Faith means different things to different people, but much of the time I’m told that faith means believing in something that can’t be proven. For instance I have faith that I’m going to walk again but yet I cannot prove it to anyone. It is simply something I know is going to happen because the thought has been ingrained into my consciousness by some higher power. Yet when I think of faith in my own life, this is not what immediately comes to mind.
When I think of faith I think of living my life to the best of my abilities. Resting here in the moment reaching out to the opportunities that present themselves to me, knowing that they will lead me down a path of purpose and reason. This type of faith requires action and it requires courage. It requires facing all the ugly emotions and not running away from them. It requires facing fears and living through moments which all senses tell me to run away from, to push down into a box, and stuff away in a closet somewhere. It is a faith which allows me to choose without regret, act without worry, and live knowing that my life is in God’s hands.
A life without regret would be true if my faith was 100% strong but it is not. I do regret and I do worry. All the time. But as I go forward in faith, I slowly break down the barriers between what I perceive as myself and what is. Facing the ugly emotions, the tightness which wraps itself around my throat, I discover that I can let go and be all of these things which I push away as well as the things I embrace. I can love myself for everything I am, everything I despise and everything I admire. When my life feels like a hurricane I do not need to find a way to calm the storm. I can sit and feel the harsh winds hit my face and all the dirt and grime which crash through me. The torrential downpours can hit me with 80 mph winds and seep into my soul. I can absorb everything which I hate and fear only to discover that beneath that hate lies a love for everything I am.
So often we feel like we need to fix things. Life is not going the way it’s supposed to go, I’m not feeling the way I’m supposed to feel, I must do something to change this. It is a common misconception among all of us that we always need to fix, but this is not the case. It is true that we must continue to move forward so that life and energies can fluctuate and flow but everything that is happening in this moment is here for a reason. The emotions we experience, the people who are around us, and the environment we are placed in is all here as an opportunity to grow, learn, and awaken to the presence of God and the unity of love and life that we all share. To push away this moment and what is happening here and now is to push away our purpose. Instead I believe it is necessary to embrace the moment even if it feels icky and uncomfortable, so that we can develop a lovingkindness for who we are and fulfill the purpose of why this moment is here. Only then can we learn from the moment as is our purpose and then slowly be able to let go and settle into our true nature. However, even pushing things away and hiding from what scares us is part of the moment and could be part of our purpose. It’s not about frantically running around on impulses, but to choose and act in faith and embracing with love and gentleness all that comes along with these choices.
Everything which encompasses our lives is here for a reason. It is quite possible to embrace all of it and use each moment of our lives as an opportunity to awaken and love ourselves. It is also possible to become bitter and angry concerning how we feel and what life hands us, but even that can be embraced with love. Once you love yourself, that love will grow and touch all life in some way or another, because nothing is separate, and nothing is excluded from the oneness of all life. If you want to change the world, the best place you can start is within yourself.
I am no swami living a life of complete acceptance of all that is. Life is actually not going exactly the way I think it should at the moment. Coming back from my last visit to Francis I was extremely encouraged but was also attached to many expectations. Laying in bed those first couple of nights back and feeling the immense healing taking place in my body, my heart pounded as I thought of the recovery which was in store for me. And so I’ve patiently waited and find myself continuing to wait for that burst of improvement which I perceive as so imminent. Physically I continue to feel small bursts of improvement. Even in the past few weeks I would feel a surge of healing surface, I than expect huge things, and then the next morning I am slightly stronger. I smile and feel satisfaction in my gains but the expectations are not reached.
I perceive myself as an up-and-coming miracle. I perceive myself as different from other spinal cord injuries even those who recover years after their injuries. But doubt does creep in my mind and I wonder if I’m fooling myself. Will my faith ever be proven? The doubt is then crushed when I close my eyes and discover that seed of faith which has been planted. There is something within me that will not be shaken nor stirred. This does not fully take away from the fact however that the past few weeks frustration has been present as I try and patiently wait for the miraculous recovery which I know will one day manifest. Obviously my recovery is going at the pace it is going at the present time because that is what is meant to be. I can do the best I can, and incorporate all the modalities of healing therapies which have been presented to me. I can continue to open doors and follow the signs which God presents to me. I can do all that I can to ensure that the energies of life flow and I do not get stuck. After I do this I must accept the moment and all that it offers me so that I can fulfill that purpose and learn what I am supposed to learn. Only then will I be allowed to move on to the consecutive phases of my life. I strongly believe in reason and purpose these days. It is quite ridiculous to me to think that all of this is just chaotic, meaningless series of events. As much as I might not like it sometimes, I’m right where I am supposed to be.
As far as my frustration goes it helps to look back and think about what life would be like if I had not moved here to Atlanta and stayed in Charlotte. A shiver actually runs down my spine thinking about it. I would still be completely skin and bones with scapulas popping out like a pterodactyl. I would be getting urinary infections twice a month. I would be cold and tired shivering in my room. Overall I would still be pale, frail, and puny. I would also be living a life not knowing where I was going. I may not be improving as fast as I would like but things are much much better than they could have been.
The Buddhists have a saying that once you find the Buddha, kill the Buddha. I interpret this as once you think you have found all the answers you must immediately destroy them. Once you believe that you have everything all figured out, you attach yourself to the thought that everything is going to be smooth sailing from here on out. Then all of a sudden the hurricane hits, your attached ways of thinking do not work and you are left in despair. On all levels life is a fluctuation of energy, whether it is in the outside world or inside our minds. Each of us has a path to travel and no path is the same as anyone else’s. This is true for the path one takes to work as well as the path one takes to awakening in spirit. We can find all the answers simply by looking within and embracing with love.