My name is Luke and this is my story of how I accepted Islam.
I was born in Sydney Australia to an Australian born mother and an Egyptian born, Greek Italian father, who migrated to Australia in his thirties.
My mother had been a nun prior to her marriage to my father, so my siblings and I grew up with Sunday church and Catholic ideals. We gradually stopped going to church soon after my mother passed away when I was 11 years old. I know that I personally developed a bit of resentment towards a God that I believed could take my mother away from us when we needed her most. At age 11, I guess this was my way of dealing with it.
I think I never actually disbelieved in God. It was more a disbelief in the church and what it asked me to believe. I liked (and felt) the idea of a single, universal source of everything, and creator, not a fatherly godhead.
In my late 20s I was inspired by a friend to read self-development and business books. More impacting, I was introduced to audiobooks and the idea that my car was my own personal rolling university where I could use my travel time (and my gym workout times too for that matter) to acquire my own personal master’s degree in whatever I chose learn through the audiobooks. At the same time I was told that reading 100 business books is the equivalent of an MBA, so that is what I was aiming for (given I didn’t have time to go to university).
I started listening to audiobooks and seminar recordings including those by motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. They set me on a path of self-discovery where I explored the development of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) through its many celebrated teachers, all the way back to its creators (where I got deeply involved). I also listened to and read many other self-development methodologies which I came across during my searches.
One of the tangents I explored was a marketing author named Joe Vitale whom you may recognise from his appearance on the movie “The Secret”. He was using NLP and hypnosis in marketing, which appealed to me for my branding and marketing business. I listened to and read everything by Joe.
Through his book “Zero Limits”, Joe and his coauthor, Ihaleakala Hew Len, I discovered something truly mind and heart shifting, the ancient art of Hooponopono. Their book features and authenticates the unusual story of Dr. Hew Len, where he closed a criminal insanity facility in Hawaii by curing all the inmates. He did this without so much as meeting with any of them, rather he simply practiced the simple yet powerful process of Ho?oponopono.
The Hooponopono process in Dr. Hew Len’s words, “is essentially about complete freedom from the past”. This cleansing process starts with acknowledging that there is one divine source. The first step is to first accept that I am responsible for everything wrong in my life (even if I may not be knowingly at fault). The problem is always within, never without, so with a fault in mind I address the divine and say “I am sorry”, I then ask the divine to clear it from my soul (and our shared consciousness) by asking “Please forgive me” and I release it knowing that it will be taken and I give thanks saying “Thank you” and finally acknowledging the divine’s constant love for me I say “I love you”.
I practiced Hooponopono regularly for about 7 months and I was feeling free and clear. I felt in touch with the divine and was receiving clear inspirations in my life and my work where my role is to solve creative challenges. For example these inspirations at work are ideas or concepts that flash into my mind and when they do, they feel right and complete, like I “know” them.
During one cleansing session one Saturday in my home, I received out of the blue one such inspiration, whole and complete, and it was a resounding message to “Read the Qur’an”. The closest interaction I had with any Muslim prior to this was some 9 years prior. So I ordered a copy of the Qur’an from Amazon.
While I was regularly reading business books, I would easily read a 400 page textbook in 3 or 4 days. The translation of the Qur’an took a month to read (funnily enough it was through Ramadan 2007). It was so rich in content and meaning, that I simply could not read it in the same way. Time and again I had to reread, or stop to ponder verses.
There were so many similarities between Hooponopono and Islam, it blew me away. Basically I understood Islam to be submission to the divine and a similar structured prayer routine to bring you to a zero state. About half way through the Qur’an I knew that I could not deny the truth of what I was reading and although I did not want to be a Muslim (for all the stereotypical, media driven reasons), I knew that I was one.
That is how I came into Islam. Now I see it as the greatest gift ever.