The religious word faith carries so much metaphysical and cultural baggage that it’s now a hindrance to those looking for the big answers in life. The original Greek word pistis as found in the New testament can mean, faith, belief or trust. So let’s start 2013 by stripping away some of the spiritual clutter. I wish to set aside the over-used word faith and chose a more meaningful replacement. However should I go for belief or trust?
I’m often asked what I believe. A good question that I’m not sure I can answer in the affirmative. I guess I can tell you what I no longer believe. For many years following my initial Divine encounter I jumped on and successfully clung to the evangelical band-wagon. It didn’t take long to pick up what I was supposed to believe; there were plenty of zealous teachers out there to ‘feed’ me in the basics of the faith. All my beliefs were to square with the Bible, the Spirit inspired Word of God. This is where I took my first wrong turn. The complexities and paradoxes of the Scriptural accounts of God’s dealings with the Jewish and Christian tribes were ignored by my evangelical educators. Being new to the faith,I was fed the simplified version that God had forgiven me my sins by a blood sacrifice that had been set up by God Himself, that I had the bible as a handbook and that if I joined a good church then I would remain on the straight and narrow. As time progressed more and more little extra beliefs were added to the tenuous tower of dogma that was quickly becoming Truth, the lens through which I was to view the world in all its fallen state.
The trouble with belief is that it was never designed to remain constant. It comprises thoughts and concepts that change over time adjusted by the experiences of life. It’s a bit like going for one’s annual eye-test. As the optometrist places various lenses in front of our eyeball she sweetly asks ‘Which one is clearer? This one ….. or that one?’ As we embarrassingly blurt out our answer, totally unsure of the correctness of our answer, we are well on the way to our new pair of specs through which we will perceive our world for the next year. And so with belief. The belief system or dogma of our post conversion indoctrination does a good job for a while. For some it is months, for some years and for the stalwarts of the prevailing orthodoxy a lifetime.
The mind is a great tool for dealing with this material world that bumps into us as soon as we wake each morning. Its powers of analysis are a wonderful asset in deciding whether to buy a PC or a Mac, a hotdog or a cheeseburger, a Ford or a Toyota. It’s a complex computer through which the operating system of our belief makes sense of the slow energy or matter that we encounter. Yet like all good software, regular updates are needed as we encounter new problems, unable to be solved by the old version. Beliefs are a skeletal structure on which we hang our broken humanity, yet they are not the channels of spiritual reality, of Divine Life. They are psychic signposts, pointing backwards to a place we have been, not to a destination as yet unvisited.
Beliefs are the bulwark of religion. Without beliefs the whole edifice of religious structures come tumbling down. ‘We believe this. The guys down the road believe that. Come and attach yourself to us for we have captured the Divine Mystery in our body of teaching. We teach only what the Bible says.’ And so the religious games continue until we can no longer wear the specs that were given us on our initiation into the sect of our choice.
So where does that leave us? On the rocks of atheism or a post religious agnosticism. I don’t believe so. Beliefs were never meant to communicate Divine Reality. They are a by-product of our wonderful brain CPU. Like clouds rolling along in the highest heavens, they are interesting to behold, admire and even discuss but too ethereal to cling onto. No, we need something much more substantial at the core of our being, a connection with Divine Love that won’t let us down.
Trust is the real deal, a gift that is able to carry our sanity to the very gates of Heaven. Altogether different from belief, trust is made of some kind of substance that doesn’t originate in the supercomputer of our brain-mind. It appears to flow from a higher Source, an I-Am-ness that lies beyond the mind tricks of our consciousness. Trust can carry the weight of our existential angst, the gnawing unknowing of the sojourner as he plods wearily through space-time looking for answers. A faithful companion trust is ever-present at our side willing to lend a helping hand as we stagger under the weight of thought and shifting belief. Trust is an emissary of Divine Love, one sent to navigate us through the swirling waters of life’s pressures and loneliness.
OK, so how does this most precious of spiritual commodities arrive on our psychic doorstep?
Simply put, trust is a gift. It is given, neither earned nor achieved, contrary to the prevailing religious mindset that asks us to jump through the hoops of spiritual discipline to find it. No, the shocking truth is that it seems to be a part of the Divine Essence itself a little spark from the Eternal Flame that catches fire in the dry tinder of the broken psyche. Trust appears to come from outside space-time, an eternally benign virus that is thankfully hard to shake off. Once we’ve been infected we can never be the same again. Belief, the previous controller of our destiny is consigned to the back seat, where it can rant and rave for all it’s worth before falling asleep in the quiet security that trust knows the Way.
Trust manifests itself in the darkness of adversity; the silent traveling companion who takes over when the chips are down. When life pitches an unexpected ball of circumstance at us, it is trust who bats for us in the psychic game of confusion. Trust is not stoicism, the religious substitute that promises to deaden the pain of reality. No, trust works quietly in the midst of our pain and sense of desolation, in the all too real screams of our frightened psyche. Trust will not place the lid of denial on our inner terror, but will sit by holding our hand as we vent our anger on ourselves, others and the Divine itself. When the pain subsides, trust takes our hand like a kindly nurse and leads us on into healing, a place of deeper wisdom where we know we are Loved.
So how is trust strengthened?
Simply this. When we hear the Divine Voice, the well of trust is replenished and filled. Trust is a reflex action to the hushed tones of Spirit Breath. Thankfully God is a God of few words, unlike many of His kids. When a Divine message arrives it is usually short and sweet. Straight to the point or heart of the matter. Divine Wisdom knows that a multiplicity of words will only open us up to the misinterpretation of our belief obsessed minds. Divine messages are primarily aimed at the heart or spirit, not the analysis of our so-called rational minds. So how do I tune into these Divine transmissions?
In my next post I’ll look at how the Divine talks to us without us realizing.
Dylan’s Author page ~ https://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison