Questions about faith

Keep coming up for me. I am circling this idea, looking more closely at what spirituality means to me and what role it might play in my life. I’m fearful that faith requires me to abnegate my mind but I am getting the feeling increasingly that there’s something more, something bigger than this world that you and I inhabit. This is quite a change for me. I’m not sure if cynicism has been my naturall, intellectual response to date or a response to something I simply did not have the answers to.

I am reading this helpful book in an attempt to become clearer about how my spiritual side my work. I came across this quote as I sat down to my morning coffee (at 1pm since it’s a holiday here and I have the boys together – ‘morning’ coffee’s hard to come by):

Faith is the ability to offer our heart to the truth of what is happening, to see our experience as the embodiment of life’s mystery, the present expression of possibility, the conduit connecting us to a bigger reality. When we feel torn away from connection and purpose, we can end up so caught in our state of mind that the whole world seems to exist in reference to our pain.

This resonated for me for reasons (as yet) unknow. I think that the difficulty I have, and have had, with faith is that it requires me to have faith in ‘something.’ Something that is ill-defined and by its very nature, unknowable. It seems to me that we’re told to have faith in (a) god which means “don’t question him/her/it – have faith and your life will be filled with so much more. Don’t seek to understand. Believe, with faith, in all that this god represents and you will be enriched (and have somewhere cool to go when you leave this life).” Kind of thing. Does this make any sense? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I always thought faith was about giving yourself and your intellect up to a belief in something difficult to render tangible. And for this reason, I’ve felt that faith is or can be quite dangerous. It’s asking you to give up your rationality.

Now I’m not so sure that ‘rationality’ is always the key.

Why I liked this quote is it seemed to me to be suggesting that it is faith which makes sense of those things in life that are so difficult to understand. These things are part of a mystery, a possibility that need to be embraced in order for us to go forward with richness and fullness in life. I shun away from the things that don’t seem to make rational sense. Til now, I’ve rejected mystery, unknown possibility. It now strikes me that this is an incredibly egotistical and self-oriented thought process as it does assume that you are the centre of everything. Too often this means that I blame myself always when something goes wrong or doesn’t work out the way I’d hoped. When I hear bad news, I assume it’s because I haven’t been as good a person as I might have been and as such, this bad news is my fate. This is self-flaggelation at its worse.

Now I see that faith is accepting the bad things in life but knowing simultaneously that there will again be good. I’m beginning to understand impermanence and how faith in this impermanence impels us forward and allows us to accept so much more of who we are and the life we lead.

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January 2009
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