Monday, April 4, 2016

What is this concept called "faith?"

Happy April! This month our theme is ”faith,” which is a word like “truth,” “love,” and “beauty” which people project all kinds of meanings into.

Many people use the word “faith” as if it were synonymous with belief. On surveys, people are asked if they have a “faith” preference, or if they were raised in a “faith” tradition. This month we will not be using the word “faith” as if it were “belief.” We will be discussing something much deeper and more fundamental. The faith we will be talking about is something that is usually unconscious, yet motivates our whole being. The faith we are talking about is the faith that something in life will make me happy. Faith answers the question, “What is the good life, and how should I live it to be happy?”

The Dali Lama said that the purpose of life is happiness. All human beings want to be happy. The Dali Lama passes over the deeper question which is “What will make me happy?” It is that thing which you think will make you happy which is the “faith” that we will be talking about. That thing is what we invest our time, energy, heart and mind into because we think it will give us the happiness that we seek.

It says in lesson 91 in ACIM “ Faith goes to what you want, and you instruct your mind accordingly. Your will remains your teacher, and your will has all the strength to do what it desires.” So the basic question to be considered is “What do you want?”

Once we realize that the external world will not make us happy and we decide that we want to know the truth of life, we begin to realize as it says in Chapter 17, Section VI, paragraph 6, “The goal of truth requires faith. Faith is implicit in the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and this faith is all-inclusive. Where the goal of truth is set, there faith must be. The Holy Spirit sees the situation as a whole. The goal establishes the fact that everyone involved in it will play his part in accomplishment. This is inevitable. No one will fail in anything. This seems to ask for faith beyond you, and beyond what you can give.”

Faith, in ACIM, is in the Atonement principle. Atonement, of course, is At-One-Ment which I describe as “when everybody loves everybody all the time.” We human beings have a long way to go to achieve this last day, but I do have faith that that time is coming. I think the modern artistic rendition of this kind of faith is John Lennon’s song, Imagine, and the Beatles song, Love is All There Is.

In Alcoholic Anonymous they have a slogan, “You do your best, and God will do the rest.” To say this slogan with any degree of sincerity requires a willingness to surrender to your Higher Power and this surrender makes us vulnerable and takes much faith.

Jesus never condemned anyone for sinning, but He often would say, “Oh ye of little faith. If you only knew how much your Father in heaven loves you!” This belief in God’s love for us unconditionally takes great faith, because we often don’t love ourselves or one another and so don’t believe it is possible. When we overcome the barriers and obstacles to our awareness of Love’s presence in our lives our faith has been validated and brings us peace and joy.

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