Chant or not to chant …. That is the question.
2018 has been a year of enlightenment for me. I am fully aware of how cheesy that may sound, but I have no other way of explaining it.
I have faced a few of my fears this year and achieved many things, things I never thought I would. I feel like things are starting to make sense…in some ways.
I always get a bit…deep…around this time of year. My mum’s birthday is coming up and for some reason it makes me unsettled. I can’t explain why. My mum was quite religious. She was a Christian and believed in God and other similar things. When I was young, I think I believed in God. I certainly said I did. But as I got older, I stopped believing. When things went wrong, or I found myself in bad situations the first words in my head would always start with “Dear God”. But it was mostly just words.
Now this blog is not me question anyone’s beliefs or faith. I’m not saying what I believe is right and there is no other way. Its just what I think.
I can tell you the exact moment when I decide that “God” or “Religion” was not OK …not for me.
My mum was dying. I was sitting next t the bed watching her die. Every now and then she would cry out in pain and then I would press the button that topped up her morphine. I was watching my mum dying in pain. I went to the bathroom, locked the door, and sat on the edge of the bath. I slid to my knees in front of the bath and prayed. I prayed so hard. I was on that bathroom floor about 15 minutes. I asked…no… begged God….to stop her being in pain. To end it now. To not make her suffer anymore. I was sort of speaking aloud, muttering under my breath…I must have sounded like a crazy person. I was crying, that’s for sure. I begged. Begged that He would make it stop now. That se would not suffer another hour.
She went on for 3 days. One of them days in the house. 3 days of mad pain. This woman had suffered her whole life. Her whole life. And here she was suffering right to the end.
When my mum died, the second she passed away, I feel to my knees and …howled…that’s how it was described to me after. It lasted a few minutes, I guess. I grabbed her hand. Still warm. And I threw my head back and created the most wrenched sound. I can honestly tell you this. It physically hurt me when my mum died. I physically was in pain in my head and my heart. Then I went into shock. I jus got up and carried on. I think I stayed in a state of shock for some years. I would go from shock to deep pain and back again.
In between this I had my last ever conversation with God. I was sitting out the back and looking up at the stars. And I told him what I thought of him. Angry words. Spiteful words. I turned my back on God from that moment. I went through some awful stuff over the years that followed. Not one did the words “Dear God” come into my head.
I felt alone.
Because I think we need to put our trust in something. Maybe not a someone but maybe a something. Something that listens to our hopes and fears. I can’t explain what I mean, but since I told “God” what I thought of him that night and that I will never ever forgive him for leaving my mum in pain, something has been missing.
My mum found comfort in her religion. She believed in it. And, next week I will go to church and light a candle for my mum. And I will prey. For her. I will prey that she is at peace and that God has finally found mercy for her.
Here is the bit people may find strange. Maybe even disrespectful, and I promise you I do not mean to be. When I got to church, I will not speak to God. Or acknowledge him. I do believe in a Christian God now. I personally believe that there is a “God” and that if my mum is anywhere, she is with him. That’s what I believe.
I also believe that he is not a kind God. I do not fear him. I think he is cruel. He does not deserve my direct words to him. I asked him many times to end my pain and he did not. I begged him to end hers and he did not. So …we are done. I’m sure lots of people will tell me the reasons for his actions and such. I don’t think I care. She believed in him and ..as far as I can see…he let her down. Maybe I am wrong. But then again…maybe I’m right.
Now here is the mad bit. The bit that has been happening over the last few years. I have acknowledged that by not accepting that Christian religion is something I wish to follow, it has left an emptiness in me. One that I did not know was there.
I have been interested in Buddhism for…well…a long time. I can’t tell you when, or what, it just been there for a while. I read up about it and the usually think that someone like me, someone who has done the things I have done…I don’t belong within Buddhism. I never spoke about it. It’s just something that has been there. Revealing itself to me slowly over the years.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I could write for hours on all the things that have happed that shouldn’t. The different situations I have found myself in or people I have met that have led to a whole different path for me.
I attend a meeting in London. I don’t attend meetings in certain parts of London, but this one time I pushed myself and it was very out of character for me. When the meeting finished, I had no idea how to get home and there just happened to be a lady that had come to the meeting and lived in the same part of Kent as me. She offered to walk me to the train station. From the second we started walking it was like I was just catching up with an old friend. It was a 15-minute walk to the station, and by the time we got there we had already had a pretty mad and deep conversation about love and life. We got on the train and spoke none stop from St Pancreas to Kent. She is a practising Buddhist and spoke openly about it. It freaked me out a bit. Like…as if it was a set up. I guess it was…a set up by some kind of power above.
Since that day we speak often, and she will speak about her belief in Buddhism. Not always, just sometimes. And when she does, its always when I need it the most. When I need the answer to something or comfort, I speak with her and she says something that makes sense. And she never ever knows I am looking for answers. It just happens.
So here is the thing…She and another of my friend are very much involved with Buddhism. Like…big time. I really couldn’t be in a better situation than right now to start exploring something that has been calling me for some time. Its all set out for me. Nice and safe.
But I can’t Chant. I can’t say the words aloud:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
She tried to chant with me yesterday and I freaked out. I said no. I said that my worst fear is people dancing around my living room chanting. She asked why. I said that it feels so unnatural. It makes me cringe. I can’t explain it. 40 minutes later her beautiful daughter …not knowing a thing that was said…. started dancing and chanting in my living room. She grabbed my hands and was chanting and dancing. It freaked me out, but I also liked it. Watching this little girl chant made me realise even more that I want to do this. That Buddhism is where I am going.
But I can’t chant. The words won’t come out. It has taken me a while to work it out, but I know why. I have known a long time why.
I believe in Buddhism. I believe that we are one and that we are all connected. I believe that if I chanted, I would be able to meditate and clear my mind. I would find answers. I will find peace.
And I will finally have to let go of what my mum believed in.
The last “Chant” that came out of my mouth…. The last sound that vibrated through me, through my soul, in the same way chanting would…was the sound I made when my mum died. A deep heart-breaking sound from within. And that was that. Lock off.
If I chant, even just once, I’m letting go of my anger and sadness that I associate with believing in something. And up until just recently I guess I didn’t want to. I think that the anger sort of kept me going. But I don’t need the anger anymore, not in any part of my life.
I do think I will sound like an idiot chanting away though….that’s gonna take a while to shake. I used to feel the same way when I prayed in church. I feel like my faith in ..something…is strong. I just need to express it in a way that feel good.
I’m ready to start a new chapter and I am kind of excited… I think.
2018…the year I found out about myself…you read it here first.