InFocus Series: Meet Tayna Malaspina, Brazil

I was born into a Catholic family and studied part of my childhood in a Catholic college. Around the age of 23, I had a crisis with the Catholic Church. I found some people in the community incoherent and I felt distant from God. There was a relationship, but not an authentic communion. Besides, I missed a more contemplative dimension in my spiritual life It was during this period I was delighted with meditative practice. I though the concept of Bodhisattva wonderful, attaining enlightenment to help and free beings from suffering. But something was still missing. Buddhist philosophy was very rich, but there was no such thing as Christ, and the spiritual vision was a little far from what I believed. Then I found Christian Mediation and from that began one of the richest periods of my spiritual journey.

I can say that until then I had a conceptual vision of God, through what I had learned from books, catechesis and other forms of knowledge. As I learned from Fr Laurence, I was prepared to answer the second question: “Who do people say that I am?” But I was not prepared to answer the second question: “And who do you say that I am?” However, through Christian meditation, I have approached the experience of God, and it is only through experience that we can at least try to answer the second question. The conceptual sense God has been replaced by communion with God. Communion and unity with God lead us to see life differently and to live out of our essence. The present moment us flooded with meaning and we transcend our ego to move toward the other.

Thus, I came to live the original meaning of the word religion. (Religare) linked to our re-connection with God and our essence. I was able to transcend a dogmatic view of an ingrained system of beliefs. Once, they asked Carl Jung if he believed in God and he replied, “No, I know God.” Believing depends on belief, knowing depends on experience.

On the one hand, we have Karl Marx saying that religion is the opium of the people and Freud classifying it as a neurosis. On the other hand, we have John Main and Laurence Freeman, saying that religion leads us to a new unity and to what we are called to be. We have the Dalai Lama saying that the true religion is one that makes us a better person. And Rumi, an Islamic mystic who says: “My religion is to be alive in love. Everyone may be correct, depending on how we relate to religion. Only experience can help us understand these interpretations.”

Christian meditation brought a huge gift to me: the experience of God. And when we are touched by this experience, the feeling of being at home comes along and all other searches become secondary.

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