For me, remembrance used to hold the meaning of remembering God—God as something separate and longed for, that had a feeling of great distance—some energy that was perfect, and that had also made imperfect me.
I’ve always had difficulty speaking or writing the word “God” because it was not allowed in the atheist home that I grew up in. There was not a spoken rule about it, but when I made the mistake of saying that word, both of my parents’ faces shut down; clearly, the topic was closed—not a mistake that I made a second time. My faith went underground, and did not resurface until I was a young adult, and no longer living at home.
The spiritual path that I chose had a singing practice of remembrance. For decades, I loved this practice, immersed myself in it, and became one of the community leaders of it.
Today, remembrance holds a completely different meaning for me; it means remembering to be present right now—wide open, and curious. Innocent. Without preconceptions about what the moment may hold, or bring. I have no “practice” associated with remembrance at all—other than sitting quietly in the moment. The sense that God is distant, or separate, has fallen away.
I am still not terribly comfortable with the word God, because its context in our culture seems to imply separation. And the word is loaded—each person has a different interpretation which they most likely grew up with. People tend to leap to their stored images and memories which they either cling to or reject. It makes having an open conversation difficult.
One of my deepest pleasures is sitting with a group of people quietly. Talking is not required to communicate, and the space radiates with vitality. If speaking does arise, it comes directly from the moment. Fresh. Alive. Remembrance.
© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
I do not know who took this photo of the Dervish turn, one form of remembrance, decades ago.