On The Thought of Faith
I want to start by saying thank you to Christy Sillman for having the courage to post this question “Given the strong feelings lately on this group I may be totally playing with fire by asking this, but, for my own curiosity and spiritual journey I wonder what role religion has played in your life. NO JUDGEMENT AT ALL – That’s the rule if you respond to this post! I was raised Catholic and continue to consider myself catholic, but I’ve been recently exploring Buddhism and the spiritual clarity found with meditation. Anyways, I’m just curious what others have experienced and how religion has helped them, or not. Thanks!” This post set me on the path to reexamine my own Faith
That question started as you can imagine a long and lengthy discussion of religion and faith. I have explored some religions on my own but, do not claim to be an expert in any way. If you catch me in a mistake then I’m sure I will have made one. However, I have yet to find in any organized religion anything that can not be explained away by some scripture. It’s the reason I feel that all of the religions in the world have gotten it wrong. But Faith! Faith is something entirely different. Every religion talks about Faith. Faith in God, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh and Buddha. Every religion is the right religion, but you must have Faith. There where a lot of comments on Christy’s Post about Who was what religion and who changed and if you did or didn’t have Faith.
Here is what I have to say about Faith. I listen to people talk about it. The people in the CHD community, my regular community, the religious community for sure. I see a lot of people go to church, temple, synagogue, and pull out their prayer rug. If you ask them why? They tell you it is their Faith. They do these things because, they have Faith in their religion, their religious leader or their particular religious scripture. They HAVE Faith. As if Faith was an object. As if the person who belonged to the right religion had the REAL Faith and everyone elses Faith was somehow counterfeit. I often wonder what people would do if you asked them show me Faith? People talk about putting on their Faith or gaining their Faith as if it where a coat or a medal of honor to be worn for other to see.
Faith isn’t an object. You can’t see, touch, taste, hear or smell it. You can’t even be sure that the person talking to you truly has it. Faith isn’t tangible. You can’t gain it from a book, person or particular religion. You have to have it. You have to breed it in your heart or your soul. It has to come from you. It has to be yours and only yours. Only you can know what your Faith is. Only you can know how strong your Faith is. Only YOU! Sure you can show me acts of Faith or Talk about acts of Faith. But I can’t see your Faith inside you.
Faith for me is more like a feeling. Faith is like Love, Empathy, Compassion, Jealousy, Anger, Hatred and Fear. You can have them. You can contain them within your being, your heart, your soul. Use them as tools to help or hurt yourself or others through your own actions. But you can’t give them away. I can’t give you Faith, although I can have Faith in you. I can’t give you Love, although I can Love you. I can’t give you compassion, although I can treat you compassionately. By the very same token I can’t give you Hate, although I could Hate you. I can’t give you Anger, although I can be angry at you. And I can’t give you fear, Although I can be afraid of you.
To me Faith works like other feelings. You don’t need someone to tell you about your Faith. It is yours. YOU own it. Like all feelings the more you nurture them the more they grow. The same is true for all feelings. Both the good and the bad. Here’s how I practice my life. I try to cultivate Faith, Love, Compassion and Empathy with in myself. I do that by practicing acts of kindness. By helping when I can and believing that I am meant to be there. I mindfuly tell myself to believe. It is not something that happens overnight. You have to work at it, the same way you would work at anything else. It takes practice and time. You have to accept that at times you will make a mistake. You have to tell yourself that there is a reason. You see the last thing I want to share about my Belief in Faith, Love, Compassion and Empathy is that the more you practice them the more they grow within you. The more space they take up the less room for things like Jealousy, Hatred, Anger and Fear.