Today is awkward day.

Which is not at all like opposite day. Or maybe it is. I think perhaps opposite day can be fairly awkward.

Anyway. This is going to be a jumble of a post, but it’s in keeping with the theme of the day.

I have been, at a friend’s insistence, watching “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” a CBC sitcom centered around a small group of Muslims in a little Canadian town, and their mosque, which is run out of the local Anglican church. For the most part, it is hilarious and a welcome change from the fear-mongering “news” you hear most of the time in the media. But that’s not why I’m feeling awkward. In the first season, there’s an episode about a Muslim convert, who is this crazy overzealous creep. He’s very focused on the details of Islam and sort of misses the point (later on, after he discovers he’s alienated himself from the community, he goes and becomes a Christian, and speaks almost entirely in Bible verses).

As often happens, I am now self-conscious. Which is actually not a terrible thing, since I feel it makes me evaluate what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I had a conversation with a new friend who is a Westerner who converted to Islam a few years back that new converts/adopters tend to be very zealous for a while as they learn to calibrate to a new belief system. I think it’s a fairly normal tendency, when changing to a new religious system, to say “I must do everything!” The imam on the show says something wise to the crazy convert, which is “hold on, ease into things.” And intellectually, that’s really smart. Emotionally, though, you want to try everything. Personally, I am looking at a lot of the ritual side of being a Hindu as (and I am embarrassed to admit this) developing good habits. There’s another saying – thirty days makes a habit – that feels right in application to this situation. Because it’s so new, it’s easy to try to convince myself not to meditate every day. “God won’t care if I don’t do that.” Well, in reality, if I don’t form the habits when it’s difficult, then I won’t do them when it’s easy, either.

I do know that I don’t need to form all of the habits of all traditions, though. I’m in overcorrect mode. I want to tell everyone I meet how wonderful this is, how difficult it is, what I’ve learned, etc. When I find someone who is willing to listen, the floodgates open. Another friend, who is pagan (for lack of a better term), confided to me that her significant other has been a practicing Hindu for years, but is reluctant to be open about it. And this little zealot inside wants to go, I don’t know, dress him in a dhoti? Take him to temple?

Thankfully there’s another side of me that is significantly more conservative and rational, that reigns that zealot in and says, “you really don’t have to tell everyone. Why don’t you start with a few things and add new things slowly?” It’s like talking about personal details or eating an entire bag of kumquats (don’t laugh – I did that once) in one sitting. Sometimes it can be too much.

And somewhere in there, I’ll find a balance of things, so that the practice becomes second-nature, much like the practices I learned as a child (so much so that when the Anglican priest comes on the scene, it only takes a few minutes to recognize him as such), and I can focus on the beliefs behind the practice.

Devotion = good. Fanatacism? Not so good. Here’s to finding a balance.

About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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6 Responses to Today is awkward day.

  1. Aamba says:

    You’ll settle into it soon enough! No reason to dampen your excitement. It is completely natural for converts to get very involved in every detail and so what if we get made fun of for it? Enjoy trying everything, so that much later you can pick what makes sense to you and fits into your life.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Thanks for the reassurance! I’m just trying not to be too excited around friends unless I know they’re okay with it. The conversation with the Muslim friend also covered how to figure out who to tell, although admittedly her situation is a bit more delicate than mine.

      I keep finding that I write a post and then I go back to your blog and find almost the same one, but written a year earlier. It’s a good touchstone.

  2. Aamba says:

    It’s true! Isn’t that funny? It seems there really is a natural progression down this path. The same issues come up for both of us!

  3. surya says:

    you both are perfectly normal ladies, just that you all express and most others dont. Hinduism suddenly sweeps onee of ones feet with the immense reality of oneness with the brahman (advaita/nondualism) . Its not just this one birth all there for us to accomplish moksha, we have some more retakes to straighten out our karma by following the path of dharma.The questions lingering and as a matter of fact bothering one all along evaporates instantaneously. And then. People find other belief systems somewhat primitive in evolution, get thoroughly consumed with rituals as a mark of celebration. Thats the reason Isconites go an extra mile in their bhakti path, they turn possessive and ward off any potential ‘contamination’. They, in reality, are as humble as any other realized soul.
    Evangelists are now finding it hard to survive with their just 2k yr old ‘dualism is the only way’ and their way is the most perfect one sloganeering. Americans have to take a leadership role and preselytize, its time now. A scenario wherein spiritual exiles proliferate is looming large, please explain the ‘aham brahmasmi’ doctrine to all. Om shanti.

    • HappyGoth says:

      I think one of the main things that drew me to Sanatana Dharma was that exclusivist message in dualism, that there is one way, God is forever separate, etc. The other was the idea that life is a one-time shot. I am comforted by the thought of rebirths, getting the chance to continue to make progress and learn, even after this particular lifetime, and that that chance is open to everyone, regardless of a person’s chosen path.

      I suppose my goal is the same as it ever was – to be an example to others of the path of dharma, whether that is outwardly Christian (as it was) or Hindu (as it is for me now). It helps to express it, though, because it’s hard to contain that immense reality in one small human self.

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