Religion is a part of people’s everyday lives and inspires such spirited beauty in them.

Our bus passed through a vast desert spotted with villages of earthen huts. We watched caravans of camels winding across the plain. The camels carried heavy bundles, but strutted forward effortlessly, their long necks moving slowly back and forth in perfect sync with every other limb. In the heat of the sun, nomads, their heads wrapped in turbans stained white by sun and sand, rode on camels or paced alongside their trusted animals. Here, under the clear skies of the Iranian desert, was a lifestyle completely foreign to my own. I felt I had gone back in time. As the sun rested in the western horizon, the starlit Persian night made its entrance, so still and quiet that I dozed into a dream.

Opening my eyes minutes later, I was blinded by a flash of light. Neon signs outshone the stars: Mobil, Shell, Exxon, and Texaco. It seemed we had accelerated through centuries in mere minutes, as if the bus had become a time machine.

Everyone but the driver and I were fast asleep. We had reached the outskirts of Tehran where the Shah of Iran had rolled out the red carpet to welcome foreign oil companies.  From where I sat, the city appeared as a neon-lit island floating in a sea of ancient desert.

It was in Tehran that I quietly studied the followers of Islam. Religion was so much a part of their everyday lives and seemed to inspire such beauty in their spirits. I was inspired to see the spiritual integrity of ordinary god-loving Muslims, but shook with trepidation on encountering those who practised extremism in the name of that religion. Seeking the essence of the world’s religions, I hoped to better understand.

Journeying on across the Iranian countryside, we came to Meshed, a place of pilgrimage for Shi’ite Muslims. I must have been a peculiar sight, a young American with hair draped down his back, wearing a turtleneck and pin striped jeans and sitting alone in front of a mosque intermittently reading the Koran and meditating.


Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!



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