FAITH; HOW DO WE LEARN IT?
A question was posed to me today; how do we learn to have faith? I have been pondering it all day.
When we were small we had faith in the people around us because we had to trust that they would support us while we were dependant upon them. Because we were totally helpless they literally meant life and death to us. With their help we survived and without it we didn’t. As we grew and started venturing out (arms length at first) we learned to have faith in our ability to roll or crawl away and faith that there would always be someone close enough to protect us. Soon we start to pull up to a standing position. This gives a totally new perspective, not only in what we can now see and reach but we begin to watch others to learn how to react, what to think about things and what life is all about…from the people around us. Here is where we start our long trip to autonomy as we begin to learn to walk. Since walking is just a series of controlled falls we must teach our feet and legs to handle that. Every time we fell down we had the determination and faith to try again until we mastered the task. In this act we reinforce the idea that faith in ourselves is possible and desirable. At this stage of the game we lived in a state of unconditional love for our supporting staff of caregivers. Their nurture gave us a sense of ourselves as people and we loved them above all else.
We are read stories and hear conversations and music (if we are lucky) and from all these, we learn the way our parents are as people and thus our barriers and perceptions begin to form. If there is any religious training we get that information filtered through what out parents think and how they understand life and faith. We begin to shape an idea of them (our parents and their ideas and beliefs), life and what faith/religion is all about and all of this is biased on our perception of what we believe we are seeing in them. In actuality we know very little about them as people, we see ‘parents’ and the people they are at that time in your life. Their past and deep down beliefs are usually hidden from us, not to hurt us, this is just their business and they rarely share it. So because of miscommunication and misunderstanding we decide who/what we want to be like and believe. Here is about where we begin to lose faith in everything we grew up with, ourselves, parents, faith and life in general and start to reshape our ideas about all of these things.
As we begin to get input from other sources we begin to ask questions that help us form our own ideas about everything in our world. This comes in stages, just like everything else and questions with their answers lead to more questions. This eventually becomes the basis for what will become our faith. Here is where we come back to a very important part of our babyhood, unconditional love and the ability to just let things be what they are without us trying to manipulate them into what we think they should be. As we learn to let go of the past while still honoring where we came from; while reaching for our future and allowing ourselves to grow, learn, share we begin to become what we are meant to become; a whole, balanced and loving person. All of this takes faith; faith in ourselves and our perceptions of what we truly believe; faith to embrace the courage to let that which no longer serves us fall away so that new understanding and connections with our own personal faith can blossom and take us to new heights and faith to believe that the Creator knows what S/He is doing with us.
Our faith starts out as a mirror of what we are taught as children. If we are fortunate enough we begin to see with new eyes and feel with new hearts. We begin to let go and allow. When this happens one of two things will occur, we will further understand and embrace our parents’ faith and grow there or, we will look in other directions to find what truly vibrates with us as individuals. Both of these paths take faith and courage. However we choose to connect with our source, as long as we are true to ourselves as virtuous people and act in a manner that is worthy of us as children of divine creation and love; can act/live in gratitude and tolerance, our faith will continue to flourish and grow; answers and enlightenment will come from our guidance and as we ask and learn to hear the still small voice of God that in within us we will become everything that we are meant to be. When we have matured enough to be able to return to our ability to live with unconditional love for others and ourselves we will have discovered…faith.
Bright blessings, Chessie
© Chessie Roberts 2011, all rights reserved