Faith. Yeah, I know. I’m gonna go there. If you’d like to shut the computer and stop reading, please feel free to do so. But I really hope you don’t. I really hope you and others can find the courage to have this conversation. Because the lack of faith I see among my fellow humans (faith in God, spirit, universe, source) is enamoring to me and, albeit, quite sad. If you think about it, faith is what has gotten us here. Today. This moment. That house you’re sitting in, cozy and warm, away from the massive western Mass thunderstorm outside while you’re reading this? Part of the building of that house involved faith. Faith in engineering knowledge, faith in math, faith in constructive skill, faith in ideas. Imagination, the very tool that is used to even think UP the building of a house, is centered around faith. When we imagine something, we have no idea if it can actually happen. We have to have a certain amount of faith that it might be possible, or else why try? Imagination, the scientists say, is the single thing that separated Homo Sapiens from Neanderthals on the “survival of the fittest” map. It is said that because Homo Sapiens could IMAGINE that they could die for lack of resources, they then planned for the future by creating containers to hold water which they then buried to be drank in times of drought. And, guess what? Drought was had and water was drank and Homo Sapiens lived while Neanderthal became extinct. So faith has served us LITERALLY from the beginning of time. Ironically, the smarter and more technologically advanced we become, the less faith we as individuals seem to have. For some reason, people have trouble marrying science and faith as though one does not need the other. But, I assure you. Science is born of none other than imagination. And hypotheses are proven because someone had faith that they might be true. The conversation starts to become skewed when we let our teeny tiny human definitions of just exactly what faith IS or how it SHOULD be defined get in the way of our attempts at letting it in. I mean, REALLY letting it in.
Cultures all over the world have defined their ideas of faith and how it serves them. Countless religions have organized historical accounts with present day experiences into ritual and habituated actions that bring some sort of understanding to their followers. It’s natural for humans to come together in like-minded communities based on certain belief systems and opinions. It is the village mindset. We are social creatures and, personally, I think that aids in our overall “fitness” as a species. Anyway, back to faith. Everyone has their own definition of what that means for them but, basically speaking, faith is believing in something that you can’t see. I have FAITH that my friend will call me back because she likes me. I have FAITH that the storm will come because the radar mentioned it might. I have FAITH that when I get really scared, I’ll be able to come out of that somehow. Faith goes on and on. For me, I have faith in God. (Oh my goodness, did she SAY that? On the INTERNET? Is she a Duggar? I think I’m going to stop reading here.)
Never in all my 37 years have I encountered so many people in my midst who are simply afraid to even MENTION the word God. News flash: This post is not about God. It’s about faith. I happen to use the word God because that word feels like home to me. Saying ‘source’ or ‘universe’ or whatever else actually feels LESS powerfully omnipotent than saying God. But I know people who feel the opposite and I completely respect that. I have a friend who spells God ‘gd.’ Can’t even capitalize it or add the ‘o.’ To each their own, really. It’s simple semantics, which brings me to my next point. I have witnessed small minds get caught up on trite words that really miss the boat when talking about faith. What the hell are we so afraid of? For me, faith looks like this: I identify as a pantheologist. I take many things from many branches of faiths to construct my own. Because, why NOT. I can’t imagine that one way of thinking is THEE one right way. I have met so many people from all over the world who have proven this to me. If I’m being honest, I identify most with Taoism (google it). But I also regularly attend my local Episcopal Church because I get so much out of ritual and being in that gorgeous space with gorgeous people around me who accept every single human being into that space. I’m currently enrolled in an adult confirmation class there so that I may be ‘received’ by the Bishop in June. But the main reason I go to that class is because I love to talk about God and I want to be around others who aren’t afraid to go to the scary places that can sometimes be involved with that. At the same time I have ALSO embarked on an apprenticeship to learn the magick of witchcraft. (Holy shit. She is into witches? Well, I guess she does live near Salem. And she IS a lefty. Maybe I’ll stop reading here.) I’m not going to explain away your misconceptions and superstitions in this post because I simply could not care less. This post is about faith. In addition to all this, I work a rigorous 12 step program that is deeply and soundly rooted in spirituality. So I have a lot of angles going on. ALL of my endeavors in this arena have to do with faith and harnessing what was here before me (uh, the earth and stars and all the things) to help me understand how to navigate this existence. I’m here on earth to go to fucking SCHOOL. I’m not here to argue or point my finger or let my fear and ignorance about something define my opinions that become eventually skewed and incorrect. I’m here to learn, walk, and pass it on. For me, faith is like that. Learn, walk, pass it on. God shows himself (or herself…whatever, teeny tiny limited human brain semantics) to me all the time. Every single person I see throughout my day I firmly believe I am meant to see that day. Every single stranger, friend, co-worker, person place thing has something to teach my soul. It brings me comfort to believe that my soul has made contracts with other souls in order to develop itself into a full spirit, a branch of the universal spirit, a branch of (oh, she’s gonna say it!) God. I’ve had soul contracts with friends, employers, men who have broken my huge red heart, family members, politicians, babies, trees, the list is expansive and ever growing. How do I know this? I don’t. I have faith in it. I’m constantly challenging my limited mind to LITERALLY think outside of it. Otherwise, I’m left to deal with the crap that swims around up there on the regular. And believe that. And (gasp!) possibly have faith in it. It scares the crap out of me to think about having faith that my own thoughts are true. Time and again I have proven to myself that my thoughts are simply untrustworthy. I MUST seek something greater than myself if I am to survive and stay sober. Sobriety, for me, is from disordered eating behaviors that will kill me. It’s that complex and simple at the same time. I cannot achieve this without faith. And I need all kinds of opinions and ideas in which to place that faith in order to keep it larger than my monkey mind. I am the keeper. The keeper of my own faith and no one else’s so that I may walk through life and perhaps develop trust, which is a whole other post. Perhaps that will come tomorrow, next week, or later today. But for now my faith remains strong. Every morning I meditate. Every single (er, mostly) morning. Not because I’m obsessed with being perfect, but because I get to visit with the things I have faith in. I have an alter that I have made with pictures of my grandmother, children, tarot decks, crystals, a Kwan Yin statue, candles, a scrying mirror, the works. And, collectively, they gather with me as I sit in front of them and smile inside. I’m regularly visited by visions that show me things…if I let them. In order to learn from and trust these visions, I must have faith that they are messages from the divine. The more I open my mind to this option, the more I am shown. Slowly, I’m developing psychic abilities that I know I’ve always had but have never been able to harness until now. It’s pretty incredible, actually, when we let our minds wander outside themselves. The things we see can be frighteningly and amazingly wonderful all rolled into one. Our faith is the cornerstone of that seeing. Faith really DOES move mountains, if we get out of our own way. Today, you don’t have to do anything new. Just do the day. Do you. Let faith come to you because it does that. One day, suddenly, it will show itself to you in the most humbling and beautiful picture. Just promise yourself that you’ll get out of the way.