What exactly is faith? I always thought of it as a trust in something beyond myself. Recently I read that it is a mental attitude, a state of mind. Because of this I began to pay attention to my inner world and how faith exists in me. In doing this I indeed am discovering that it is a state of mind, a mental attitude that we cultivate and practice. Of course I go to the dictionary and look at the definitions. It's what I do. What I see is "complete trust" and "belief and trust in God". There it is, complete trust, trust in something beyond myself. Faith is a term we use to describe a quality or condition that exists. And this condition I will consider as "complete trust "as I write this passage.
Life is quite calm and smooth inwardly when we experience complete trust. If this condition exists inside, as any feeling of doubt emerges, our mental attitude of faith quickly extinguishes it. Any fear will be quelled by our inner faith in the rightness of life, just as it is. When we begin to worry, we can call on faith to reverse our thinking and redirect our minds to beneficial places. Sure enough with true faith - complete trust - we can just relax and do our part.
Doing our part then becomes the issue at hand. Many of us get hung up in the doing our part thing. Places that we stumble around include the following types of situations. The situations described below are the kind that continue to happen again and again in relationships, versus a one-time assistance or a period of helping sessions because of unusual circumstances. The latter is not the condition I am concerned with in this writing.
We have a difficult time doing only our part when we are a get-it-done type of person. Often we begin to do other's parts when they don't or won't do their own. The trouble with this is that we usually resent it at some level if the other is capable of their part. We enable others weaknesses or unconscious behaviors by picking up the slack. This includes sending an indirect message - you are not capable but I am.
Thus we find the second condition. A biproduct of doing others parts is the feeling of being powerful. We find we feel more than capable when we do our part AND anothers. For anyone lacking in healthy self-esteem that comes from feeling "I am enough", this can be an egocentric boost to the sense of competent self. But deep within we know the truth, they can do it, they may just be dumping their work/part on us because we are willing to accept it.
And now the next condition, we do for others to salvage a relationship or a quality of relationship that we are attached to. When we don't push back, we don't threaten the status quo. Looking at the dance of the relationship, each of us can consider what we are attempting to "save" with the doing beyond our part. We can ask ourselves what is it we are holding onto by not having the other do their part in the relationship.
These are all things to consider as we look at how faith operates (or doesn't) in us. When I look at myself and my life, I recognize that I have surrounded myself with individuals that are competent at life, that are caring and that are willing to look at themselves and consider how they behave, the ways that their behavior effects those with whom they are in relationship. I am not afraid to speak about how I feel, about how anothers actions have affected me and about the quality of life I want and cultivate. I realize as I write this that I have great faith, complete trust in those in my inner circle, and a lot of faith in those I am less close to, even as I move outward in looking at my circle of relationships. It is this faith in both others and myself as well as a higher order that allow me to let go and say, all will be well.
So I am experiencing faith as a mental attitude these days. I hear myself saying inside all will be well. Even if things don't go according to my internal plan, or my hopes do not become realized just as I wish, I still say within me, all will be well. I trust that life is organized in my best interest for me to learn and grow and become my strongest self, as I do my part. And my part is taking action towards that which I desire, behaving in ways that I feel good about moment-to-moment and following through with the commitments I make to myself and others. In allowing others to do their own part, feeling the reality of the world they are creating, I trust that they too are learning the lessons they need to grow and become their best selves.
Faith is a quality I choose to cultivate and enjoy.