My Spiritual Journey – Egypt, I just got back home from Iran in November 2005. I had only been back home in the UK for three weeks, when I knew that I had to go to Egypt. It’s true to say I was not looking forward to Christmas but it had nothing to do with that. Why did spirit want me to go? All I did know was I had to go and I had my return flights booked. It was my friend Laurie who insisted I book a hotel room in advance for the first two nights there, after that I would be in the hands of spirit.
I have an on-line Internet friend in Egypt called Shaban; we had been talking on line for about ten months but I didn’t even tell him that I was going to his country until two days before going, telling him if I had time I would call and meet up with him. He thought I was mad going to his country, not knowing where or what I would be doing after my first two nights in a 5 star Hotel.
I left Alexandria to travel to Cairo by train on my own, not knowing that Shaban would be at a meeting in the same city as me that day (Cairo). After talking with him on the phone, Shaban came to my hotel and it felt as if we had known each other for years. We just talked and talked non stop like great long lost friends – he kept telling me that I was a mad English man travelling on my own. After spending a day with me showing me the city of Cairo, Shaban had to go back to the city where he works. He left that evening, I was now on my own, or so I thought. Later that night I received a phone call from Shaban asking me if I was okay; talking again for a long time he agreed to come with me around Egypt and show me his country. Taking twenty days leave from his job he travelled back down to Cairo the next day. We travelled from north to the south having a great time, but it was the Egyptian people that I wanted to get to know – how they lived, their culture, their Religion, – being an Islamic Country.
Egypt – Finding True Spirituality
Finding True Spirituality
My time in Egypt was one of the most memorable times of my life and one that I will never forget, for as long as I shall live. Whilst in Egypt I visited most of the greatest cities and tourist areas, including the temples and other historical places, like the Valley of the Kings. I will never forget the city behind the city – what I mean by this is the people who make up the population of those cities.
With the help of my good friend Shaban, age 27 and who can speak Arabic, English and German, I was shown that as an older person, we don’t know everything about life just because we are older and should know what is right and wrong. The wisdom and experience that I found with this young man, one can only say was just wonderful and inspiring, and we all have much to learn, no matter how old we are.
My friend – Shaban
Shaban did so much for me, taking me to see what I call ‘the real people’, the people who made the country what it is! He, his family and friends showed me that “to have nothing is to have everything, and if you have everything you have nothing if you don’t have anyone to share it with”.
We would walk deep into the heart of the city until four or five o’clock in the morning, meeting and talking with the locals in their shops, restaurants and the market places, finding out how the people lived and what made them so different from other middle Eastern countries. What I was allowed to see and feel was my first hand experience to understanding the Islamic and Muslim way of life, coming to realise it is very much the same as many other religions. Caring, sharing and giving to others first, before you take for yourself.
Village in Egypt
The cities I visited included Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor and Aswan but the most important place to me was in Upper Egypt. There, in a small village, I met so many wonderful, caring and the kindest people I have ever met in my life. They had nothing to give me apart from themselves, but they gave me everything that I needed. The people in that small village showed me the true meaning of Spirituality for all mankind – the human race. They didn’t care about what I had or what I could give them, all they wanted to do was to please me, and to give to me whatever they had; they invited me to visit their homes for a cup of tea, or to eat something with them and their families.
Despite their hardships, living off the land and just trying to survive whilst still holding on to their culture and family values was the most important thing to them. The very same values we once had here in England some forty or fifty years ago. Shaban, who gave so much of his own time and of himself wanted nothing in return, giving me a true picture of his and his people’s way of life and it will live with me for the rest of my life. It was there, that I realised that my heart and my love for those people and their country became so overwhelming.
Shaban’s home village
Shaban offered me the chance to visit his village to meet his family and friends but he warned me that his Village is very poor. We did have some problems within our friendship; one of them was over money because he would not let me pay for anything -taxis, tickets, hotels – he booked everything using his own money, saving me a lot. He showed me the real kindness of the Egyptian people that it is their custom to look after their guests.
I stayed at Shaban’s home in a small village, many miles off the beaten track fifteen days. Each morning I was awakened early by the prayers of Islam broadcast from on high through huge speakers on the nearby mosque. As much as I understood and respected the religious beliefs of the villagers, I felt drawn towards the Spirituality of the locals living in difficult circumstances in a harsh environment and without many of the necessities that, at home I take for granted.
They opened up their hearts, their minds, and their homes. By sharing their food with me, they gave me everything. However, before you think we are stepping too far back into the past here, mobile phones and black and white TVs, were two luxuries that some people enjoyed, but not all.
I had made friends with many families and had been welcomed as a guest into their homes, but I was taken aback when my friend asked me to go and see his sick aunt whom they thought was coming to the end of her days. All the family had been summoned to come and see her before she passed away. Somewhat nervously I went in and sat by the lady’s bedside, which was made up of clay. A little while later my friend noticed I was holding her hand. He asked me to let go of her hand as it is forbidden for a stranger to touch women in many countries. I pointed out that she had in fact taken my hand and held it gently for almost a quarter of an hour. Then he understood and continued talking with the rest of the family.
Naturally, there was a language barrier between myself and the aunt, but I started asking her questions in my mind and was taken aback when she either nodded ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I asked her more questions and could even sense her asking me too. As much as I was giving her Spirit healing, I felt this wonderful warmth emanating from her towards and into me. Although we could not speak to each other, we were communicating on a different level and I felt we were certainly touching each other’s soul.
I asked Spirit to help and give her the healing she needed. I heard a few days later that she was recovering and soon after that she was up and about again. I was feeling stronger too, and it just made me think that wherever you travel in life and whomever you meet, there is a commonalty of spirit and Spirituality within us all.
Shaban will never know how much he did for me, showing me the culture and the religion of his country. It proved to me that it does not matter what religion or beliefs one has, there is Spirituality in every one of us-not just in Shaban but all the people I met over there.
Returning home to the U.K. I sat in my house thinking about what I had experienced in Egypt and how much I missed their way of life fulfilling my inner spirit, which makes me who and what I am – a free spirit trying to achieve my own Spiritual pathway here in this lifetime.
With the help of my church at Maidenhead and friends I sent out sixteen cases of much needed clothes, books and teaching equipment for the children and people of the village where I stayed. I felt this was one small way in which I could repay them and thank them for their generous hospitality and friendship even though they had neither wanted nor expected anything in return from me.
Egypt is truly a wonderful country with all kinds of wonderful things to see. When people say that they have been to Egypt and what a wonderful country it is, have they really seen the real Egypt ?and have they really met the real people as I did? Did they really learn anything about today’s culture, the Islamic religion or about the Egyptian people?
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