Praying For An Identity
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Praying For An Identity

My struggle to find a connection to God.

Praying For An Identity

Growing up, the idea of identity was a constant battle. There are some identities that are given to us, and some that are a struggle to discover. My cultural and religious identities were the two that caused me to always question myself and where I belonged. In our society today, we all hope to assimilate with a group of people from common backgrounds. Doing so, the idea of tackling this world alone tends to vanish.

Every Tuesday and Thursday growing up, my whole family would go to temple. We would give our offerings and sing the evening away with prayer. It was a regular thing, go to temple, get some parsad (religious offerings), and drive home. There never was a connection to god. I was Hindu because my parents were, not because of any spiritual connection I had with god. I spent most of my time in temple sitting in the back playing with my Nintendo DS or iPhone.

My lack of religion do not change until about last year, my first year of college. Being in college, it was time to create my own identity, since we branch out of the identity our parents created for us the last eighteen years. The imbalance I was feeling led to the idea of going to temple. This was the first time I went to temple willingly, with a pure heart. My first step into the temple, my feet standing on the cold white marble floor, I finally felt the presence of god I'd failed to feel for the last eighteen years. There was a connection I felt when I was in the middle of this marble room, with a statue Ganesh five feet away from me. God found me. I found God. In that moment I was given an identity I had forever longed for, I was Hindu, not because my parents were, but because I felt spiritually connected. The influence of religion has been present in my daily life ever since; I play morning prayers in the morning as I get ready to tackle the obstacles of college, I read books about self- discovery and realization and try to live my life purely and authenticly.

Religion has given me a positive outlook on life which I had lacked for the longest time. My devotion to Hinduism has allowed me to find community, and it's opened my eyes to imagination. The suppressed society I had built from within was torn down. I ended my personal battle with religious identity. Reflecting on the last couple years, I can say that I have improved in every aspect of my life because of religion. With so much doubt in the world around me, I discovered something to believe in. Life is not easy, but some of that tension and difficulty is relieved with a little prayer and spirituality. Before, going to temple meant sitting in the crowd as an outsider. Now I feel like I am part of a movement of self-discovery and prosperity.

Society is a group of little specks all wondering around, thrown around by everyday obstacles that test the character of who we are. When citizens (the specks) clump up, it makes everyday obstacles easier to overcome. My religious identity has helped me be a better student, friend, son and devotee. Religion has become a social structure: a family, community, a place of hope.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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