An ongoing series of inspirational entries
An ongoing series of inspirational entries
A Life of Darkness.
A Life of Darkness.
April 11, 2017
I was convinced that there was no God or that He abandoned me.
I walked in darkness for 38 years believing that our present reality is defined by our five senses. I believed we are born, we live and we die. There is no consciousness before birth or after death. I needed to see in order to believe. I needed evidence in order to trust. I became overly consumed with obtaining material success and attached to the pursuit of perfection; the way of the World.
My ultimate realization was dumbfounding: I never once walked alone in darkness. This is the way of God. Not only did the Lord never leave my side, he in fact carried me.
I was born a Muslim named Nina. In all my attempts to follow Allah, the Muslim God, I never felt the sense of fulfillment, peace and love for myself and the World that I do now. In fact, I felt oppressed and persecuted. What kind of God would lead his people on a path of sadness and misery? My family members were devout muslims and the practice of their faith was placed above all else. Yet they and the rest of the Muslim community treated their children and themselves, behind closed doors of course, like second best. No respect and certainly no real or unconditional love. I wanted no part of following their God. But I was too afraid to leave and I felt trapped having been born into the religion.
At 13 years of age I walked the downtown streets of my birthplace Montreal, in the middle of the night, with the hope that a predator would bestow upon me the worst unimaginable torture before ending my life. For many years on and off after that, I faced debilitating bouts of depression. I always brought myself back from the edge through my God given talent to create Art. As soon as I recovered however, I re-abandoned the practice due to the childhood conditioning that kept me subliminally believing such pursuits were a waste of one's time.
At 23 years of age, while attending the University of Alberta Dentistry program, my classmate succeeded in his attempt at suicide. I was devastated for him but also for myself. The reasoning for his emotional upset at the time too closely paralleled my story. He was forced into studying a career he had no interest in pursuing for himself. He wanted to be an Artist. So did I. We both were miserable and resented the culture behind our forced choice. He derailed through numbing the pain with many kinds of substances. This measure to cope quickly led to his eventual demise.
I was devastated and terrified and took a hiatus from the program due to another bout of debilitating depression and anxiety. I focused once again on my Art and allowed it heal me. I was always in disbelief with the skill level of my finished work and it renewed a sense of Faith. A local artist took notice of my work and was convinced I would succeed if only I believed in myself. Sadly, I couldn't break free from the bondage, as I still was deeply influenced by my childhood conditioning. I had no real confidence in my talent and others telling me how great my work was made no difference to free me from my prison. I went back to U of A to finish Dentistry.
Looking back, I realize must have been delusional or just so thoroughly brainwashed, although at the time I was led to believe I was "doing the right thing". I met my now ex-husband shortly after and with his financial support I left the career that made me miserable in an effort to pursue Psychology. This career was also not a supported choice, as there is much stigma attached to mental health in the Muslim community. They don't acknowledge or have much respect for it. In hindsight, it makes sense as only a perception of total denial would suffice in justifying one's sense of perfection. They are not teachable. They believe they are perfect and not in need of direction. In addition, going to see a counsellor would imply that there is something wrong with their minds. That one is crazy. I was strongly advised not to pursue a career working with "crazy" people.
At 32 years of age, after being diagnosed with multiple chronic debilitating illnesses that have no cure according to medical science, my whole life fell apart. As a result of not being able to function, I lost my job, I had to stop my Master degree in Counselling Psychology and move back in with my parents, I lost my cherished body image by gaining 80 pounds, my husband divorced me after 6 years of marriage and my grandmother who raised me passed away, all in that same year golden year of 2010. With overwhelming depression and no God in sight, I attempted to take my own life the day after Christmas that year.
I spent the next 5 years recovering the pieces of my shattered mind and life from a Secular worldview. Meaning, I still was not overtly conscious that there was a God. I was still living in darkness. At the time, I couldn't have told you where my Soul went while in a comatose state or why I was saved from eternal damnation, as I had long abandoned the idea that there even was such a thing. When I woke from my suicide attempt, I was livid, one may accurately even say possessed, and I know I scared the living daylights out of the poor Psychiatric Resident with my most devilish soul penetrating laugh in response to his question asking if I was happy to be alive.
It wasn't long before I moved back up the ladder of the World after continuing to listen to the secular world beliefs around me. I achieved great material success and worldly approval for a time, as a result. I participated in intensive physical and mental therapy. I lost most of the 80 pounds I gained and achieved a level of healing where my illnesses felt mostly manageable through the use of heavy medications, which I eventually stopped taking due to their level of toxicity. There was still persistent pain in my body and my heart rate was significantly elevated post diagnosis at 100 beats per minute resting.
At 36 years of age, I went back to University and finished my Master's degree in Counselling Psychology. I led groups and started counselling again. I was hired to start a mental health program through Alberta Health Services. I obtained the title Registered Provisional Psychologist, which made me feel like an expert and only continued to feed my Ego. I purchased a home and bought a luxury car. I had many friends and and my colleagues and family adored me. I was the "go to person" for people. Ironically, no matter how materially successful or admired I became, a sense of despair and emptiness persisted. I continued to feel lonely in spite of being constantly surrounded. It was never enough.
I was never enough.
There was no God in sight. I continued to live in darkness overcome by my insatiable pleasure seeking Ego.
Even after the most brutal terrorist acts of 9/11 and countless attacks globally in the years following, I continued to feel trapped and unable to leave my birth religion. I identified strongly with it. I desperately tried to detach the terrorists from the practice of the majority of "peaceful Muslims" in the world. I only recently realized that such a feat is not so simple once one brings a critical eye of discernment to the practice and teachings of the faith.