Hoya Paxa

In the Name of God: DC Young Adults Faith Leaders Summit 2014

There are moments in life when you realize that you are one among many; that there is a profound transcendental reality that stiches together all the souls of the world. It is in those moments that the ego is humbled, and the reason for being becomes clear. One of those moments was on Saturday, February 8, where I attended the 2014 DC Young Adult Faith Leaders Summit at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The highlight of the day came during a breakout session called “Prayer Traditions.” As individuals filled the room, they began to form a circle and everyone could see one another. As I looked across the room, in every single face I saw a down-to-earth, authentic desire to share the love of the One with individuals of other faiths. The session first started with individuals sharing personal stories of prayer. One Muslim woman discussed her experience praying on a plane. When she put her head down in prostration and the plane shook from turbulence, she not only felt her frailty, but also the experience of being the only individual in the sky to be praising God. She described the immense peace she felt, her utter contentment. A young lady, who identified as Buddhist, spoke about the first time she chanted. Her experience was profoundly enlightening, allowing her to feel at peace at a time in her life where she was experiencing struggles. One after another, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, described their experiences of prayer. As I listened, I heard reoccurring realizations and inspirations—many found contentment, others found strength. Whatever the feeling, I could relate with every person because I, too, had experienced such things during prayer. It was as if I was in the front seat of a Divine plan, which is greater than one individual or group of individuals. It is a plan that encompasses us all—being and living is about Us.

After this sharing concluded, we engaged in a communal prayer. Each individual volunteered a prayer to the group from their respective religious tradition. I bowed my head and decided to soak up the experience and listen. A Muslim started the prayer, reciting Qur'an. As she recited the verses I could not help but to tear up. There was an immense peace and alchemy that stirred my being. After the Muslim women finished, a Buddhist woman began chanting; then a Christian prayed thanks for the gathering; then a Sikh read a prayer about the Oneness of being; and finally a Gospel singer sang “Let it Shine.” As she sang, everyone started singing with her. Imagine: people of different religious backgrounds, of different races, made of different life experiences, singing together with all their beings “Let it Shine.” I was utterly stunned and enraptured by the esoteric similarity that existed between all of us. Being was beyond the dimensions of exoteric laws; it was beyond colors, names, and other modes. Rather It was found within the soul. The communal prayer signified the Oneness of existence. It was a powerful experience—to feel, to know, to realize that we are one, that we are connected in ways that we might not think. We may be different, but being is universal, and no matter what religion, race, ethnicity, or background we all, in some way, live and learn, grapple and struggle in this transient world. It’s this realization that dismantles the ego and instills Truth: we are all God’s children, and, no matter who we are, He loves every one of us in ways that are unique yet so similar.

 
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