The Formative Faiths and Stories that Raised Me

As a child, I was taught and raised with a joy and respect for each faith. My parents would tell me stories about all faiths, and their folklore.

I attribute this to my father’s joy of storytelling, but more than that I think there was a profound respect and belief that my parents and even grandparents had in other faiths. Perhaps, it was because my mom’s side of the family was raised in South Africa in neighborhoods relegated to immigrants. With Jewish, Christian and Muslim neighbors in a new country, I imagine our neighbors became our community. I have heard countless stories about the grouped helped one and other.

On my Dad’s side, I imagine my father being educated in New Zealand and also his love of poetry ensured my sister and I would be exposed to all faiths.

I never thought about it consciously, but I am one of many faiths (not God per second, but an exploration of the human condition). Sarika was raised Jain. I was raised Hindu. We both practice Buddhism, but also have strong affinities to anything sacred.

Yesterday, we had the joy of watching Walk With Me, a documentary about Plum Village and the Thich Naht Hanh at the Rubin Museum.

Today, we had the joy of going to Riverside Church to enjoy the weekly service.

I am grateful for the role and influence of the many faiths and beliefs that have created my personal narrative and those Sarika and I hope to pass to Lila.

Plum Village Songs

Plum Village songs have long been a source of joy and practice for Sarika and I. Here is one I particularly enjoy:

Breathing in, breathing out.

Breathing in, breathing out.

I am fresh as the dew.

I am solid as a mountain.

I am firm as the earth.

I am free.

Breathing in, breathing out.

I am water reflecting

What is real, what is true,

And I feel there is space

Deep inside of me.

I am free, I am free, I am free.