“If you don’t go within, you simply go without.” Victor Frankl
Hands up; I’m a tad nervous to dab into this sensitive subject of faith. Wars have been fought over such belief systems. But forge ahead I must, because I know the power of faith and I must credit this force with a good chunk of my self transformation. I’ve also witnessed its capabilities to shine into the most constricted of hearts, unfurling them into pools of compassion, self respect, love and a desire to give back, rather than take.
No, I’m not going to try and convince you of anything; I’m very open minded. I think there is a lot more that we don’t know then we do know, yet I honor all paths to God, or, none.
FAITH IN YOURSELF: You don’t have to be a religious person- I’m not- but I’m deeply interested in the spiritual. For me that means turning to the non physical aspects of life and using this often forgotten side to harness self esteem. It means not relying on any external force to look for self love but to generate it from your inner powerhouse. It is there, waiting to be tapped into.
Kundalini yoga, meditation, prayer, fostering intuition, (Sonia Choquette’s* a wonderful teacher regarding this) prayer, reflective time alone-not choked with external stimulation- all invite you to explore your inner treasures. Faith in yourself is about believeing in your inner goodness, that Love is your natural impulse, your guiding factor.
Look at it this way; I was marveling the other day at the body’s ability to heal; I had a graze on my knee, and yet a week later it had crisped over into a scab. The body-marvelous machine that it is- had lovingly healed itself. The body is programmed to help us, to heal us. So, too, the mind, the job of the often pesky Ego is self preservation. Is not the spirit of us then, that part of us that separates us from being mere robots, also infused with this same default setting; to help, to love and to heal us? Would believing this alter the way you approach life?
However fleeting the contact, once we are in touch with that limitless, magnificent part of us we can learn to let that sacred space have its say in how we treat ourselves. After all, that space is our very Essence, the piece of us that binds us to the Oneness of Universal Intelligence.
Ask yourself a question that you need guidance on, perhaps an important decision that needs to be made. See how your mind and body react; maybe a ‘no’ signals a tightening of the stomach, jaw clench or a quickening of your heartbeat, a general constriction, maybe ‘yes’ sends waves of peace through you. Listen to yourself, as well as others, start to become available to your innate wisdom. In this way you’ll foster a genuine and deep sense of love and trust for yourself.
Thing is, no one knows you better than you do yourself. Have you ever been to the hairdresser and they seem extremely competent with hair- fluidly sectioning, snipping and settling a strand of hair before moving onto the next- yet you come out feeling your hair looks worse than before?! They may have extensive knowledge of hair, and be a whiz at cutting it, but they do not know the particulars of your hair? No. You do. You know how to manipulate that wee cowslip at the front, you know which parting frames your face in the way that satisfies you, and you know which styles are flattering.
In this way, trust yourself too when it comes to your inner world; no one else has access to your conglomeration of thoughts, feelings, experiences, no one else sees the planet like you do and therefore credit yourself that yes, you do know how to love and care for yourself best. If someone is asking something of you-whether it be a spiritual figurehead or otherwise- check in to see your response as to whether it is for you or not.
Not only does the Spiritual speak to us this way but also by using signs (truck signage, objects that catch our eye, a butterfly flitting through your vision, just as you thinking about dearly departed Granny). It drops thoughts into our head out of the blue; thoughts that make our minds buzz with possibility. Divinity pauses us for reflection, provokes fuzzy emotions and ‘coincidences’ to garner our oftentimes distracted attention, trying to pull it from the dizzy world of ‘doing’ into the serenity of ‘being.’
Having faith in yourself-a life beyond the detection of our five physical senses- is magical. Fan your imagination, just as you did as a child. In my opinion, this is why the Harry Potter movies are so popular, because they stir our forgotten fascination with the fantasy of life. And, just maybe, it resonates so profoundly with us because it is laced with the essence of truth, that life is inherently enchanted, mysterious and miraculous.
Our inner self is such a rich, limitless world, forging us to aspire to more lofty dreams and, more importantly, trusting in their potential to manifest.
FAITH IN OTHER LIVING BEINGS: Finding faith has helped me to understand that age-old dilemma, why people do bad things and ‘get away’ with it?
First off-like beauty- right and wrong are transient terms, dependent on time, geographic location and who you happen to be talking to. There are some things-like homosexuality-that used to be worthy of imprisonment and is now largely celebrated, at least in the West. But what if someone hurts you, badly, physical or emotionally?
In the ‘Conversation with God*’ book series there is a beautiful story about the little soul. I can’t remember the particulars but it basically went like this; one wee soul was basking in the utopia of Oneness, free from physical limitation and the hurts of this world. Some would call this Heaven, or Nirvana. But this soul wanted to come to earth, to learn about forgiveness for its soul’s progression.
“But who/what could teach me about forgiveness?”
Another brave little soul perked up. “I’ll go with you. I’ll teach you about forgiveness.”
The first soul was in wonder: “ You would do that, for me? But what could you ever do- perfect, loving being that you are- that I would ever have to forgive you for?”
‘Oh,” said the other soul, “ I’m sure I’ll think of something.”
So, the two souls agree to come to this physical world at the same time. They are born and have total amnesia, as we all do. They do not remember who one another are, nor their spiritual Home. Their soul does, deep inside, but they don’t, not on a conscious level. So when the one little soul betrays the others’ heart, the first soul is faced with the difficult choice, to forgive or not to? Can the little soul fulfill its mission to learn about forgiveness? Does this make that other brave soul who came along to teach that soul about forgiveness inherently ‘bad?’
I think everyone is living up to their level of consciousness. Some are totally ignorant and their dark actions stem from this place.
(Check out the resources section for the lovely children’s story related to this, my very rough sketch of Neal Donald Walsh’s heart stirring story*)
We might not be able to ever understand from a human, logical angle why people do horrible things to us, but trust on a deep soul level, there is some reasoning. Believing this makes it easier to accept that it does not affect the wonder of who you are. No, you are not less than, or not enough. Just maybe that offender incarnated into this world to help you with your soul’s progression. What does that make them?
I love the way Rhonda Byrne puts it in her second book, ‘The Power.’* In life, she says, we have PETS or Personal Emotional Trainers. Some who enter our world are easy to love, some are very challenging. But it’s those challenging ones that make us stronger, that force us to evolve. And isn’t that our natural impulse?
FAITH IN NON PHYSICAL BEINGS: It doesn’t have to be a God, could be a dearly deceased loved-one looking out for you, ethereal beings such as angels or fairies or imaginary friends. To take Star Wars, it could be a belief in the Force, you might think of God as synonymous with the Energy of Life, or with Love.
I think your faith should work for you, and not just the other way around. So if you have to strain and struggle to adhere to specific tenets of your religion, is it serving you? But, then again, not everyone embraces every facet of their religion for them to thrive in it. I have a friend who was raised as a strict Pentecostal; there’s lots she admires about this denomination of Christianity, but she does not embrace some of the regulations regarding women.
You may like the order, the sacred forms of worship of your religion; it may make you feel secure with a beautiful sense of belonging. Your religion may be that pivot for your life to mold around. Or, perhaps like me, you are free-spirited and a more unspecified approach to spirituality might best serve you. Many free-spirits have open minds, unconstrained by too many inherited beliefs, available to find their own route to the non physical world. There are 100 different flavors to be celebrated. With faith, the what of it- which specific religion or tradition- is really not important. It’s the how that matters; how it inspires you to feel and to live.
Do what sets your heart alight, do what makes your skin bubble into Godbumps, whether that be singing in glorious unison in church, chanting in Sanskrit or bowing in prostration towards Mecca. Whatever fuses you with spirit is your way, try not to let the bounds of expectation and tradition dictate your relationship with the Unseen. Easier to say in the West, I know.
Even if you can’t pull together specifics of faith (and lets be honest, who really knows what lies beyond, although plenty claim to know)? Just a belief in something, is very helpful, even just the goodness of life. Fake it till you make it. Play with the supposition in your mind; would it benefit me more to believe, or not? Just feeling that something-or some Being- has got your back, and that your evolutionary impulse is to expand helps you to cross your comfort zone line a bit more, to push past fear.
Faith in non physical beings provides a place of solace, a belief that you are never alone, that you are greater than you know. It lets you know you were intentionally created, intended to be here and with purpose. The implications of this for our ability to love ourselves is grand.
If you follow a religious tradition, then great, do utilize that specific faith to water your feelings of self love. One of the beautiful things about religion is that sense of community and support. Being spiritual, but not religious, I miss that feeling of awe-inspiring community and tradition that buoys religion so well. Mine is the path less trodden, so finding a spiritual home is not as easy.
In regards to your self love; I have always been leery of religious or spiritual teachings that put you down, try and squish you, tie you up in rigor and specifics of worship, or that make you feel needy, hardwired for failure or wrongdoing, or individually weak or insignificant. I ask, is this from God, or from humankind’s misinterpretation of God, used as a manipulation tool for social control and oppression? This-far from making you feel more self loving-can have the reverse affect. So use your inner compass to really question if the doctrines are serving you.
It might well be that abandoning the entire religion is not necessary, maybe it’s simply your spiritual director or place of worship that you don’t resonate with. Is there another denomination you could try, or another church/synagogue/temple or mosque, for example?
Once you have a faith that inspires you and supports your sense of self, you will wonder how you ever got along without your daily dose of meditation, or your new spiritual community, or whatever expression of it you have now come to hold dear.
Well, I think Miss Yvette has compromised the recommended blog post length in the favor of sharing more time with you again. I don’t mind if you don’t:-)
To end- if you feel comfortable- how about we have a feel-good, affirmative prayer? Do tailor the names/words to suit your own ideological standpoint.
“Thank you, God and the angels, for Love being my guiding factor. Thank you for helping me walk through any internal or external fear created boundaries and embracing the life I’ve always dreamt of. Thank you for my strong sense of self love and direction, knowing what gifts you have bestowed on me and how I can use these to help others.”
And so it is/Amen
Or, if you’re faith is in its infancy, you could try something like this:
“Hi God, angels, and whatever other highly evolved beings and Avatars that might be out there. I’m new to all this, as you might already know. Help to please buoy my faith, send me signs into my physical sphere that make me smile and say ‘That’s my God.’ Help me to know you better, to come to love and trust you. Help me to use my faith, too, to discover my own sacredness, my own inherited Holiness.” In gratitude, (your name)
Faith is such a personal thing, so its nigh impossible to list every resource capable of making your heart sing in resonance. If it helps, I have found that what is right for me rings with a Truth, almost as if I’m remembering some long forgotten piece of the puzzle, which in actuality, I am.
So if something you read makes you wince, or uncomfortable, or if it makes you have to shoehorn yourself into accepting, then its probably not your Truth, or your way to access the Divine successfully. At least, maybe not at this stage in your life.
Listed for you below are the books that have really helped to reignite my faith, after many years of agnosticism.
I’m sure a lot of these are available in the library.
*Sonia Choquette, teacher of Intuition http://www.amazon.com/Sonia-Choquette/e/B000APAZ64
*Neale Donald Walsh, ‘Conversations with God’ http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Conversations-Neale-Donald-Walsch/dp/0399153292
*Neale Donald Walsh, story of ‘Little Soul and the Sun.’ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/148234.Little_Soul_and_the_Sun
*Rhonda Byrne, ‘The Power’ http://www.amazon.com/The-Power-Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1439181780
Mike Dooly ‘Infinite Possibilities; The Art of Living Your Dreams’ http://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Possibilities-Living-Your-Dreams/dp/1582702322
Michael Bernard Beckwith ‘Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential’ http://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Possibilities-Living-Your-Dreams/dp/1582702322
Esther/Abraham Hicks. I particularly like ‘Co-Creating at its Best’ with Dr. Wayne Dyer. http://www.amazon.com/Esther-Hicks/e/B001IOH5UA
If you are interested in learning more about spirituality – matters such as the law of attraction, the power of your thoughts, meditation, gratitude- and many other topics to help you to thrive in life, try this spiritual community: The Center for Spiritual Living http://cslorlando.org/ They have centers throughout America but you can watch/listen to online of you are outside of the USA.
I’d be especially keen to hear your reflections on todays post. Namaste Bright Siders!