I came across this experiment from Rick Hansen and wanted to share with you. It certainly opened my mind to “faith” and what it means to me.
Read on and let me know what you think.
“Try a little experiment: in your mind or out loud, complete this sentence a few times: “I have faith in _________.” Then complete another sentence a few times: “I have no faith in ________.”
What do faith – and no faith – feel like?
In your experience of faith, there’s probably a sense of trusting in something – which makes sense since the word comes from the Latin root, “to trust.” (“Faith” can also mean a religion, but my meaning here is more general.) Faith feels good. To have confidence is to have faith; “con+fide” means “with+faith.”
Faith comes from direct experience, reason, trusted sources, and sometimes from something that just feels deeply right and that’s all you can say about it. Sometimes faith seems obvious, like expecting water to yield each time you prepare to dive in; other times, faith is more of a conscious choice – an act of faith – such as choosing to believe that your child will be all right as he or she leaves home for college.
What do you have faith in – out there in the world or inside yourself?”
For me, I have faith in the sun coming up tomorrow and that Spring will come. I have faith in the dogs greeting me with enthusiasm and love, my hubby taking care of our home. I have faith that my true friends and family with be there for me, that most people want peace of mind and peace in the world. I have faith that I am connected in spirit to others and to something much bigger than myself. I have faith that I will continue to teach yoga and make a difference in other people’s lives, that I will continue to learn and grow.
“Without faith in the world and in yourself, life feels shaky and scary. Faith grounds you in what’s reliable and supportive; it’s the antidote to doubt and fear. It strengthens you and supports you in weathering hard times. It helps you stay on your chosen paths, with confidence they will lead to good places. Faith fuels the hope and optimism that encourage the actions that lead to the results that confirm your faith, in a lovely positive cycle. Faith lifts your eyes to the far horizons, toward what’s sacred, even Divine.”
- Make a list of what you do have faith in – both in the world and in yourself. You can do this in your mind, on paper, or by talking with someone.
- Next, ask yourself where your faith might be misplaced – in dry wells or in dogs that won’t hunt. Be sure to consider too much faith in certain aspects of your own mind, such as in beliefs that you are weak or not good enough, that others don’t care about you, or that somehow you’re going to get different results by doing pretty much the same old things.
- Then pick one instance of misguided faith, and consciously step away from it: reflect on how you came to develop it and what it has cost you; imagine the benefits of a life without it; and develop a different resource to replace it.
- Repeat these steps for other cases of misplaced faith.
- Second, make another list, this one of what you could reasonably have faith in – in the world and in yourself. These are missed opportunities for confidence – such as in people who could be trusted more (including children), in the basic safety of most days for most people, and in your own strengths and virtues.
- Then pick one and see if you can have more faith in it. Remember the good reasons for relying upon it. Imagine how more trust in it will help you and others. Consciously choose to believe in it.
- Third, consider some of the good qualities and aspirations in your innermost heart. Give yourself over to them for a moment – or longer. What’s that like?