What is faith?

[Love Notes / Lovebook]

I believe? I have faith in?

I believe in God? I believe in Goodness? I believe in the Light? I believe in Pure Love? I believe in the essential spiritual oneness of all sentient beings? I believe in kindness? I believe in selfless love?

Faith is what? Faith is trust? Faith is belief without certainty?

How can I have faith in what I don’t even fathom? But what do I fathom? I feel like a balloon drifting out the window and floating away. Nothing makes sense to my mind or my heart. Faith in God, Goodness, Truth, Love? Not those concepts, which are like an impossible math problem. But faith in what those concepts point imperfectly but still meaningfully towards. Faith in something within that is not mean or greedy. Faith in something within and through all things, something that is not me and that is kind.

But what is that? Is it real? And how to meaningfully connect what’s prior to ideas and feelings to one’s ideas and feelings? That, I guess, is the point of religion: by sharing a common spiritual poetry, practitioners have a language to talk about the Kind Light not only with their own inner selves but with their fellow practitioners as well.

To some degree we are all fooled by our own dogmas, confusing our notions about what is accurate and worthwhile for Truth and Goodness. But if a faith community stresses awareness, honesty, openness, humility, gentleness, kindness, nonviolence, and shared joy, then they — as individuals and a group — have a good foundation. The just have to keep returning to the essential task of better and better turning towards and flowing off of the Light within and without — the kind and wise Light that alone Knows what is True and Good.

What is true faith? It is not faith in the word “God”. It is not faith in feelings and ideas about “God”. It is faith in God — in relentless kindness not as a mere ideal but as Reality. It is not faith in that last sentence, but faith in a whole-being sense-of-things towards which the sentence points imperfectly but not therefore meaninglessly.

True faith grows stronger as it grows wiser. It explains itself to itself better and better. But it’s explanation is never anything solid that a mind can list or a heart can hold. True faith is a meaningful relationship between feelings/ideas/actions and what is wider and deeper than feelings/ideas/actions. True faith relates what is perfect to imperfect creatures; it is of necessity an imperfect and ongoing process.

True faith is about loving and being loved by the Light shining in and through all things, and thus true faith is also about loving and being loved by everyone and everything. True faith is not an endpoint, but a motion deeper and deeper into the beginning.

I’m afraid the chickens have all flown the coop right at the same moment that the cats escaped their bags. And the ship has waited patiently enough. The wind puffs her sails and rocks her hull. She cannot be herself idling in port, and I can’t either.

Author: Captain John Terrible
Editors: Bartleby Willard & Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andrew M. Watson

This is a Something Deeperism essay
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