Beliefs are important, as important as the air that we breathe. There are people who are willing to die for their beliefs. Others would do anything to preserve their convictions and promote them to their fellow men with fervor and enthusiasm.
I remember a story I heard long ago about a group of villagers performing a ritual handed down to them by their forefathers. A curious passerby stopped and observed the mystical ritual as it got more and more eerie with the priest preparing to slaughter a goat as a sacrifice to the spirits. In the midst of this episode, the passerby’s attention was directed toward something rather unusual. There was a black cat tied to a tree near the place where the ritual was taking place.
Driven to know more, the onlooker asked someone nearby, “Why is the black cat tied to the tree over there?” The man answered, “We have been doing this for years now, from generation to generation… everytime we perform this ritual, we are required to tie a black cat to a tree to appease the spirits.”
The onlooker wasn’t satisfied with the answer given to him. During his further investigation about the matter, he learned that long long ago, when the ritual was in progress, a particular black cat made it a point to stalk and steal the sacrificial chicken and fish pieces that were meant for the spirits. Angry with this particular cat, the priest ordered the villagers to catch it and tie it to a particular tree during whole the time of the ritual, so that the cat wouldn’t be able to interfere in their sacred religious activity. However, during the course of time, the villagers took it for granted that the black cat was an important part of the ritual and that it is a requirement for the same – to the extent that they even started rationalizing why they need a black cat during the ritual.
One can believe in anything – but believing in something without knowing why – and/or believing in something for the wrong reasons – make us spiritual infants. A true believer knows why he believes in what he believes in and the reasons for his beliefs are crystal clear to him… if nothing goes wrong, the reasons are never short of everything beautiful that makes life a journey worth taking.