The voice of a child says
It is better that our hearts grow light
It is better to embrace instead of exile suffering
From instead of to it’s murdering breath
Mothers weep until their tears run dry
Their sons on distant streets decay
Kissed by the meritless fever of war
Stripped of life
And all souls die along with them
Just as all souls live
As a newborn embraces the joy of its mother’s breast
Relieved of the heavy husk of childhood
Let our voices rise to denounce
All that kept us prisoner
Like the undisturbed stars
My heart flickers without falter
I use it’s light to turn around and face my real enemies
But all there is Is stillness and space
Row upon row of ramparts I have built
For an enemy that doesn’t exist
All souls are set free
As I tear down my walls
Brick by brick
But not by hating them
I have taken the child’s advice
It is better that our hearts grow light
It is better to love than to fear
And the voice of a child says
There is no better way to love
Than to love the fear itself
I have a confession. I have been afraid. This cycle of my life has brought all my fears to the surface and into plain sight. I have lost my chokehold on faith. Ultimately this is a good thing because if I have managed to lose faith, I never really had it to begin with. It was conditional in its nature and so I am moving closer to unconditional faith. Again and again I am told that “People need a leader who is fearless, otherwise they will not follow you and their own fear will be amplified until all that is left, is chaos”. This is (and has been) the common wisdom. But I am not convinced. I am not convinced that people need a leader. I am not convinced that maintaining a façade of faith truly benefits anyone. I am not convinced that it would not benefit people to know that the person who is supposed to be leading the way into a state of faith, like them, is struggling to keep a hold of it. When we face situations that render us powerless, faith is always challenged. Disappointments, especially when they are perpetual, make it difficult to feel a sense of trust that the future will hold anything but pain. A heaviness clutches the heart and wont let go. What if instead of wrong, this makes you human? What if this is how it is for us all? What if by expecting ourselves to keep the faith through thick and thin, we prevent ourselves from losing it? And what if by preventing ourselves from losing it, we prevent ourselves from ever truly finding it?
I have not been writing blogs lately. I have not been writing because I have ended up in a situation where to expose my daily life and the feelings I have about it, would be to indirectly expose other people who cherish privacy above all else. It has left me feeling muzzled, desperate and alone with some extremely painful emotions. In truth, I have muzzled myself. I could technically do exactly as I please, regardless of the reaction of others. But a large part of me fears the potential fallout and retribution to the degree that I have decided to stay silent. What does this mean for me as a ‘practitioner of authenticity’? It means I am not being fully authentic and it means the question has been raised about whether authenticity is always worth it when you are facing emotional or physical consequences as a result of authenticity.
Over the last five months, my faith in authenticity has been successfully shaken. Lovers of privacy and pretense say authenticity is only as good as it does. Lovers of authenticity say that authenticity is worth it no matter what the consequence. One could argue that privacy is self-love and one could argue that authenticity is self-love. And so, there seems to be a kind of universal standstill on the verdict. This standstill is made worse by the fact that honesty is seen as a virtue. Morality has become so wound up in the topic of authenticity that it is now a bitter war over what is right and what is wrong. No one can ever win an argument over what is right or wrong because no right or wrong actually exists external to our individual perspective. And unfortunately, we are always right about our individual perspective.
Authenticity is hard when it feels like we risk our emotional, mental or physical survival by being authentic. The bottom line is that I have lived in a state of authenticity because the consequences I faced as a result of it were always worth it. Until this last year, when I have come up against a few consequences that have made me question whether it is always worth it. I cannot answer this question yet with strong enough conviction or faith to teach about it. And so I haven’t. Instead, I have slipped into a period of introversion… A phase of deep questioning. And there is no telling what will come out of it.
The famous philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, "Where there is evidence, no one speaks of 'faith'. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence." Unfortunately for Bertrand Russell, he is forgetting something, the first person who believed the earth was round (enough to be motivated to set out to prove that it was round) had to go on faith before there was proof to back up that belief.
Every single thing in existence begins as a thought first. When that thought is thought enough, it becomes a belief. Proof is the manifestation of a thought that you think often enough that it becomes part of your physical reality. You look at that physical manifestation and it reinforces the thought so that now you have confidence in the truth and validity of that thought. Having confidence in the truth and validity of a thought based on manifested proof is called a belief. Faith is the step or the bridge between thinking and believing. It is the confidence in the truth or validity of something positive before the proof has manifested physically. Faith is not knowing the truth of something even before the proof that it is true has manifested physically.
Faith in our modern society is synonymous with ignorance because so often, individuals use faith to establish a sense of certainty and cognitive closure. It is the excuse people use to make a claim of the certainty of a certain truth, which closes them down to all other possibilities. In other words, it is pretending to know something that they do not know. A good example of this is heaven. Most people have never seen heaven for themselves. They have no proof other than the promise of the words belonging to other people to back up the belief that heaven is real. Words in a book called the bible, words coming from the preacher’s lips, words coming from their direct family members etc. And so, most people do not actually believe heaven exists or know that it exists (even though they may say they do). Instead, people have faith that heaven exists. They mistake faith for knowing. And by closing their minds down around the truth of knowing, they become unable to experience other potentials and other realities. They become selectively ignorant.
To close one’s own perspective down to possibilities and to latch onto the knowing of one specific truth is to live in a state of ignorance. To have faith is to have confidence in or trust in, but to not know. People only confuse faith for knowing. This is the shadow side of faith.
When we observe other people who have faith, we are jealous of their certainty. In fact, I think faith is the thing I am the most jealous of in other people. We are jealous of their ability to create cognitive closure. Because we do not recognize that all they are doing is mistaking faith with knowing. After all, the only certainty in our universe is uncertainty. And the highest of objective truths is that truth is subjective. Faith is ignorance when faith becomes proof of “knowing”. To have confidence in something or to hope for something is not to know something. Instead it is a kind of living bravery. It is the bravery to walk openly into the world of the unknown based on emotion and intuition. Emotion is like the tether between your soul and your physical life. He, who has faith, is brave enough to follow that tether into the unknown.
Faith can only happen in the absence of knowing. Not one scientific discovery, began without a scientist first having faith. After all, he did not yet know. After all, he did not yet have the proof he needed to be sure. The average scientist does not yet recognize his inner urgings and hunches as emotion, intuition and ultimately, as faith. Many critics of faith claim that faith is only used in the absence of good supporting evidence. And that is true, because if faith had good supporting evidence, it would no longer be faith, instead it would be a belief that you would call a “truth” or “something that you know”. But faith is a bridge between thinking and knowing. Faith should never close a person down to possibilities. Faith should never be confused with knowing. Most of what a spiritual person is, is a person who is full of faith. It is a person who is willing to live with confidence and hope in a universe full of the unknown. To be spiritual, is to be brave. Many people believe that faith is the absence of doubt. This could not be further from the truth. We only think that faith is the absence of doubt when we confuse faith with knowing.
To doubt is to have uncertainty about something. Faith cannot exist in a universe of certainty, certainty is knowing. Faith is not required when we know. And so, if doubt is uncertainty, doubt is a necessary condition of faith. If we take doubt a step further (and let doubt mean what it means emotionally to most people), to doubt is to consider something unlikely. To consider something unlikely is to act as if you know. It is to pretend you know something that you do not know. It is to bring a sense of certainty to a universe of uncertainty. For this reason, doubt in all actuality, is the flip side of faith. Doubt is only another kind of faith. It is faith in the negative instead of faith in the positive. Like the shadow side of faith, to consider something unlikely (doubt) is to act as if you know. People use doubt to gain a sense of certainty and cognitive closure in the same way that people use faith to gain a sense of certainty and cognitive closure.
If you are a person who doubts, you have a great capacity for faith. The only difference between you and a person, who is full of faith, is that you have endless confidence and trust for negative instead of positive outcomes and things. Like faith, doubt is a bridge between thinking and believing. It is best to burn this bridge down when the bridge does not benefit your journey. It is best to only build the bridge of doubt between thoughts that feel bad to think and things you don’t want to believe. It is best to build the bridge of faith only between thoughts that feel good and things you want to believe. When we begin to experience pain, is when we build the bridge of doubt between thoughts that feel good to think and things we want to believe. So how can someone manifest what he or she wants without faith? They can replace doubt with curiosity and maybe. They can let go of the need for certainty and cognitive closure by welcoming the state of uncertainty. To do this, they can move into the space of curiosity, which is a joyous state of not knowing. They can pull their teeth out of the idea of truth and reality. The reality is, no one knows what reality is. To commit to curiosity, is to release resistance to the painful things we have confidence in or that we think we know. And so, when we do manifestation exercises or look for proof for something we want to believe, we do so without an attachment to whether it is true or not. This is a state that true scientists can teach us to uphold. It is to take on an attitude of “wouldn’t it be nice if”, or “maybe”. If you visualize what you want, make it a game instead of a matter of life and death. Do the visualization out of curiosity about the potential that mind could create reality. Remain open to all possibilities. Also, allow yourself to prove things you yourself. Deliberately go looking for proof to back up what you want to believe. Quit expecting yourself to have the same level of faith that other people have. Quit expecting yourself to know. There is no earthly reason, given your experience, that you should know or should have faith. In fact, the main reason that the thought “I don’t have faith” hurts us, is because we think we should have faith. Why should we have faith when we have come to expect negative outcomes? We have learned that having faith when we expect negative outcomes, only ends in disappointment.
He, who lacks faith, has been victimized and now sees himself as a victim; he sees himself at the mercy of an external world. When we are victimized, we lose trust and faith in ourselves. Faith is corrupted within the human system when we do not trust ourselves. Ultimately, we recognize that the world at large is a reflection of us, so if we do not have confidence in or trust something “out there”, there is something inside us that we do not trust. We need to figure out what it is about ourselves that we do not trust and we need to learn to trust ourselves again, because faith is the organic result of trusting ourselves. Having positive confidence and trust in something is the result of trusting ourselves to create positive outcomes for ourselves.
No one can fake faith. But deep down inside all beings, however subconscious it may be, there is the recognition of one’s own infinite being. A being that is a creator at its core. And thus, deep down there is a faith (however faint it may be) that one can create and therefore can have confidence or trust not only in positive outcomes, but also in oneself. I have fear. But I am not fear. I have fear, but that very fear is the doorway to unconditional faith. I have taken the child’s advice… because I want my heart to grow light.