“Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love.”

19 May

I read the book “Life of Pi” my sophomore year of college, and it changed everything.

Actually, maybe it didn’t change anything.

What it really did was articulate, in a beautiful way, ideas I had been thinking about for the past few years.

I am continually  struck by the enormity of the world. There are so many answers! So many ideas! and, so many ideas that are not mutually exclusive.

Reading Life of Pi reaffirmed this largeness of reality in a very tangible way.

There’s this small, sneaky parable in Life of Pi that I think about almost daily.  :

“But we should not cling! A plague upon fundamentalists and literalists! I am reminded of a story of Lord Krishna when he was a cowherd. Every night he invites the milkmaids to dance with him in the forest. They come and they dance. The night is dark, the fire in their midst roars and crackles, the beat of the music gets ever faster – the girls dance and dance and dance with their sweet lord, who has made himself so abundant as to be in the arms of each and every girl. But the moment the girls become possessive, the moment each one imagines that Krishna is her partner alone, he vanishes. So it is that we should not be jealous with God. (1.16.5)”

Pi, the novel’s protagonist, uses the parable to explain his religious beliefs.

Likening the girls of the story to different religions’ interpretations of God, Pi paints a small picture of his complex ideas.

Each time a religion claims sole ownership or understanding of God, he believes, “true religion vanishes”.

Pi, then, believes in each religion, but does not jealously  hold their specific tenets.

I love the ways in which Pi uses the above parable to illustrate his ideas about religion, and I could spend much much longer detailing the religious views that I find appealing in Life of Pi.

But I tend to find this parable sneaking into my consciousness every time I  grapple with jealousy.

And when I think about this passage in terms of jealousy, I want to immediately rebel against the polygamist paradigm in the parable.

Yet, that point aside, I do find value in what it teaches.

In each moment, I want to be aware of and grateful for my surroundings.

In each moment with A, I want to be fully present and fully thankful for the time we have together.

Sometimes I get so caught up in thinking about the future that I forget  to breathe and be conscious of the moment.

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