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Choosing My Religion Essay

1417 words - 6 pages

“That’s Me in The Spotlight, Choosing My Religion”
America is a phenomenal place to live if you’re interested in cultures other than one’s own. As a melting pot, America hosts a variety of religious backgrounds and ethnicities, all with their own cultures and ideas. The first amendment grants American citizens the right to free speech as well as freedom of religion, meaning that all American’s are free to practice whatever religion they choose. With so many options, many Americans are reaching out and looking for a new religion. What draws someone to a religion is a complicated science. Ideally, one might look for a religion that expresses ideas similar to ones own, or totally opposite ones own ideas. For many Americans, Eastern religions are intriguing and different and the practices of these religions are very attractive. Stepping away from the Abrahamic religions, American’s who practice Dharmic religions like Buddhism and Hinduism are seemingly drawn to the differences these religions have compared to traditional religions practiced in America. Eastern religions are pretty attractive in terms of a religion. Buddhism, brought to the US in the 19th century by East Asian immigrants, is a very serene religion. Hinduism, practiced by more than 400,000 people in the US, is a peaceful religion as well. Perhaps the hectic lifestyle of American’s lead them to seek a religion where focus and peace could help them reach a state of enlightenment. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, travelled across Italy, India and Indonesia to search for inner peace and balance after her life became too much and she needed an escape. Like many American’s religion is a security blanket. It’s there to keep them warm, comfort them and as a guide when they need redirection. For Gilbert, looking for herself meant rifling through a few countries and trying of different religions and cultures to help her guide herself to a place of comfort. While this may not be the typical way of looking for a new religion to practice or admire, it represents how Americans find and practice Eastern religions. Americans practice Eastern religions in many ways, some by picking up a few of the practices, and others as devoted followers, but all because they’re looking for some calm in the center of the storm that is American life.
Elizabeth Gilbert had spent 47 days crying on her floor when she realized she needed escape (Gilbert, 19). Her life had become full of dread and Gilbert was drowning in her own despair, “I don’t want to be married anymore. In daylight hours, I refused that thought, but at night it would consume me. What a catastrophe,” (Gilbert, 20). Gilbert’s marriage to, now ex husband, David was holding Gilbert back and she felt forced to give up her aspirations and dreams for a husband, a baby and a white picket fence that was locking out the world. Gilbert needed escape, and she found it in Hinduism with the help of a spiritual teacher, ironically, introduced to her...

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