i had never been in a mosque before this week. at sunset on tuesday, after tea + hookah with the turkish students, we explored this hilly area in beyoğlu, on the european side of istanbul, north of the golden horn harbor. in our typical itinerant style, roger and i stumbled around for a bit…and ended up in this mosque [it was bound to happen in a city of 3000 of them]
a welcoming nod from an elderly local was all we needed — we creaked open the heavy stone door, took off our shoes, and tiptoed onto the soft [and somehow luscious?] green carpet. my thoughts, from a highly non-divine perspective:
-there is something about the physical feeling of carpet being gingerly squished underneath toes that conjures in me a feeling of protection and homeyness.
-mosque architecture – the space underneath the domed roof, the bright colors of the walls, the absence of statures/figures/icons, and others praying in silence – gives me an incredible sense of serenity.
-this physical feeling + spiritual feeling added together makes me want to duck inside every single mosque i pass here in istanbul. [there are many.]
-however, it is not unaccompanied by an unbalancing feeling of ignorant unfamiliarity…what do i do with my hands? how should i sit? is my uncovered head disrespectful? should i try to pray along with everyone else?
being in istanbul and seeing all of the layers of christianity/islam, old/new, east/west, this/that all piled on top of each other, shaken around, and expected to play nicely together throughout the course of history has opened up my spirituality perspective a great deal. at this point in my life, i don’t think i want to be a fully religious person, but i want to experience other religions. i want to see what they see, feel what they feel…without commitment, without a lasting label, just to get a tasty learning morsel without being forced to call it my own. i realized that this mentality is how i deal with many things — major of study, scheduling too many appointments, dating habits, menu choices…
is this selfish?
Filed under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: architecture, cities, religion, travel