Nam mo om mi to fo. Nam mo om mi to fo. I bent down on my knees, in front of the idols sculpted by humans, three humongous statues sat solemnly in front of me in an eternal earthly repose. Their cemented presence enveloped the whole room, accompanied by the repeated chanting from a derelict radio. Nam mo om mi to fo. Three joss sticks were diminishing in my hands, I prayed to them for so many times, never an appropriate response, but this was my world, the little circle of life that wreathed around me, oblivion to the greater things in store of my life.
Reincarnation, was what I believed, if I do good in this life, I might get a promotion from the gods that I had worshiped since I was borned. I was a bornt Taoist, deeply into this religion, it was all I am at this realm of my thoughts. For nearly two decades, my life was devoted to these idols.
Next week is my 22nd birthday, I thought, I hope… the thought waned away as the recursion of chanting interrupted me Nam mo om mi to fo. I placed the joss sticks above my head, knees peeled unto the cushioned ground, bowed down fully that of the outline of a cocoon, worshiping the gods with my token- joss sticks, and three times, I plunged my face to the ground, the third time was a longer stance, I felt a little dithered, something was bothering me, it was not a bad thing, not a compunction that you would get after doing a wrong thing, or getting a premonition, this was different.
I recovered from my posture, assuaged from the constant cram that I had for the past few weeks, resulting in attending too many of these rituals which required me to remain in a certain posture- crouching, standing, kneeling down, for too long of a time, minimum one posture per hour, I counted in my mind due to the slight nothingness that a conscience that haunted me during the recent rituals, I did not know who to confront.
Joss sticks above my chest, pacing towards the incense tower, where it was not filled because it was not an important ritual that was celebrated worldwide, just a mini pre-ritual for the actual ritual that was going to take flight on my birthday, a utter submission of my body as a medium for the gods and spirits.
The taoist master (Shifu), Chi, stood beside me as I jabbed those joss sticks into the incense tower, “Come here Karen, I have to brief you about the ritual next week.” my mind was half wandering into nothingness, I was not paying attention to what he was talking about, the uncertainty was still prominent in me, “Karen! Are you listening?”
“Yes.” I lied, zeep. zeep. “I need to go now.” gesturing my phone.
He was flabbergasted, and shooed me away. My mum was at the foot of the temple, she was very enlightened, light-spirited. “What is it mum?” I asked out of curiousity, as she walked me out of this place.
“Well… I’m quitting from being a Taoist.” She said nonchalantly.
“What?” I was bewildered. “Why?” A standard response.
She hesitated for a while, “I believe in the one and only now.”
“I thought you said he was a hackneyed God? Only believe in Taoism? What happened to all that lecture that you have given me?” I emphasized.
“Apparently…” she was perplexed by my tone of voice.
“You have turned to a false god.” monotonous interjection by me.
“No…” she was in a nascent stage of being one of His believers.
“What have you become… mum?” fear gripped my tone, uncertainty slunk into my thoughts, the stronghold of a devout, orthodox Taoist, ready to be committed as being a medium to my gods.
She handed me a bible, “read this.” I took it, just for the sake of taking it, and not rejecting my beloved mum who partially put me into all of this, “It’s His word, the truth, the truth, and only the truth of His agape love to us.” I swept the cover of the book, held it in between my arm, and hopped on into the car, inching closer to the next week, where I become a real Taoist, a true medium for the gods.
For the previous piece: Moriah Moments #1