Thursday, February 2, 2017

Year of Faiths: Islam

So it's month 2 of my YEAR OF FAITHS adventure, and I have loved spending January immersed in meditation and Eastern Buddhist thought, propped up by yoga cushions and serendipitous meetings, culminating in a mind-bending podcast with Lama Matthew Foster (HERE).

For February, I'm dipping my toes in the religion of Islam. I can't think of a more appropriate time to stand in solidarity with my Muslim friends, and to reveal the beauty and love of this peaceful religion, as all around the world and especially in America, the rhetoric against Muslims has turned toxic and violent. Populism is brewing up a Dark Age in America and the world.

But I'm reminded that in the Dark Ages of Europe, Islamic scholars preserved the treasured teachings of the world's greatest minds, made advances in the sciences, mathematics and other studies, and even developed a penchant for alchemy. In my own little way, I too want to become an alchemist, using this brief immersion experience with Islam to transform:

Ignorance into illumination,
Fear into curiosity,
Xenophobia into Philoxenia (love of the stranger).

For the month of February, dedicated to Islam, I'm going to:
1) Learn the prayer postures of Islam, and pray five times per day
2) Read the Qu'ran, front to back, all 6,236 ayahs
3) Visit a mosque and interact with the Muslim community
4) Study the mystic Rumi
5) Record a podcast with Mahnaz Shabbir, and join her at the Diversity & Inclusion Summit (where she is a guest panelist on behalf of Islam)
6) Learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis, and find some way to help

Journey with me?

 (This summer in Istanbul at the Hagia Sophia, where the Christian and Muslim worlds converge... I'm determined to raise my kids to love ALL cultures and appreciate other religions, not fear them.)