Thursday, January 23, 2014

The scope of faith

We are accustomed to measuring the scope of faith through outward display and an adherence to forms. I am a member of this church; I'm a member of that yoga organization, and so on. The scope of faith is so consistently established through outward form that we become hypnotized by it and forget that faith is, in reality, exclusively defined by our inward form.

It's very easy, in general terms, to sign onto outward faith and pursue it to the ends of the earth in every way; intellectually, emotionally, physically. All of this, however, amounts to absolutely nothing if inward effort does not inwardly form faith within the participant and the practitioner.

It's far easier to go into the depths of faith outwardly than inwardly. Outward answers and forms are subject to reconstruction and analysis; inward forms involve many unknown parts of ourselves, and are organically rooted into the depths of our Being itself. This is why change is so very difficult, in the inward sense; it is like pulling up a plant with many small, delicate roots, and trying to move it without damaging any of them. It's impossible, really; yet this is what we are up against when we attempt to turn to faith inwardly, and understand it from the inner point of view.

And what do we wish for, when faith turns inward? Everyone wants happiness; and it's presumed that this is what the inner search is for, a freedom from suffering (as the Buddha so generously promised us) or a rebirth within the glorious, loving light of Christ.

Yet the action of turning faith in word involves a willingness to confront and consume the greatest anguish imaginable; and who wants to bother with that? If we were to truly see ourselves, to truly go into the depths of our soul and see what and who we are, and see and touch, intimately touch and encounter, our relationship to the living presence of the Lord, the anguish would be unbearable.

I do not speak lightly here; this is no theoretical matter, for me, at least.

Perhaps this is why we turn away; maybe something instinctive in us, some part of the animal itself that forms our lower being, knows what awaits us there in the depths of faith if we truly embrace it, and fears it so much it must run away. I frequently look at my own nature and suspect this.

 Yet the only real hope in life lies in the inward form of faith, not the outward one. Because if we do not confront this anguish and consume it, make it one with ourselves, we cannot be purified and receive the Lord in the way He must be received.

 I need to go now, but perhaps I will ponder this more in tomorrow's post.


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