I would like to believe that spirituality is gender neutral. If our spirit – that which is beyond mind and body, beyond the influence of space and time, is gender-neutral, then so is perhaps our ‘spiritual path’ that connects us to It.
This is not to say that we live in a gender-neutral physical world. Our very physical inception as humans required the union of two different genders. For some of us, the propagation of our genetic inheritance leads us to one day inherit society’s label of ‘father’ or ‘mother’. In my case, unprepared as (I thought) I was, on that day when she was born, I said – now what?
Many a ‘Fathers Day’ has passed since that day. In times of totally being at sea as a Dad, I have often searched for calm waters and warm breezes among the wisdom memories of my own fathers (birth Dad, my two uncles) and my grandfathers. I have walked, bhikshu bowl in hand, for morsels of advice at the doorsteps of my peers and friends who have walked the path ahead of me. I have asked for many a blessing, invoked many a fervent prayer, in many a house of worship. I have sung many a song to evoke grace and received many a poem in trail, on many a trail of mother nature’s infinitude.
In the process of doing ‘fatherhood’, I have unfolded a ‘becoming a father’. It has slowly dawned on me that the greatest legacy of my ‘fathers’ was their dedication and devotion to their practice. They did not shy away from prayer, from honoring the divine, from practicing their faith, from singing the songs of their mothers and fathers. They subscribed to the practice of silence and stillness as a love-form, speaking soft yet weighty words with lovingly measured tones, and looking me in the eye with tenderness when they deemed that I was in veering towards being lost at sea.
As I reflected on the spirituality of my fathers this week, I realized that I have much to learn and practice. I have discovered that I am fortunate to have a wisdom treasury to draw upon when needed – for they all conspired, in their own way, by their own spiritual walk, to connect me to the treasury of the Infinite.
P.S. This is not an eulogy to my fathers, or fatherhood in general. I realize that your experience(s) as fathers, with your father(s) and those that played such role(s) in your lives, may be far from, or totally opposite of what I have described. No matter your experience(s), I hope that you will choose to reflect a bit, and join us Sunday June 16 at 9amET in our weekly twitter chat in #SpiritChat – Namaste. Kumud.