I have tagged 2 blog posts with spirituality:

Confluence of Conscience: A Journey through Spirituality, Religion, and the Role of Journalism

A calm fjord with mountains and a person deep in thought, holding a camera and a religious symbol.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, April 1, 2024, 09:00

Inhaling the sharp scent of the crisp Nordic air this chilly morning, I stare vacantly out of the train window, allowing the serene white-capped fjord landscape to captivate my senses. Now, as one who often immerses herself in the pages of a book or the words that flow from my pen, moments of tranquility such as these feel like an open invitation for introspection, a beckoning call to delve into uncharted thought spaces. Today, my mind is ensnared by the convergence of spirituality and religion.

Frost-kissed window panes inspire a thrilling suspense within me as I wrestle with complex thoughts, wrestling with them like waves in an ocean storm. I know the topics of spirituality and religion can act as harbingers of controversy, divergence; they've intricately woven themselves into the tapestry of human civilization, causing rifts yet also fostering unity. Indeed, they are paradoxical topics that never cease to ignite a sense of marvel within me.

This exuberant thrill is not to be confused with a sense of joy. Rather, it's the exhilaration one feels once immersing oneself in a breathtakingly diverse world of beliefs and spiritual practices. Spirituality – a personal voyage for many, an unquenchable thirst for understanding the mysteries of existence, a pursuit for an intimate companionship with an eternal consciousness. Alike, yet different is Religion – serving more like an old, familiar and often comforting road map with clearly defined paths, designed to guide us towards the ultimate destination, divine connection.

Recently, I chanced upon a nerve-racking report. Journalists – brave guardians of truth – assailed in the midst of their duty, their noble pursuit of truth marred by violence. It sends shivers down my spine. Soldiers of truth, armed only with pens, notebooks and cameras, battered and bruised in an environment where their only shield should be the sanctity of their profession. This is a grim reminder that our shared human values are still under threat, that free speech still isn't inviolable.

Even in such dire straits, the thrill that runs through me as I pen these words does not wane, but aggrandizes. The inherent intermingling of spirituality and journalism, seeking truth and seeking higher purpose, both journeys can be tainted by strife, yet they persist.

As my train carves its way through the frosty countryside, I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility, as a future journalist, to help construct a world where individual beliefs—whether spiritual, religious, or secular—are treated with respect. As we weave our own narratives in our pursuit of truth, may we also help build a world characterized by unity amidst diversity, a world that treasures the sublime beauty of spiritual exploration. Seeking Truth— in all its forms— is a thrilling journey. And so, in undeterred spirit and purpose, we continue forth in our pursuit.

As the snow gently drifts outside my window and the train keeps thundering towards Oslo, I cannot suppress a feeling of thrilling anticipation of the conversations these thoughts may ignite. After all, aren't these potent dialogues, explorations, and excavations within our minds and hearts, the thrilling essence of being human? For me, they certainly are.

Tags: spirituality religion journalism

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Faith in Transit: Musings on Spirituality from a Snowy Oslo-bound Train

A Gazan man praying on a moving train, with an Oslo landscape blurred in the window.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, October 16, 2023, 07:43

I sit on the train to Oslo, fingers poised over the cold screen of my laptop. Another journey, another opportunity to clear the fog of thoughts through writing. Outside, the temperature dips to 3°C. The falling snow seems a mirror of my own frosty inner landscape, reflecting back at me my own melancholy. I nestle deeper into my coat, earphones isolating me from the scattered murmurs of the sleepy commuters.

Today, I am contemplating something bigger, something beyond our daily routines and individual sorrows - spirituality and religion. It's a poignant topic echoing in our mind’s quiet chambers, yet somehow, we turn the volume down. We drown it in the buzz of everyday life, in our struggle for ambition or survival, or both.

Church bells toll in the distance as the train glides past another sleepy town. Its echo nudges me back to the topic at hand; the power of faith. Why do people cling so fiercely to concepts intangible? What compels them to surrender control to deities unseen? Is it fear? Is it love? Or is it desperation? Our human essence, as volatile as it is, seeks solace in the divine. It’s a beacon of light in the labyrinth of existence.

As I ponder over these questions, my thoughts meander towards Ashraf al-Najar, a doting father and diligent engineer, whose story I happened upon this morning on a Norwegian news site, VG. Stranded in Gaza since February due to a border lockdown, he is living a nightmare far removed from the safety and predictability of his job and life in Norway. From the boundaries of Gaza, he is reduced to a mere observer of his daughter's life in Oslo, held captive by circumstances beyond his control.

Al-Najar's predicament resonates with the essence of spirituality to me. It's the desperate call for some divine intervention, for the universe to rearrange itself and liberate him from his current circumstance. It's the fervent prayer of a father separated from his child, yearning for the warmth of her hug, rather than the coldness of satellite connectivity. His story reinforces the belief that sometimes, faith becomes not just a spiritual choice, but an emotional refuge.

Switching off my screen for a moment, I gaze into the gloomy landscape outside. The white of the diminishing snow seems blanched of life. The barren trees stand stark against the grey sky, its branches spread out as if in a silent plea for spring's warmth. Despite the outward gloom, faith and spirituality infuse warmth into this seemingly cold reality.

My musings are cut short by the dying battery symbol on my laptop. Sighing, I pull out my faithful powerbank, weighing the sleek gadget with an inexplicable fondness. It's my saviour in these long commutes, empowering me to capture passing thoughts and fleeting inspirations, to transform cold, hard facts into living tales as real, as palpable as the chill outside.

Back to al-Najar's story - it is a testament to resilience, powered by the enduring faith of a father. His relentless struggle against the toughest of circumstances underlines the vital role of faith in our lives. And in our darkest moments, just as a simple device like powerbank replenishes our phones and laptops, spirituality recharges our souls. Despite being wrapped in a shroud of melancholy, this revelation kindles a small flame of hope within me.

This whole train ride, my thoughts, my emotions, al-Najar’s predicament, they all connect, reminding me both of our frailty and our resilient spirit. And just like this journey, fraught with bitter cold and dreading uncertainties, the exploration of spirituality within us draws a map leading to inner strength, resilience, and surprisingly, a semblance of peace.

The train halts at Oslo, tearing me away from my musings. As I step out, the biting wind snaps at my face, but within me a warm current surges - a strange camaraderie with a stranger, a robust faith in the power of faith, and a renewed resolve to explore this fascinating ocean that is spirituality. Despite the depression gripping me, the frost thawing from the trees convinces me that spring will indeed come, and with it, a brighter disposition of mine.

Tags: journey spirituality faith personal reflection

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