The question of faith
Where do you get your faith from? People wonder
This is my brief reply to my friend Joe as we discussed faith and when he asked me:
“I still don’t understand where you get your faith from; personally all I would get from your experiences is total anger. I assume then that one of us is totally fucked up and I’m sure it aint you.”
No Joe, it aint you either.
You are a person full of compassion and humanity, you are someone who thirsts for justice, and for the best for mankind. And that is the essence of what makes us human.
Dear Joe, arriving at where we are in our understanding of the world has much to do with our long painstaking quest for answers through our diverse and profound personal experiences, and of course directed and predisposed by our intellectual capabilities, emotional capacities, cultural influences and psychological tendencies.
We all arrive to this world without a choice of our own, and as soon as we open our eyes to the wonders around and within ourselves we are driven to question, and to long for meanings that explain our existence.
Our curiosity is magnified as we grow.
Drawing on my personal experience, this inquisitive curious mind was no different from anyone else, as a little girl I parched and yearned for answers.
I started asking questions and thinking about the world and later on about my very own existence, and about God, at a very young age.
As a toddler I lived in a small village in Palestine, I was fascinated by my surroundings, the trees, birds, flowers, people, but more so the sky, how vast! How beautiful! How perfect! It was always urging me to look at, at first to admire and then to question. I spent endless hours staring at it day and night.
As I grew a little older my fascination grew deeper, I started to look for meanings and explanations, trying to make sense of what’s around me.
“What is all this? … Why is all this? … Who am I? … Do I really exist? … How and why I can comprehend the fact that I exist? …. Why am I here? … Is there a purpose in my life? If there is, what is that purpose?”
Endless questions burned in my little head.
I thought and contemplated for many years; and while many of my mates were playing I used to be drawn into this inner world of mine searching for meanings and answers.
The only valid explanation for me that echoed incessantly in my little brain was that there must be a perfect designer, a mastermind, an intelligent power behind all, a supreme awareness, a sublime consciousness, a talented artist and compassionate being if any thing is to have any meaning at all.
The only conclusion I’ve ever being able to arrive at was always that there must be a Being who is greater than I, who is more intelligent than I, and who is more loving than I. my perception of that Being is what I call “faith”, “spirituality”.
Later on, and as I went through certain spiritual experiences I came to feel God in the real sense.
As I prayed, an overwhelming, sublime, gentle, subtle, loving, magnificent presence engulfed me.
Words always fail me and fall very short, for I can’t put that feeling in words.
God for me was as real -if not more- than my own reality. So in my own perception God is a certainty; however, that does not give me the right to impose my perception upon others.
(By the spiritual experience I mean the feeling in which you are overwhelmingly moved by joyful, ecstatic and exhilarated sensation of euphoria and total awareness and nearness of a Sublime Most Loving Presence that you are ever so grateful for)
now then, if faith and the concept of God provides a logical explanation to my existence, and if it helps me understand myself and the world around me in a rational manner, if it can give me a sense of fulfilment, contentment and satisfaction, if it enables me to survive adversities of life with minimum trauma and more patience, grace and sanity, if it fills my soul with love, joy, peace and tranquillity, if it makes life more fun, more enjoyable and my experiences more real and intense ; then how and why should I complain or deny?
After all there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. My logic concluded.
Dear Joe, I must emphasise here that I did not find faith through my suffering and pain; but rather through my inner quest and thirst for answers.
Through my fascination with this breathtaking beauty that I see all around.
Through my amazement, astonishment, and wonder at my ability to think and use logic and reason.
Through the heart melting awesome feelings that engulfed me as I felt my baby’s hand wrapped around my finger.
Through the superb fabulous sensation as I caress a soft velvety rose and as I fill my being with its sweet scent that leaves me awe struck and “gob smacked”
Through the marvellous, splendid and magnificent sensation of love that captures my soul and overwhelms me with infinite joy and bliss
Having said that, I also found that my faith helps me through my suffering, it enables me to rise above and overcome hardships and adversities
My faith gives me inner strength; I don’t need rely on anything; people, things, or mind-blocking substances to cope with the adversities of life, pain, worries or sorrow. My faith is my inner strength.
It gives me a sense of purpose, it gives my life a meaning, it gives my mind a sense of direction, it gives my heart endless fulfilment and fills it with boundless love, and it gives my soul everlasting joy and delight
My faith brings to me none but the most pleasant, most amazing feelings of contentment, tranquillity, peace; that life could be raging around me but I am sitting there ever so calm, ever so still, ever so safe, as if forever sitting in the eye of the storm.
My faith enthuse me with hope, happiness and bliss that nothing, absolutely nothing in this life I’ve ever experienced can be weighed against, measured up to, or compared with those intense wonderful experiences.
It is like trying to describe the feeling of your magnificent love to some one who’s never been in love before, who’s only experienced the enjoyment of intellectual muse, but never tasted love.
The feeling of excitement of intellectual stimulation, and the delight and pleasure of being in love and feeling loved are absolutely insignificant compared to the overwhelming enchantment and ecstasy that the soul enjoys in one moment of inspiration
Can I ever give it up for anything? Can I ever swap it with the whole material world with all of what’s in it?
Not even if I were to be chopped and diced into pieces or burnt at the stake.
If I was to use all the words
Of all languages
Ever used by poets
Since time began
I’d never be able to describe
If I was to collect all the masterpieces
Of all the works of art
By man’s imagination
I could never repaint
If I was to live
All my past, present
In pain, fear, and sorrow
Absorbing the suffering
Of all humanity
Since life began
It’s a price worth paying
Thank you for giving me
A taste of paradise on earth
If only for a moment
Thank you for opening a window
In my confined heart
In the here and now
Into eternity and infinity
If only for moment
For blessing me with
Aware of it all
There I am
In the eye
Of the storm