what is god for you?
mig. in the video you were asked what god is for you. is there something you wish to add?
ag. no, to me it is that simple.
mig. is the word god controversial for you? if yes why?
ag. it isn't because i don't let it be. i grew up with three religions in my life. my parents had a love marriage and were different religions which was radical in india in those days. my father is jain, my mother is hindu and i went to a christian school. so very early in my life i learnt that religions and god are just a name for a feeling and knowing that we can't explain. as a child i enjoyed fasting with my grandparents, and watching them swill their plates with water and drink it to leave no waste. i enjoyed going to hindu temples and learning about all the different animal gods. i enjoyed singing hymns every morning at school and going to church on sundays. i had these three religions and they all seemed fine, i enjoyed different parts of them in different ways, as i've grown older i haven't grown attached to any one in particular and sometimes it helps to say god, sometimes it's the universe, or sometimes i just say magic or miracles. and although i believe in god, religion scares me a little bit, just because of the human attachment to it, and the trouble that it's caused in the world, it's actually heart breaking the way that we use something that is meant to lead us from individualism to universalism to create more separation. for years this used to make me uncomfortable when people talked about god, but now i have learnt to not make god the scapegoat for the global problems with religion. they are different things.
mig. do you think of religion when you hear the word god? if yes, why?
ag. i don't. again, i think it's because i've been a little bit more into religious tools recently. i have a morning routine that i designed, some of it is poetry that has nothing to do with religion and some of it meditation, but i also found this beautiful christian prayer that i really like the meaning of. there's a hindu mantra that i really love and there's a jain prayer song that my grandmother used to sing, and i actually do all three of these almost every morning. they all talk about different gods, but it doesn't mean that to me. to me it's about love, light and service.
mig. do you believe everything happens for a reason, or are we the reason why things happen?
ag. i used to be one of those girls that said "everything happens for a reason". but now i don't think that our lives are mapped out for us, i don't think there's a path and whatever you do the same things will happen. i think that we are given the tools to live out a certain life and if we choose to use them we'll have a wonderful life and we can find lessons in everything that goes wrong, and everything that goes right. in my life i've had to look for the reasons behind dark tragic things that have happened and use them to create something beautiful. but i don't think that's just a given. and, to be honest, who's to say that life wouldn't have been much better if those things hadn't have happened, we don't really know.
i think that there is a choice in what we do every day. there's a choice in how much discipline we put in to the way that we live our lives. there's a choice in how much we choose to look after ourselves and to really think clearly about what we want. those things come from what we've experienced, the way that we've been brought up and the beliefs we hold. once you are making choices that serve you in allowing you to serve, i think that things actually start to become easier and the universe provides for you.
mig. define love. what does love mean for you?
ag. love is everything if you choose to see it.
mig. do you think love is something all life forms share?
mig. what in your opinion can make a relationship last a whole lifetime?
ag. i think that it's about being prepared to constantly grow as yourself and see the other person grow, grow together. it's all just about evolution. for all of us humans that's what we want. it's hard and it's scary when people grow at different rates and in different ways. often we just want to hold on but i think when you can be in a relationship and give each other the space and support to grow that's when you can have something that can last forever.
mig. what have you learned about life so far?
ag. i could write a book on this, ha ha. and then probably another book on how i now saw that all that i thought i had learnt differently. it's ever evolving but a big lesson is that it's not about chasing external goals. you know the gandhi quote 'be the change you wish to see in the world', this idea that you work on yourself before you work externally, i thought that i did that but then i went out into the big world to try and create change and then the big world ate me up a little bit. i did projects that people admired and that made a difference but i forgot to look after myself and to regularly connect back to why i was doing it. the most important thing now in my life, and the thing that i will share with everyone else, is to take precious time for yourself every day. in indian philosophy there's a term called 'artha' , which in sanskrit is 'meaning' but in the hindu purposes of life it's 'creating wealth for yourself and your family in order to better serve the world'. to me that wealth is not money, it's the energy of yourself, your knowledge, your levels of compassion, it's all of the things you can give. i think that it's really important that it all starts with you. you know, a course in miracles teaches that the true purpose of our bodies is to be a messenger of love, and that could be in very different ways, that could be in a film that doesn't appear to be about love, it could be in a dress, it could be in a bill that passes through parliament, but essentially that has to be behind everything. for love to be behind everything, you have to create and nurture it in yourself.
mig. how would you describe us/humanity today?
ag. crazy. we live in a system where half of us are buying things that we don't need with money that we don't have to impress people that we don't like, these things are made by the other half who are essentially slaves to the system and exploited to produce goods that will soon be out of favour. and through all of this we have forgotten to respect and listen to the planet which provides us with everything to start with and is our home. many of us feel disconnected to that way of life, and to each other. there is so much dissatisfaction, loneliness and suffering. but i have faith that we are rising up and beginning the shift towards a low carbon economy and are recognising that community needs to be at the heart of our lives. a rabi shared a parable with me recently, of two men in a boat. one man starts to make a hole in the floor of the boat, and the other is worried and asks him to stop because of fear of drowning. the man responds with 'don't worry, it's only on my side of the boat.' i think that we know that we are on the same boat and remember that we are global citizens that live in a world that is inescapably interconnected and that we need to live with love and compassion in our hearts.
thank you amisha ghadiali for participating in the 'mig' project.
videography by mig. all rights reserved 2014.
photography by mig. all rights reserved 2014.
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