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Blindly, I Go By D Joshua Banks

The palaces faith builds are greater than the prisons fear creates.

Without question I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. You can never really know someone completely. That’s why it’s the most terrifying thing in the world, really—taking someone on faith, hoping they’ll take you on faith too. It’s such a precarious balance, It’s a wonder we do it at all. And yet.. Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty. Instead of being encouraged to feel completely protected, loved, honored, and respected by the Divine Force, you’ve been taught that you’re being judged. Because you’ve been taught that, you feel guilt and fear. But guilt and fear do not open you connection to the Divine; they only serve to close your heart. The reality is that God’s way is love, and you can see this for yourself.

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you. Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, In this hour, I do not believe that any darkness will endure.

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly. I think of how life takes unexpected twists and turns, sometimes through sheer happenstance, sometimes through calculated decisions. In the end, it can all be called fate, but to me, it is more a matter of faith. To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.

Challenge a person’s beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power. And when those beliefs are based on nothing but faith, they are chronically fragile. No one gets upset about the belief that rocks fall down as opposed to up, because all sane people can see it with their own eyes. Not so for the belief that babies are born with original sin or that God exists in three persons or that Ali is the second-most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them–or worse, who credibly rebut them–they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defend a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful. They say time is money, but that’s not true. Time is life. And if I want the fullest life, I need to find fullest time… the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life. And here is the point, about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. Much of what we called “depression” was really dissatisfaction, a result of setting a bar impossibly high or expecting treasures we weren’t willing to work for.

Faith is not a blind thing; for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing; for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing; for faith trusts, and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation. Though I do not believe in the order of things, still the sticky little leaves that come out in the spring are dear to me, the blue sky is dear to me, some people are dear to me, whom one loves sometimes, would you believe it, without even knowing why; some human deeds are dear to me, which one has perhaps long ceased believing in, but still honors with one’s heart, out of old habit. Devotion is diligence without assurance. Faith is a way of saying, ‘Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I am voicing in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding.’ There is a reason that we refer to leaps-of-faith, because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don’t care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove that their faith is rational; it isn’t. If they were rational, it wouldn’t be – by definition – faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face first and full speed into the dark.

There isn’t any questioning the fact that some people enter your life, at the exact point of need, want or desire – it’s sometimes a coincendence and most times fate, but whatever it is, I am certain it came to make me smile. For dear me, why abandon a belief
Merely because it ceases to be true. When you let go of control and commit yourself to happiness, it is so easy to offer compassion and forgiveness. This propels you from the past, into the present. People that are negative, spend so much time trying to control situations and blame others for their problems. Committing yourself to staying positive is a daily mantra that states, “I have control over how I plan to react, feel, think and believe in the present. No one guides the tone of my life, except me.

Grace will lead me and follow us even when we are going the wrong way.


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