she taught me. I don’t think she ever said her religion was about Love because love seemed so hurtful to her but in her actions love was there. My mami’s religion was to help others.
My family makes it easy for me. When asked about my family’s religion I say that my family practices everything. From Catholicism to Santeria, to talking to spirits, to having gurus. What we have in common is that we believe in the One. My mother remembers hearing her grandparents talking about our family being Muslim. There is a prayer in Islam that my mom taught me as a child. In my mother’s religion of helping others she has instilled that servitude for humanity in me.
I think about my continuous spiritual development and my role in this world. It is as simple and complex as every moment. I have a roommate now. My friend Meadow who now lives in the closet. That is what one of the little girls calls her, the lady that lives in the closet. I try to make space for her. I realized that my altars/art installations had to go. I was not using them anyway. For awhile now they have just been art installations. My living room/the gallery. I already had my boveda in my bedroom and Oshun on a shelf. I moved Yemaya minus the print to another shelf in my bedroom. I cried during all of this. Change.
I talked to my Ifa spiritual teacher yesterday. It had been a long time. I had been neglecting going to temple because for awhile I felt this: I love him and I love his teachings but I didn’t feel that was the spiritual space I needed to be in. It was something like church where I didn’t truly believe everything that the priest said. When I pray in the masjid and hear the Imam or Sheik give a khutbah I usually cry. My heart opens up in such a big way and I feel peace. When I talked to my teacher he said he thought about calling me. I told him i knew that he was thinking of me the moment I told myself I needed to call him. He told me he was looking over my Odu. ( I have trouble explaining what an odu is. Here’s a link that may help. Ifá ) I was reminded of it. Reminded of everything that makes my spirituality whole.
My spirituality has always been a process and will continue to be. When I have a moment with God I clearly understand that God wants me to learn it all. The Creator wants me to understand the different ways to be close to Him. This way I can be more accessible to everyone I meet. My beliefs are my beliefs and I have to understand to have full respect of others. Ibn Arabi’s poem made me realize that it wasn’t me making up things. There are others, many, many others that are open and their hearts full of love.
I must admit that sometimes when the baby is sleeping I wish I was sleeping, too. Then I read.