Text by Patty Simon | Image by Dick Simon
Dick likes to tell everyone that this trip is about spiritual journeys and justifies why we headed to the largest religious gathering in the world at the Kumbh Mela in India. My gut cringes each time I hear because I am not very “religious” so when I witness various “religions”, it does not do much for my own spiritual journey. But, I let it go and try to just be open to whatever happens in these countries with such intense, varied belief systems.
We have gone from Christianity to Hindu to Buddhist to Muslim and back to all four living next to each other side by side.
So here is where my journey has led. In terms of religion… Nowhere. Though I have always respected others beliefs, I find myself foreign to it all. I think I have a gene missing. When I go into these sacred shrines, all I see is decoration and fascination for what these gods look like or how they are honored with offerings. Even the Christian churches feel foreign because all I can think of are missionaries imposing foreign beliefs on an already embedded belief system of thousands of years.
As an artist I have always been obsessed with shrines. I take pictures of every one I see (well, in India this is impossible as they are every 50 feet and we could never get to our next destination). I collect offerings. I study design and what qualities make a “shrine”. I have wanted to do an art installation but I get snagged by one problem. Because of my lack of religious belief, what would I pay homage to? I have thought about this year after year and it keeps me from actually producing the show. (An invitation to anyone reading this, if you have any ideas, please let me know)
So… Belief! If not religious, what would my belief look like?
I’ve decided my belief is about what God creates… the beautiful natural landscape and the people that exist in this huge world. My belief is wrapped up in their belief that life is worth living and struggling for – in the everyday and the tiniest of kindnesses.
March 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm
I believe every person who believes God exists wants to acknowledge it in some demonstrable way. Thus shrines and churches. A logical, honest, thinking person must take the nest step. Reason drives that person to find the One, True God (which logic requires). Since God exists (to that person) he/she logically should ask God to reveal the truth so the next step can be taken. Then continuation brings the seeker into God’s arms. Can God reject the requests of His creation?
On a different note – It is wonderful to read of your adventures. It is even more wonderful that Dick and you have the souls of peace seekers. God will bless you both.
Walt Finneran, Event Photographer, Griffin Museum, Winchester, Ma. USA
March 25, 2013 at 9:57 am
Thank you Walter for responding. Your thoughts did enlighten my thinking on this. I really appreciate your time in sharing these ideas and will use them going forward in my creative endeavors.
Thanks so much for your note and kind words. Spiritual experience is deeply personal for everyone, and so long as it is a source of strength and bringing people together, I am totally for it!!
Peace seekers is a great expression. I believe many are on that path, although sometimes stereotypes, biases and fear can get in the way.