Boy is this a concept that I have had to do a lot of work on! I guess I have always had it...but for many years, it was the faith that life was going to suck and that I would never, ever get what I wanted. I had to work hard to maintain that belief system...making sure that every positive or good thing that came into my life, quickly got re-characterized into some negative aspect. I have found that my mind, never, ever has trouble taking something good and making it into something negative...still.
However, when I hit bottom and the worst possible thing that could ever happen did in fact happen, I began to look at the world and myself differently. I began to see that all of the “shit” that was happening was really just life and what really made it “bad” or “good” was the way in which I thought about it. I really had a choice to view whatever just happened, was said, how I was treated, how I behaved as being both a positive and a negative. And somehow in this process, I stopped trying to only seek the good and learned to accept and actually learn from the “bad” things.
Faith gave me an out from being a victim. Up until this point, I really believed that I was just walking through life trying to be a good person and all this shit was raining down on me, screwing up my life. In fact, upon further and deeper evaluation, I was the one that insisted on behaving in ways that made my life harder, more painful and less connected to others. Not the other way around. I was selfish, self-centered and an ass a great deal of the time.
I had tried organized religion as a kid. I desperately wanted something or someone to believe in. "Beam me the fuck up, would ya?" I would sit there in church and see others appearing to really get something out of what they were listening to...I did not. I felt worse. I felt like a fraud. I felt like I didn’t belong there. I felt like whatever they were getting was because they were purer than me and I was just too bad or wrong or damaged to receive it. I was a lost soul for sure, but no one seemed to notice and even if they had, I would have refused any kind of salvation because it wasn’t the right kind or because I didn’t think you “got” me.
It wasn’t until my way of living almost killed me at 25 that I began to see what role faith would have in my life. I had to hit bottom and completely spiral out of control before I could be willing to accept that perhaps there was some universal loving force out there that might help me...if I let it.
It has been a long and arduous road for me on the faith front. But it has led me to a place where I know with 100% certainty that I believe in something greater than myself. I have come to terms with it being vague for me. Sometimes it is a loving parental figure, sometimes it is one of you other humans walking around on the planet, sometimes it is the Buddha, sometimes it is loving kindness, sometimes it is in nature, sometimes it just this feeling of peace and serenity that I get for no reason whatsoever.
Regardless of what shape it takes, I know that it is there and wants me to be brave and bold, to love with all of my self. To move closer to the direction of faith and love and honor and dignity and grace. I know this to my core. That doing shitty things with shitty motives for shitty reasons is not an ok life for me anymore. I have to be hard on me so that I may be gentle with you.
I got a lot of comments yesterday about how mean I was to me or how hard I was being on myself. I don’t see it that way. I have to take myself to task...it is how I purify to access the Divine. I can’t move toward God and show up with shitty behavior and an attitude. I have to humble myself and ego long before I get to the door. Otherwise, I will take credit and think that it is because of some internal merit that I even know where the door is.
I have faith today that right action follows right action and that wrong action follows wrong action. And I believe that with all that I am. I know the world is hard. I know that bad things happen but I also know this most amazingly true secret: that it is all happening FOR me, and only when I am not spiritually fit do I believe it is happening TO me.
I get to do this life. The hard, the painful, the ecstatic. I GET TO DO IT ALL...and I get to decide if I want to take the next step with or without a belief that there is some sort of benevolent and loving force behind it all. I have had the benefit of doing it without that belief and doing life with that belief. It is no contest which is the better way to live.
Today, I believe that there is a loving kindness current that flows all around me all the time. I can sit in it, bathe in it or wholly ignore it. It is really, totally and completely up to me. I know how I feel when I jump into that flow and all my choices and actions come from that place. And I know how I feel when they don’t. It is not a hard decision, even though sometimes I make it out to be like it is. I have tried the way of no faith and the way of faith. My life is so much better because of a deep and meaningful belief that my life is best guided by something greater than myself...and it doesn't matter what that force looks like. My most useful and best use of my life is to just trust and allow the benevolent life force to flow all around, caring less and less that it look a particular way at all. When I can do this, I get to see that life is this beautiful tragedy that is pockmarked with moments sublime. And somehow, I get to be a part of it all. To connect with others, while opening my heart more and more each day so that perhaps before I die, I will be able to love with a fearless and wide open heart which feels like the ultimate goal of faith...and a life well lived.