Chapter 1 | The Searching
I was searching for answers, I was searching for peace of mind, I was searching for myself and found a teacher, who became the monk in my non-monastic life.
It all started in the pandemic, or long before that, I wasn’t sure.
That feeling of discontent. The nagging voice in my head that kept poking me for months with questions. The thirst of getting answers that might fill a gap in my soul and hope the whole world made more sense.
#Question 1 — Is there life after death?
“If you do what is told, you will get a reward from God” my mom said once. I listened and said nothing, although those sentences stirred something in me. A conflict.
Why was it always about reward and punishment? Could we just live and do good to others because it was something that a good human being do? Not because we expect something in return or because of the fear being burnt in hell. So if that was true, then all that we did in this world was just to save ourselves from the fire. It sure sounds selfish.
Raised as a muslim, I should knew better not to ask such question.
But, what do I believe? Why did my heart say otherwise? There must be more beyond reward and punishment, there must be a meaning to everything we do in this life, there must be a purpose for why we are living in this world.
Deep inside, I always believe in reincarnation, don’t ask me how but I just felt it . There must be a life after death. The thought that people live then die and go to heaven or hell for eternity is just hard to believe. So there’s only one life and that’s it? What a waste of time, space and creation.
But this concept of reincarnation is non-existence in Abrahamic religions. And so, this question had shaken me to the core of my existence.
2nd question — What is the meaning of life and what is my purpose in this life?
Again, tough question.
I love what I do, I love my job and all the places I was working at.
But, once again the pandemic had done its magic. This is the moment where everybody are going within and started to see their life up close and personal. No distraction, we spent 24 hours with ourselves.
We started to see holes in our perfect life, the ugly side of our beautiful self, the unfulfilled desire that was covered by worldly status and material quest.
During the pandemic, the works were getting crazier, the line between home and work getting blurred. It was a constant back to back meeting until late at night.
That was the time I started to question the meaning of life. If life itself is a school, then what task do I need to complete and learn in this life? And since I believe in reincarnation, I also believe if I fail to learn in this life, I will go back to earth in the next life and finish all the things that I need to learn or complete. Then came the sub-question.
” what is the purpose of my life? Why do I exist?”
Life can not be just an all day meetings, project by project, a constant problem solving. There was this feeling inside me that was saying I could do more in my life, I could help people, have more personal impact. If I can not impact the whole nation, at least the whole community. If I can not impact the whole community, at least I can change a person. Have I?
I was obsessed with finding the purpose of my life, how can I do more?
3rd question — What is love?
For some, this question might be the easiest to answer. But for me it contains the hardest truth.
I never questioned love until recently. I thought I knew what love is, but was it love that I felt? Or was it something else. I’m not sure I ever felt love. I didn’t know what love was nor I can relate to the love songs and movies out there. I could not understand why people were so crazy about love.
I bet you are asking, Really? all this time? Well, in my healing journey later, I needed to dig deeper into myself, my childhood and my past before I finally found the answer — but let’s keep the story for next time.
Once I asked the universe about love. What is love? Could you show me what love is?
Strangely, a couple of days later, I had a dream. In my dream I met someone whose face I could not see, but I knew that person was wearing all white and we were standing on a cliff. It was not what we did on that cliff that matters, but it was what I felt in that very moment that forever changed my life.
I felt a tremendous sense of love, it was like I was standing inside a giant bubble of love. It was so overwhelming that I knew it must not be from this world. I could still feel the love enveloping me when I woke up, and I said to myself “Wow.. what was that? Was that love? Was that love from God? If that was love from God, well I want to meet God right now”
And so, my journey to find answers continued. Until one day I felt a strong urge to go to Bali, the journey that had shifted my whole life into different directions, the journey that had brought me back to my path. The journey that had given me all the answers I need and answers were not the only thing I found — but, again, that’s a different story :)
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Note to readers : I’m not a professional writer. One of the reason for me to write this essay is to share my journey with you and hope somehow it can give you inspiration or even courage to move with your own journey. Maybe some of you read this essay because you have seen a glimpse of my story in IG, which then I can tell you it is not the whole story and will never be, but nor did this essay. This essay was written based on my limited knowledge of life and as a human being I might be deluded to my own perception.
Another reason is to speak my truth, but sometimes the truth is a pill that is hard to chew. If somehow you find my story a bit too hard to resonate with, I can understand and maybe it is not the right time for us yet.