I was only eighteen when a cousin introduced the Christians to me, the Pentecostals. They were (are) a lively bunch. They stomped on the ground till dust filled the atmosphere and the women’s wrappers dropped.
I was only sixteen years old when an uncle of mine introduced me to the documents of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC). He showed me a box, filled with works of literature, tiny pamphlets, well-written in old-fashioned English; just the same you find in Bibles. There was a copy of the Initiation Manual of AMORC. I went through it and tried to initiate myself into the Rosicrucian Order. I could not disappear. I could not move out of the room where I was. I bought candles and set up an altar just like I was instructed. I just did not disappear. I was angered.
I was only seventeen when a friend introduced me to Eckankar. I loved the idea of it. The belief that we do not die; we just move on to other worlds. The simplistic explanation of life before and after. What you were before is an offshoot of what you are now, what you do now determines the next life. So that beggar that grovels on the dust and is covered with scabs was Adolf Hitler in his past life. All we were admonished to do was Love. They also had the Living Masters; men to cater for our needs in every epoch. This gave it the semblance of a Breathing Religion’. I experienced first problems when I went through the roll of past Living Masers and saw only one woman. I abhor religions that do not uphold the Yin and Yang. Then I could not Soul Travel. That esoteric joy of this sect eluded me. I focused on my Third Eye and chanted the Hu, I blocked out everything (even thoughts of my girlfriend). Still, my spirit did not move. I was angered.
I was only eighteen when a cousin introduced the Christians to me, the Pentecostals. They were (are) a lively bunch. They stomped on the ground till dust filled the atmosphere and the women’s wrappers dropped. They chanted in sweet spiritual deliriousness until saliva drooled. They believed in Heaven. I like them. I like the Bible. I went through it and loved the stories. I tried to speak in tongues; they call it Baptism of Fire. I could not. I tried to freestyle by opening my mouth to see what will come out. It did not work. I was angered.
I was nineteen and in the University when my roommate introduced me to Islam. One harmattan morning in December 2010, I hit my nose against the ground while attempting to pray. Drops of blood plopped out of my left nostril, and lay before my eyes on the prayer mat. Lurching back until I knelt with my head once more upright, I found that tears had sprung to my eyes. At that moment, I brushed tears contemptuously from my lashes. I resolved never again to scrape my head against the earth for any god or man.
Once in a while, I go around the Catholic Church for mass. I love the sanctity. I love the way you can lose yourself in the silence and age long rituals. I love the muttering of foreign languages (which I do not understand).
Maybe, this is true religion. Quietude. Acts of kindness to my fellow man. Nothing transcendental. No promises of bread or resurrection. Just peace-inner peace-and soothing sounds you do not understand.
30 Days 30 Voices series is a series in which young Nigerians share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.