Spiritual people pass through certain stages of consciousness on their journey to God. I write this to share my journey with you all.
For me, it started off as an unexpected interest in Islam, the religion I was “born” into. I started reading the Quran, and I was hooked. This is what I would call the first stage in the journey – the introduction. You come to know about the stark differences between what God says in the Quran, and what is widely believed by your community and your religious peers. You are judgmental. You take great delight in debating, and proving other people wrong. A sense of superiority reigns over you. You want to save people from the endless doom of the fire. Unfortunately, and I say this with my deepest regrets, most religious people just do not grow past this stage: a judgmental bigot who annoys anyone who holds even a slightly different point of view.
Then, if you’re lucky (and I sure was!), you meet people who challenge your beliefs and ask you logical explanations of why you believe certain things. This is new to you, certainly! Does belief warrant a logical explanation, you think to yourself? You ponder, and come across the many verses from the Quran that advocate skepticism and critical thinking. Now, you have to unlearn the things you have programmed yourself to believe in, and look at it from a rational perspective. It’s very difficult initially, mind you! You’re in tatters! Could God really allow men to beat women, for example? Your inner voice immediately says no.
This is the second stage. You realize that perhaps you, yourself has a lot to learn from others. Differences of opinion are now regarded as food for thought, no longer a front where you could correct others. It is a stage of uncertainty; you feel a hollow void within yourself desperately asking God to provide answers to your endless questions. This agony lasts for a while.
Suddenly, you have a eureka moment. Everything starts falling into it’s place. You no longer accept the translations of the Quran as perfect; instead you interpret the Quran for yourself through a range of different exercises. You realize the inconsistencies that lie within these translations, and thank God for opening your eyes towards Truth.
Fear is no longer a motive for believing in God, unconditional love is. You no longer help other people to get rewards, but simply because they are your brethren in humanity and are in need. And this is where the soul really blossoms! You no longer behave as an “I know it all” bigot, for differences are God’s signs (30:22)! Labels don’t matter, anymore. Only character does. Needless to say, you are no longer interested in endless debates, for you realize that they are only a clash of egos. An inner serenity overwhelms you. This, I believe is the third stage. The farthest I have walked yet.
“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something so beautiful!”
Be water, my friend. Evolve!