Insomnia has the peculiar ability to seize and ultimately enhance the human capacity for roaming thought. Like static hanging in the air, it brings to attention the ironic crackling energy that permeates an otherwise restful and silent reality.
A point of reflection tonight seems to be in regards to religious identity. Unlike most of my late night tendencies for contemplation, however, I know the stem of this particular train of thought, and in turn, its root.
As part of an introspective exercise, my son was instructed to learn more about the religious identity and customs held within the family. The purpose of the exercise was to help establish not only a religious identity for the child, but to also give them the opportunity to reflect and explore what that identity may mean or define for them. Being taken slightly aback, though nonetheless willing and enthusiastic to be of help in this exercise, I suddenly found myself in the role of spiritual tour-guide.
While I was raised Buddhist and my husband a declared Agnostic, neither of us have ever believed it to be of necessity to impart any religious beliefs or conditioning to our children beyond the scope of their own personal curiosity or expressed desire. I've always held spiritual belief to be of immense value regardless of its form or name, but have also always been very aware and respectful of the mass diversity of spiritual and religious calling. Much to my son's delight, this range of interest in religion has equipped me over the years with a wide array of books, items, and knowledge eager to be shared and discussed.
As much as I would like to say that it is a profoundly human desire to be connected to existence and to subsequently understand its nature, I can't honestly make that claim as I do not, and feel I cannot, speak for anyone (or anything) besides myself. It was in this point that I found the root to my approach in sharing spiritual and religious knowledge with my son.
Part of the beauty of religious belief is that the exploration and study of its inherent variety of thought and perspective can become comparable to that of doing so with language. There have been and will continue to be innumerable languages throughout human existence, and while some are related or have outright borrowed from one another, there is something intrinsically unique to the application of a language's own words. While simple aspects of life may be easily and agreeably translated (e.g. the color of the sky or whether something may be hot or cold to the touch), there are many more things that can escape the purpose of shared reality. Every language has its own way to describe emotional, physical, and spiritual experience, yet some have ways to transcend communication where others may be at a loss for words. Much like the exploration of linguistic variety, through the exploration of differing belief, you can discover and, in turn, identify your own inherent dogmatic language.
It is with this in mind that I hope to help my children, and myself, continue to find what it is that speaks truth to our individual hearts, minds and spirits. My own internal truth may not in fact be resonant with their own, but it will nonetheless be part of my duty as a mother, and honor as a fellow being, to find those shared words of acknowledgment and appreciation for whatever it is that brings light and empathy to their worlds.