I traveled to Israel to be in total immersion and witness how people from the world’s major Abrahamic religions live together in such a small area. I spent almost a month in the Holy Land, traveling to many places in the country from Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akko and Tzfat. I saw separation, division and conflict, but I also had a glimpse of humanity together with respect and acceptance.

The journey to the Holy Land is not like any other journey I have ever experienced in the past. It was a journey that shackled my being and stirred up my soul — a roller coaster of emotions from sadness, anger to happiness, joy and connection. It was definitely an inner journey in the contraction and expansion of my heart.

The Holy Land is a reflection of our collective state: a representation of the situation of humanity with our egos, hurts and pain and religious affiliation and identities — an experience of the collective that represents our individual life.

I saw two brothers from the same father living in the same house but they were invisible to each other. One is a descendant of Isaac and the other is a descendant of Ishmael. Both brothers have amazing hearts and a profound connection to the Divine, yet they are so separate from each other.

Stories and dogmatic beliefs are embedded in their psyches. Additionally, layers of hurt and emotional pain are troubling their beings.

I was welcomed with open arms in each brother’s house. The first question I was asked was where I was from. As soon as they heard that I was originally from Morocco, one brother assumed instantly I was a Moroccan Jew and the other assumed I was a Moroccan Muslim. I felt deeply in my heart that I’m a Jewish and a Muslim lady. Religious affiliations don’t matter for me! The different scriptures and ways of worshipping and contemplating God are given to us for the purpose of uniting with God and to each other, but we get caught up with the dogmas and the religious rules so we have lost the essence of the Truth.

I was absolutely amazed by the love, kindness and generosity in the two brothers, but also deeply saddened by the division between each of them. Each one is holding very tight to the dogmatic and religious beliefs that caused us the loss of the essence of God, which is Love.

Now, the conversation is not about who is right or who is wrong. The conversation is about how we can build bridges and bring people together to accept, respect and unite for the name of Love. Without each other, we cannot assume that we are living in the spirit of God. It is the spirit of separation and destruction that brought us where we are today.

The answer is in the path of love, compassion, mercy and peace that leads us toward forgiveness, acceptance and respect for each other. Then our lives would become a vision of the sublime beauty of God.

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Sanaa Zerrou is a Sufi Master Teacher and lecturer on spiritual teaching. She has been walking the Sufi path since her early twenties. Sanaa is also a teacher and student of the Course in Miracles, a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy. Her life mission is to bring people from all faiths together to awaken to the Universal Truth that unites us all. Sanaa is a philanthropist and a spiritual activist focused on finding solutions to homelessness and fighting hunger and poverty, nationally and globally. Her professional career is dedicated to working with people to improve their work lives and to contribute to local communities for social and humanitarian causes.

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