What if we were truly at peace with that?
What if we trusted so deeply that we didn't fear what was to come because we knew it was required?
That is faith.
Personally, I find it difficult at times to have faith. To say I struggle with it is a blatant understatement. I don't necessarily revel in the unknowing quality of the universe. You see, I have a strong thinking mind. There is a certain comfort I feel when things make "logical"sense. Perhaps, I am comforted by the facade, as I reside in my little land of logic, where everything "makes sense". Which is hilarious really, because over and over again, I find that this is not the way life seems to work. I am repeatedly reminded that my mind is like a double edge sword, great for writing a blog, e-course, taking care of the many details of life and work, but for actually "living", not so much. In fact, when I am in my thinking mind I have a history of being one of those people that take risks after I am assured of the outcome. I don't much like climbing mountains, and I have no desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. When I am in my logical mind I am cut off to all the wonder, all the synchronisities, and the miraculous nature of a indistinct reality.
Real life isn't "planned". That has been a huge lesson for me. Storms crop up, the ocean gets wild, fog rolls in. At these times, we realize no amount of "thinking" is going to help us out. We don't have the answers, and whatever is happening often makes no logical sense. I have realized that me- my thinking logical mind- is one of my biggest problems. Whether it's the many stories I convince myself are true, the suffering I feel when I am attached to an outcome or specific plan, or the fact that I think I can do it better than source power, it's just not helping.. Inspirational teacher Wayne Dyer recalls the fact that we spend nine months being created without logical agenda. We do not logically tell the ears to form, or heart to start beating. Yet, at some point after birth, there is a thinking part that takes over, a need to Edge God Out (EGO), as we say "we'll take it from here".
Life has both the capacity to bring us to our knees, and lift us to soar. Faith is the knowing that this is so.
“Faith dares the soul to go farther than it can see” ~William Clark
For a minute, let us assume the position of distance, of perspective. See the world through the eyes of a bird soaring over the earth. From this lofty position we see the interconnectedness. We see the totality of the journey; its beginning and end. Perhaps, we see the jungle we must navigate, leading us to the desert, that leads us to a treacherous river crossing. Perhaps, we see the mountains in the distance we must climb. We see the beginning, we see the end, and the terrain between. From this perspective, we have a knowing that the mountains, the desert, and the jungle are all necessary steps on our journey. The obstacles are part of a bigger picture. We see how the skills we developed in the jungle prepared us for the desert, and the desert our preparation for the mountain. The journey makes total sense when we observe it in its entirety. Yet, when we lose our birds eye view, when we sink back into our earthly bound bodies, and find ourselves deep in that jungle, we often feel blinded by the trees, the vines, the fetid air itself. We cannot even locate the trail ahead. We even forget there is one. Perhaps, we tell ourselves a story about how very stifling hot and humid the jungle is. How scary the wild animals are, how very lost, confused, and alone we feel. Our logical minds tell us how we don't deserve a jungle again, and how it makes no sense. It's not fair. Our thinking minds tell us the jungle is NOT where we should be right now. Dammit!
And yet THAT is exactly where we are. We so easily forget the bigger picture.
But, as always, we have choices.
Maybe we listen to our ego selves. Maybe we try to think our way out of the jungle. Maybe we resist what is, we fight, and fight the vines. We tell ourselves the story of how horrible the jungle is. We say we “should be doing other things“, and “we are better than this stinking place.” We think about how we got there, who's at fault for leading us there, what we are going to do when we get out. We think about how much better life is outside of the jungle, how when we are out, then we'll be happy. We keep our story of suffering alive, resisting what is, maybe long after we get out.
Maybe we don’t resist. Maybe we don't do anything at all but listen. We tap into that inner place beyond our thinking mind, the place that effortlessly created us in those nine months without our help, that place within that seeps truth, like a hidden spring. We get still and we listen and when we feel directed we take action. Maybe we just put one foot in front of the other and cut the vines, systematically clearing our path ahead, with a sense of determination and awareness. Maybe we even notice the beauty of the jungle at times. The birds, the flowers, awake to the subtleties of life. We allow rather than solve. Maybe we even get still enough to connect to a place within that knows what we need to do, so we walk, or we don't, paying attention to the lessons along the way. We know there is a reason we are in the jungle as we are open to what that is.
This is faith.
“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly”
~ Patrick Overton
When I think back to those times when I was at my very lowest, when I thought I may not be able to take another step, what emerges is a realization that what happened was indeed meaningful. There emanated a profound lesson that I needed to learn. The trials I walked through opened me up to a new understanding and compassion. It showed me I had the strength to heal, and to help others. I look back, and I see that life gave me exactly the circumstances I needed to be the person I am now. And it continues to, everyday bringing me to a new way of being. Your journey has the same gifts. There are absolutely no accidents.
Having faith doesn’t mean trusting everyone to do the "right" thing all of the time. Faith doesn't mean we don’t have fear creep into our lives. It doesn't mean we don't lose it, get angry, sad, frustrated, or lonely. Developing faith is a practice. For me, it is a constant dance of control verses allowing, of intellect verses intuition, of literal verses figurative. It means we repeatedly remind ourselves to recognize and honor the odyssey of ourselves and others. We remind ourselves that faith is not logical. We, time and time again, remind ourselves that we may not know the why behind every thing, all the time, yet all is as it should be. Faith is when we know at some point (even if that time isn’t now), that we can accept situations as both lessons and opportunities for growth. Faith is trust.
What if you knew without a doubt…
"If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on the path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again."
— Wayne W. Dyer
Faith asks us to believe it as if this were true because it is
Today a story to reflect on as we ponder faith.
One that has given me faith even in my darkest times.
It reminds me that even in my darkest moment there is always a light.
One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon, and a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening was God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. We could never fly.