QUOTE (zanardi @ Jan 5 2007, 02:31 PM)
I am still waiting for a reply to what faith actually is. It is very mysterious, indeed.
Outside of being the name of one of my early girlfriends, Faith seems to be this essence of self trust that lies deep inside ourselves. This is a trust that allows us as individuals to discover deeper truths that can be relied on as we traverse the complexities of living a life on this planet.
Faith has a positive power to it when it is not linked to a dogmatic religious interpretation or divisiveness. It has a foundation of compassion and love for ourselves and others. It uncovers our connection to others and does not designate anyone as separate and apart.
It does not have to require a belief system or even a connection to a God, though it does not have to deny it either. This Faith is not a commodity that we have or do not have, it is an inner quality that unfolds as we learn to trust our own deepest experiences.
No matter what we encounter in life, it is faith that enables us to try again, to trust and love again . In times of great suffering, it is faith that enables us to relate to the present moment in such a way that we can go on, we can move forward, instead of becoming lost in despair. Faith links our present-day experience, whether wonderful or terrible, to the underlying pulse of life itself.
Many people who proclaim to be true believers in a one true faith, even Gaudiya Vaisnava’s, use faith as a model of submission to an external authority and tradition. This seems to slice cleanly between those who belong to a select group and those who do not. This fuels their own embittered agendas, while fanatics cast what they call faith into hatred and anger towards those who differ. This attempt equates faith with doctrine, which then goes into arguments about terminology and concepts, which distracts us from what faith is all about in its essence and simplicity—a trusting self knowledge that allows us to make choices and discover deeper truths we can rely on. So Zanardi, I think your right, it is actually pretty mysterious stuff that cannot be bottled and made the same for us all!!