I do have ideas about what’s going to happen next. It seems to depend on what I’m looking for. I have intentions and expectations … it is relative to them that I decide what’s happening. I can’t take myself and my habits out of the picture. I have a point of view, but the future has a will of its own, undecided until the moment something happens.
What’s next is all about probabilities, according to Quantum Physics. Some probabilities are high and some are low, but nothing is certain. I clearly recall a physics professor at UCLA telling us that all the air in the room could collect in the corner at any moment … “it’s not likely”, he said, “but it could happen”. We are actually taking the whole world on faith. It is important to start here.
Traditionally, we use faith as a tool, to manage the future. How do we deal with our intuition that the unexpected is going to happen, sooner or later? We foster an attachment to the bigger picture. This approach, trading on beliefs to leapfrog the hills and valleys of experience, relies – like everything else – on seeing things a certain way. That way is meant to transcend the individual ‘parts’ of my experience, connecting me to a larger whole, enabling me to ride out the bumps. I will realize my part in that bigger picture. One day. This works for many people … God bless them … but it never worked for me.
I found myself getting twisted up, bending beliefs to fit this or that experience that seemed to contradict what I expected. Because the background is about possibilities, there are always exceptions to any rule. Anything could be. When I was growing up, I spent years and years looking for the rule that would cover it all. That can’t happen. Rules also introduce what is not. The illusion about rules is that they corral all the possibilities. What faith really is, is the perception of a way to mirror that bigger picture, too small and too big to be parsed in words.
One way to build an island in the torrent of information that rushes by us every day is to name things and practice seeing them the same way. Another is just to be anxious all the time, so that we are ready for catastrophe. Most of us choose not to look too closely, while there’s business to take care of. Still, it’s impossible to be one person for a lifetime without having faith in something.
To me, faith is the answer, but not in the way that first comes to mind. Faith is not Hope.
I have found that the way to go is not to have faith in Someday, Somewhere, but to be faithful now … right now … to this moment. Be faithful to the urge to be yourself. Be faithful to what is flowing from the heart. Like water is faithful to gravity, like seeds are faithful to the seasons, I am learning to be faithful to who I am.
Faith is not an awesome, life-time effort to reach Heaven. Faith is feeling the integrity between one moment and the next. It is perception of a pattern that is unique because it includes a place for the observer. Faith is acting in accord with intentions. Faith is meaning what I say, being true to my word. Faith, I can practice at every moment, expressing what I believe to be true. Faith brings me out into the world. Now.
Sometimes I don’t know if something is true or not, until I say it. I’m not proud of that, but that’s the way it is. Thoughts left alone in my head gain grandeur quickly. To me, that’s what words (and friends) are for … to refine our experience. It’s a mistake to use words to box up experience and keep it for a rainy day.
Faith is a bridge between the senses. A diligent observer begins to see shapes in the frequencies that draft the probabilities. The waves that lap at the edge of awareness seem to have a direction … but they also flow where you look. A belief is an attempt to keep them there when you look away. Faith is the assumption that I am part of the flow. I don’t have to stop and look. I don’t have to keep anything.
There is more going on in life than meets the eye. Anyone who has been through it knows that. After a while, each of us has had a chance to catch a glimpse. The question becomes, how do we get between the peeks?
The answer is that peaks and valleys are the ways things work in this world. There is no one without the other. If you’re someone like me, you sometimes struggle against that situation. Ups and downs are a pain in the ass. Nevertheless, if I want to feel something, I have to not-feel something else. If I want to think something, I have to not-think something else. If I want to be something …. That is the way this world works.
My own faith is in the experience of a background to all this, out of which what we collect with our limited senses emerges. I was led to this in a practical way …. Learning over the years how words are draped over reality to make it useful. I am lucky enough to have had a handful of experiences I can’t explain that seem to be connected to something more than ‘me’ … at those times it was clear, I just had to have faith in how I felt at the time. There was no way to explain it. (Although I have trying ever since).
I realized, in my quiet moments, that I could let go of everything … not hold on at all … and I would still be there. I was more than I think I am … as cliché as that might sound. ‘I’ was open-ended. I was whatever was coming next. If that sort of thing happens too often, one can lose one’s bearings. But once in a while is heartening.
My own faith is that there’s really nothing to keep and nowhere to go. It’s all here now. We have conjured this all up. It will all pass. We have over-laid a completely made-up pattern on a universe that won’t sit still. That’s just my point of view. Each of us sees life in a unique way. To me, the energy wrapped up in beliefs matches the energy released by letting go. Not letting go takes little faith and requires serious habits to keep that energy in check. Letting go makes room for what is happening now.
If I am faithful to something, I am attaching myself to it, replicating its pattern in some way. In this manner, we are faithful to our upbringing and faithful to our intentions. One person alone can be faithful to his or her hopes and dreams but if we are to live together, our destiny must be to be faithful to our words. Once words lose their tenuous relationship with the truth, it is every perceiver for themselves. Which is where we find ourselves these days. It becomes a challenge to be faithful to my idea of me as words lose their meaning.
Pascal wrote that faith is like a wager – what do you have to lose? I am saying that faith is an experience, an intuition – a perception that comes with practice. It is a signal in the noise. There is a sense for when I am being true to myself. How can becoming myself not be the thing to do?
The reality that nothing is certain requires faith in something, to get from moment to moment, since nothing actually stays the same. The fact that some things are more probable than others suggests that we should pay attention to what appears to be going on, because everything is going somewhere. The first thing we do as babies is reach. As we grow, reaching also requires letting go. Faith is the only way from here to there, if we insist on going somewhere. There is a background to change, otherwise no difference would be noticed. Faith can reveal the slightest breeze in that background … the faintest whisper … of that which is behind everything. That place is not somewhere, one day. That place is Here. Now.