Well, it has finally happened… The snow stopped falling, the sun has begun to shine. A monumental, meteorological miracle! I am just thrilled. As I mentioned in a previous post, I do believe that weather is a state of mind, the sunshine on our faces does wonders for our moods and our days. It brightens our smiles–literally–and just makes our days seem to go better. We know the sun shines because we know the sun lies there, behind the clouds; even the gray hues above beckon our inner faith in a distant sun that lights our day for a few hours and warms our planet. This notion of faith is an interesting one, one that is challenged quite often throughout the course of one’s life. My faith has gone through periods of strength, glowing bright; at other times, it has waned into the darkness where nothing seems safe and everything is to be questioned for its veracity and validity. During one of my classes for my Religious Science Practioner studies, I wrote a brief paper about faith. I would like to share it here with you for it captures quite nicely my feelings about faith in light of some of the current challenges and crises we humans face on a daily basis. The main text I am referencing is the primary text for Science of Mind and Spirit, written by Science of Mind’s founder, Ernest Holmes. I have come to thoroughly enjoy his works and his perspective on Life, God, and Spirit and so much more. But this chapter on Faith has spoken to me like no other. Thus, I would like to share my thoughts on it with you. Thank you for reading, my friend 🙂
Faith of a Mustard Seed…
Since faith is a quality unconfined to age or station, it may be ours today as much as it has been any man’s at any time. We are not going through a harder time today, a longer or darker night, than has ever been experienced before. It only seems darker because we have lost faith—that beacon of light.—SOM, p. 158.4
This week’s readings in the Science of Mind textbook on faith were incredible and had quite an impact on me and my perception of life, generally, and faith, specifically, especially how it can and does work in my life. Though I always enjoy reading the words of Ernest Holmes, the chapter on ‘Faith’ really made sense to me. I really “got it” when he was talking about the origins of faith, in terms of spiritual healing, how many have lost their way, away from faith, and how the everyday, human experience can once again embody faith. The reading of this chapter could not have been more timely, in my opinion, given all that is happening in our country and around the world. In nearly every corner of the globe, there is some kind of revolt going on—some violent, some relatively peaceful, though tense—for more fair treatment of individuals in terms of their employment, wages, freedoms, and so on.
Even here in the United States, in Wisconsin, average citizens are rising up in protest against an oppressive state government that has demonstrated itself to be dishonest in its dealings with the people. To be specific, Gov. Scott Walker claims he wants to limit or eliminate altogether collective bargaining rights of the unions in his state in order to balance the budget, but what has been revealed is an ulterior motive. This is nothing more than union crushing tactics. But more importantly than that, this is a fear-driven strategy by a few the Tea-Party politicians who want to take from their own people. Granted, my biases are shining through, as I, too, am a state employee in California. Thankfully, I do not think Gov. Jerry Brown will act as Gov. Walker has acted, though there will be tough cuts all around. However, I feel compassion for the people of Wisconsin and in other states where their rights to negotiate with the powers that be, to collectively bargain together to protect rights given to them long ago in order to foster a safer, more fair labor environment.
What this causes me to do is to rely, more than ever, on my faith in a Higher Power—Spirit, or God, as I like to call It—that ALL IS GOOD and that all this represents is a confluence of different energies and shift in perspective and ways of relating to one another. I would be remiss if I did not state that my faith has been shaken at certain times in my lifetime, 9/11 being the most stark memory of shaken faith. But these times are faith-challenging, too. Personally, I think these challenges are good for us humans for it reminds us, or makes us remember, who we are at the center, and brings to us conscious awareness of our faith and where we are at on the “Faith-o-Meter,” so to speak. So, though my hackles rise when I watch the news, my faith in God and Love and Spirit are renewed. But from where did faith arise? What are its origins and what role does it play in the human experience? I’ve explained some of these answers already, but I will elaborate more fully below.
Origins of Faith
Before discussing the origins of faith, perhaps I should define it. Simply put, faith is simply belief, trust, or confidence. Hebrews 11:1 tells us “[n]ow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” According to Ernest Holmes, faith—like belief and prayer—involves a mental attitude. Put another way, it is “an affirmative mental approach to Reality” (SOM, p. 156.2). So, from where did faith come? Some claim that faith is the gift of God. For example, in Ephesians 2:8, it is said that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Others claim that faith arises by the direct operation of the Holy Spirit. Faith also operates through God and is available to all, which I will elaborate upon further. Roman 2:11 “For there is no respecter of persons with God.” Faith also arises in answer to prayer: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” This is similar to Holmes, who writes that “[f]aith is a faculty of the mind that finds its highest expression in the religious attitude, but always the man who has faith in his own ability accomplishes far more than the one who has no confidence in himself. Those who have great faith have great power” (SOM, 155.3-156.1).
Holmes goes on to say that, throughout history, there have been many instances of healing through faith. Healing through faith is illustrated through the basic spiritual principle of belief in one’s prayers and that they will be answered. For, as Jesus said, “it is done unto you as ye so believe.” Put another way, “[t]he principle governing faith is, that when one is praying becomes convinced his prayer will be automatically answered” (SOM, p. 157.4). This principle has existed throughout the ages and is well-documented in the Old Testament and, of course, in the New Testament with the works of Jesus. Faith continues to thrive even today, but it is when we lose faith that we lose the light.
Faith’s Role in the Human Experience
From my perspective, faith plays a large role in the human experience, though it seems like today that we have lost some of our faith. When listening to accounts of the happenings in our nation and world on the news, it seems as though we have lost faith to the darkness. Much of our news seems to be doom and gloom these days, but there is an unwavering faith in something greater than ourselves that does exist and is very real for many, many people. As Holmes states, “[i]n order to have faith, we must have a conviction that all is well. In order to keep faith, we must allow nothing to enter our thought which will weaken this conviction. Whenever anything enters our thought which destroys, in any degree, one of these attitudes, to that extent faith is weakened” (SOM, p. 159.1). Having faith hones our spiritual conviction and prayers. Having faith in our everyday lives allows us to live positively and affirmatively, knowing the Truth. Faith also propels us forward in action. Faith needs action! “Treat and move your feet!” or “Do the footwork!” (A.A.) or what about “Faith without works is dead.” Dramatic statement, but true. Just as with the example in our reading about the belief in electricity and light, without making the affirmative, physical act of flipping the light switch, the light will not shine. So, in our daily lives, faith in whatever it is allows us to move, to act, to create. Without faith, we become inert, static beings, not living life to our full potential.
Though it can be challenging at times to maintain my faith, I hear that small, quiet voice in the background saying, “Do it anyway.” I like that! This is what faith gives to us, to our humanity. Faith brings out the Spirit in us, radiating through our human skin.