Do any action you must do,
since action is better than inaction;
even the existence of your body
depends on necessary actions.
The whole world becomes a slave
to its own activity, Arjuna;
if you want to be truly free,
perform all actions as worship.
Bhagavad Gita 3.8-3.9
Luke, Matt, and I sat at the breakfast table eating. I told them all about the Kali puja and the overwhelming display of food at the Swaminarayan New Year’s celebration.
“Well, Mom,” Matt offered, “I’m sure when you get through with your spiritual quest you’ll know what religion to choose.”
From the other side of the table, Luke attacked: “She’s not on a spiritual quest. She’s on a fake spiritual quest. Maybe once she’s done, then she’ll start to figure it out.” Luke turned to me for verification, “Right, Mom?”
I said nothing at all back.
And the vacuum was filled with fraternal verbal swordplay over whether what I’m doing is real or fake and what real or fake means anyway and whether the other could possibly understand anything at all in the first place and getting words in “edgewise” and who was interrupting whom.
I was taken aback by Luke’s words. It was almost like he was asking me to reassure him I wasn’t actually on a personal spiritual search but just engaged in a safe exercise in journalism - the look on his face, his full blue-eyed question, the morning light on the tiled floor, on the corner of the yellow table cloth, the complete momentary pause in the conversation.
Why can’t I answer? Is what I’m doing fake? And what could fake possibly mean when I’ve dropped everything in my life to do this and only this?
I have to admit I’m on some kind of personal search. If “fake” means I don’t know whether I’ll get anywhere, if “fake” means I might not get to any definitive place, any definitive faith by the end of this, if “fake” means I might find out I don’t have the ability to be what people call “spiritual” within me, then I guess I must accept that label as possible. What I’m doing is nothing more than what every single human being, aware of their own mortality, must go through in one form or another.
But I want something more from this than digging up my own personal belief system. I want to understand what’s happening in a world beset by violence that claims religious doctrine as its source and that obsession of mine is very real. And, whether global or just personal, I do have faith that my effort will be worth something in the end even if I can’t know right now in what way precisely. That faith isn’t fake. That faith I have. That faith is real.