Journal Entry – 07/15/19
I was raised in a faith tradition that made a big deal about certainty. If you didn’t know for absolute certainty that you were going to Heaven when you die, you probably weren’t going there. Either that, or the Devil was messing with your head and you needed to find a way to get that “assurance” you needed.
Funny thing, though – why would you need certainty for a FAITH tradition? Faith and certainty are opposites. Faith (or trust) is an inner resolve that makes peace with mystery and with the unknown, trusting in something higher to make it all work out okay. It’s far from certain.
Some of that disconnect likely has to do with any organization feeding on its flock for its continued existence. You have to find a way to “corral the faithful”, to keep them in control and to keep the money flowing in order to survive and possibly thrive. Regardless of the particulars, it’s a common tale.
Plus, people requiring certainty (even if it’s illusory) are people who refuse to embrace unresolved mystery. They’d much rather pay money, follow orders, anything than deal with the great unknown. Maybe it’s just too scary. Putting your “right foot in” under such conditions is extremely threatening. And in many cases, people are discouraged from asking difficult questions because it might expose the structure for what it actually is.
Of course there are faith traditions that are quite comfortable with mystery. Some of their heroes are known as “mystics” (a term related to “mystery”). They are spiritual people who know they do not have all the answers, but they are at peace with that. Their trust isn’t in their “faith” but rather the power behind their faith. It’s fine with them to discover that something they believed and practiced was actually missing the point, and they overjoyed to adjust their course based on this new information… they are happy to turn themselves around.
What leap of faith (or leap of doubt) is life asking of you right now?
What questions do you fear to face?
Who benefits from you not asking the hard questions?
What do you lose in the meantime as you refuse to ask them?
Despite what feels “correct” to say, where is your faith actually placed?
These are challenges I finally faced and continue to face regularly in my journey. It doesn’t make me better than anyone… rather, it’s simply what I must do in order to become the true me, the me that is at peace with myself and with the Universe/God/Creator/Whatever-Label-You-Use. For me it’s not about comparison to others, but rather comparing my current self to the self I really want to become. And I have particular teachers and mystics in mind whose life I consider exemplary on this path and worthy of emulation. How about you?