Journey to Faith

Faith is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate faith when we trust in the basic goodness of human beings and the universe in which we live.  Even when bad things happen, when other human beings disappoint or betray us, we don’t give up our hope and optimism. Even when we live through a natural disaster or other catastrophic event, we don’t blame God or believe we are being punished.  We know from deep within that we are loved and blessed and we trust that, even when we don’t understand what is happening right now, in time God’s plan will be revealed to us. Our faith enables us to weather the times of crisis in our lives and to emerge safely from the fire and fury around us. 

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Lack of faith, Despair, Inability to find purpose and meaning for our lives, Lack of emotional resilience due a disconnection from our Core Self, Distrust and inability to perceive goodness in ourselves, others and the universe in which we live,  Our myopic vision and self-absorption make it difficult for us to see the big picture or to feel that a higher power or a force for the good is active in our lives.  When our vision narrows and we can’t see the forest for the trees, it is time to climb to higher ground so that we have a longer and wider view. It is time to get out of our heads and into our hearts, where we can connect with love and regain our faith.

The Teaching

Like Job in the Old Testament, we are all tested at times by events and circumstances that feel overwhelming to us.  At such times we are challenged to reconnect to the source of love within in our hearts and to find our faith.
     Many of us feel defined from the outside.  So that when something bad or difficult happens to us, we think that we are somehow to blame and are being punished by God or by other human beings.  We condemn ourselves or we condemn others for what happened.  This closes down our hearts and makes it difficult for us to recover from adversity or trauma.
     If we are lucky, in time we take ourselves and others off the hook and find a renewed sense of meaning and purpose for our lives.  We may even understand in retrospect why the event or circumstance had to happen, in order for us to wake up and pay attention to our soul’s need for growth.  And then we know that it was not a punishment, but a blessing.
     Many times – if not indeed all the time – we don’t understand what is happening or why it is happening, so we try to give our own meaning to it.  We interpret what happens either positively or negatively, and either interpretation can be erroneous.
    if we are wise, we withhold judgment and try to accept and live with what is happening until we better understand it and can respond in a helpful way.  We learn to say, “I don’t know why this happened and I don’t know what it means.” We take time to try to get our arms around it so that eventually we can embrace it and work with it.   As we take this necessary time, we hold ourselves and others harmless.  We do not blame or shame anyone.
     Job was a master at living in his heart and having faith in himself and his God. When calamity after calamity was visited upon him, he refused to blame God.  He always looked within and asked, “What is God teaching me or asking from me?”  No matter what whirlwind was whipping around him, he stayed deeply in his center and refused to be caught up in the external drama.  He never doubted that God loved him.
      Because Job never doubted the goodness of God that goodness was finally revealed to him.  He was tested many times, but he never lost his faith and in the end his faith was rewarded.  That is why, as it says in the 23rd Psalm of King David, “Goodness and Mercy follow him all the days of his life and he dwells in the house of the Lord forever.”
     Job models for us how to stay anchored in love and truth no matter what seems to be happening around us. All of us have our “Job moment,” a time when our faith is tested.  What is yours?  How has your faith been tested in the past? How is it being tested right now?

The Practice

Today, see if you can be with your experience without interpreting it.  Just be with it and try to get your arms around it. It is okay if you don’t understand what is happening or why it is happening. 
     Today, be open to the possibility that whatever is happening in your life might be happening for the good, even if you don’t see where that goodness abides.  When difficulties arise and you feel overwhelmed, be willing to see the lesson you are being asked to learn. 
     Most negative events and circumstances arise from our own karma.  They are the inevitable consequence of our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and patterns of behavior. Sooner or later, our chickens come home to roost and we have to deal with it.  We have to take responsibility for what we have created.  
     That doesn’t mean that the universe is punishing us.  It just means that It is awakening us to the need to make different choices in our lives.  It is asking us to change our consciousness so that we can change our experience. When we take responsibility and learn our lessons, we plant better seeds that will grow into healthier plants.   We always reap what we sow.
    Today, ask yourself “Am I blaming God or the Universe for the difficulties or obstacles that I am facing?”  If the answer is “Yes,” be a little more restrained and humble. God does not want to punish you. God just wants you to wake up and take responsibility for what you are creating.    
     Today understand that life always challenges us to deepen our understanding and our faith.  That is why we are tested.  That is why there are lessons for us to learn along the way.
     Remember something important here.  God tests you because he loves you and wants you to grow.  He does not ask you to learn something that you are not able and ready to learn.  You just have to be willing to learn and you will pass the test.
     During challenging times we either trust God or we don’t. If we do, that trust will see us through and we will cross the threshold.   If we don’t we will shrink back into victim consciousness and the door will not open to us.    

Journaling Questions

All of us have our “Job moment,” a time when our faith is tested.  What is yours?  How has your faith been tested in the past?
How is it being tested right now?

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