Today, I'd actively searched for a ride to Shelburne to a place called All Souls Intwefaith Gathering, for a New Years service, and Kirtan gathering. I rarely write about faith, because we all subscribe to different beliefs. I often reserve Sunday evenings for guided meditation, which serves as my path for a belief system. I love the stories that are offered within different faiths, although, the idea of subscribing to one omnipotent being has never been in my personal realm of plausibility. We're all different, and for me, having the opportunity to understand and develop a system of beliefs that I want. To subscribe to, has been instrumental in allowing me to work towards my goals in the presence of people who have faith, but are not compelled to tell me how, or why I was saved. My feelings are lets keep,our Faith's to ourselves, unless sharing a designated space for practice. It's taken much of my lifetime to approach the topic of fath, but finding spaces where kindness, morality, benevolence, sand reason can intersect, has been an amazing piece of my journey.
I had never been to this location before, but had adopted Kirtan into my spectrum. A buddy from college brought me to a different group 3-4 years back. I'd found a generous neighbor willing to bring me, regularly.. Over the years, the group has transformed and been rebuilt several times over, although the community aligns common faces I've gotten to know over the years. I
had posted my request for a ride, and was losing hope that the community would come through for me until my friend Matthew called to offer a ride. We had recently talking about his yoga therapy practice, so I was not expecting him to offer me a ride. I love it when people surprise me with commonalities I hadn't expected.
In showing up I got to chant, which I've learned to love over the years, because can raise my voice, and not be stared at with a blank look of, 'I have no idea what you just said.' Everyone chants, and there is no judgement over anyone, or anything. Except where concepts of poor moral conduct are concerned, then it's like any other group of people. If you misconduct yourself, you'll be banned, and if you consort with the banned party, you're likely to be ostracized, until they get over it. It never ceases to amaze how terrible anyone can be, if they think they're doing something for the greater good. My previous inability to understand the intricacies within this group, made me give up on them for a short period, although once I was able to understand varying points of view, I returned, albeit somewhat gaurded. As the group hanged hands, and brought an influx of new faces, I relaxed, and came to appreciate the collective group again.
Finding faith is precious to all. For much of my life, I swept the concept aside, because I'd always encountered bad people, who used their religion as a sheld to protect their own interests. In the years since acquiring a new identity, with different abilities, I have been blessed by countries strangers, with their kindness, generosity, and gratitude, as well as by their own faith(s).
I was just so,overjoyed to return to a sacred space, among so many friends, who were present for the spiritual chanting ceremony, and blessing of the new year. After the hour long ceremony of call and response singing, the larger group adjourned, and a smaller group remained. At this point, chants I'd grown familiar with, were offered, and the energy shifted from what felt like tentative, to joyous. At the end of the day, I really am unsure where I personally stand among these souls, and the variety of beliefs that have acquiesced there, it just doesn't seem important.