Today was another of those “I want to go to the temple but I’m too shy” days, which included a hastily-formed plan with a friend (said plan proved too hasty and fell through, but nobody was upset), some extra devotion at home to make up for it, and a killer (killer) palak paneer.
Now, in the recent past, my inability to do anything social on my own would have frustrated me to no end. However, this wasn’t a day where I felt like that. Today I had a brief feeling of frustration, and then came the realization that I wanted to go to temple.
The main thing that stopped me from going to church was the feeling that I was just going through the motions. My mind would wander and I’d recite the prayers without paying attention (all the while marveling in a detached sort of way how it was that I could be thinking about Wolverine and my taxes and what I was going to have for lunch and whether or not I should cut my hair, but still be reciting the Nicene Creed perfectly), and it became something I felt obligated to do rather than something I felt renewed by. It was certainly not something I thought about, except for the hymns (I like the hymns).
Today I thought about God a lot. Mostly Rama, but Shiva generally works his way in there, too (I mentioned to someone that I think they’re teaching me how to appreciate God in all aspects, rather than feeling like I have to focus on one alone, because there’s never a thought of one that’s not followed by a thought about the other). And then while I was involuntarily thinking about the murti of Ganesha at the Atlanta Hindu Temple (geographically closest to me, and so far the most comfortable) and darshan of Ganesha, I got this idea that it’s just cool that I’m thinking about that at all. I’ve found that thing I thought I’d lost, which is a longing to be in the presence of the divine.
So I made an extra-special breakfast to offer to Rama, cleaned and decorated my home mandir, and had a nice quiet moment alone with God. And then, because I was feeling particularly motivated, after running some errands I ordered some chaat like a pro (completely forgot to eat lunch at the regular time, but the chaat shop owner guy saying “Have you been to India? You ordered that perfectly!” made up for it), had a friendly conversation with the normally sullen clerk at Taj foods, and made my first palak paneer, thanks to this awesome recipe.
Thanks, God. It was a great day.