It is faith that moves the world
I trust objectivity and rationality. I believe in scientific temperament, though I have my doubts about modern science. Though I like to claim that I am an atheist but technically I am an agnostic. I firmly believe that it is faith that moves the world.
There have been numerous instances in my life when I have come across situations where I was stumped by something which, in all my reasonableness, came across as highly unscientific. On one hand I saw them almost like an occult practice; on the other hand there were many evidences to suggest that reason exists beyond the objectivity of science.
I encountered faith based healing for the first time when our daughter had some unexplained stomach aches. I was told by a healer that her stomach ache was due to the anger that I apparently nurtured in my gut. I was told that to relieve her of pain I had to change my ways. That encounter also solved my chronic acidity problem. Since then I have had acidity issues but never did I experience that intense pain again. This surreal encounter disrupted my worldview and forced me to open up to alternate realms of reality.
This opening up led to many more experiences. I was amazed by the seemingly evident correlation between human emotions, physiology, memories, habits, opinions, faith, intentions, etc. I came across numerous elements of indigenous & traditional knowledge and practices that made me wonder how human mind came to such conclusions. I was also pained by the fact that all what we ‘know’ is seen, known and explored through the prism of religion due to which they are assumed to be irrational, or inheritance of a certain set of people.
It has almost been proven that our state of mind manifests physiologically. Sometimes it manifests as habits which eventually shows up physiologically. I think the main contention now is – to what extent? Is this limited to the medical observations like anxiety and depression reduces immunity, or does it extend to the detailed tabular representation made by someone like Louise Hay who had listed out correlation of almost every physiological problem with a state of mind? No matter where one stands on this balance, I think it is almost certain that our mind and its state drive our lives.
In spite of all these experiences, I still consider myself to be a fence sitter of sorts – receiving and rejecting at the same time! While sitting on the fence and watching strange things unfold, I wonder if most of these things are about faith and intentions. I have experienced it many a times that if one truly desires for something, it does manifest itself, even if late. For me, even our daily bread is fetched that way!
Once a communist friend asked me why is it hard for people to completely abandon the idea of faith as it seems to do more harm than good? My view is that religion is just one aspect of faith. As faith is an abstract entity, these practices can be seen as personification of that abstraction. Even though I despise the idea of organized religion, I don’t think it can, or should, go away because religion is eventually about faith. The problem is not religion but its interpretation and deep association with ego and identities. Such associations weaken the faith – the same very faith which is often the last straw of hope for a sinking soul. Science and communism abhorred religion and spirituality but failed to replace it with any other system of faith. If one was to go deeper, even Marx and Stalin are elements of faith. Even soulless dictators thrive on faith of some sort, however misplaced that faith may be. The fact that a corrupt system persists is because either we do not have faith that change is possible or we end up believing in the system itself – lending it support and legitimacy through our participation or mute acceptance.
I think our mind works primarily around faith. If one was to look closely, even our dreams and desires are our faith in our own future. It is how we want the destiny to unfold. Our acceptance of ourselves as humans itself is a matter of faith. Frankly, without faith we would land into an existential crisis of sorts.
When someone is sick and people pray, no matter which God or power one prays to, I think it is the collective energy of these good intentions that unfolds as healing power. When, during a pandemic, people run around to help strangers with food, medicines and others supplies, they are praying through their actions. Even thinking about someone who is unwell and hoping that they do not suffer and get well soon is a kind of prayer. Every act of thinking positively about someone, even for a second, is nothing but faith and positive intention. I think it is this power of faith and intentions that moves the world. It nudges us to carry on even in desperate times.
I think it is only because of faith that even in the times of utter despair we do not lose hope in life itself. We do not lose hope even when we are utterly angry or fearful. It is perhaps this collective hope that helps our loved ones come out of their miseries. And even when we end up confronting a reality that we had not envisioned, it is faith that soothes our bodies and soul. Even if we do not believe in heaven or hell, we do want to believe that the ones who departed are happy wherever they are. We want to dearly believe that eventually it was destiny, or god’s will, or a mathematical equation, or a biological workflow that actuated the reality we face. We may never forget the mismanagement or blatant apathy that led to our miseries, we may never forgive the people who caused this pain and suffering but as individuals, even burdened by immense loss, we move on to live for what remains. Resurrection is not a divine but a human trait.
When it comes to sickness and suffering, I think what heals us is also our faith in our own capability to heal ourselves, and the collective faith of our friends and family. I think the problem happens when we completely externalize the process. In order to have faith that a suffering will go, we perhaps have to also accept that it can go any which way. Because we want to ensure certainty of outcome, externalization comes across as a good bet. I wonder if banking on a specific solution or remedy weakens our will and faith, unless one wholeheartedly accepts the remedy and its outcome. I think that while we seek specific remedies we should not forget that this is not a simple cause and effect relationship. It is the numerous strands of hope and actions weaved around the core of faith, which pulls life ahead.
While it is easy to make such observations, it is extremely complex to follow them. In desperate times we all cling on to every possible hope as if it was the last and only one. It is almost impossible to remain stoic amidst fear of losing someone or witnessing the suffering of someone we love. But no matter which way the world goes we cannot ignore the reality that the power on which humanity thrives is nothing but faith and positive intentions. And we cannot afford to lose that!