omiya_hikawa_shrine_1-1

Today we ask that you have faith.

Have faith.

What does it mean to have faith?

Faith means that you believe reality is good.  You believe reality is good.

Most people do not believe reality is good.  They believe it is broken, defective, and corrupt.  Something must be wrong with reality.  That is why bad things happen.

Religious people believe that the world is profane.  Humans are here because they fell from the Garden of Eden due to their sinfulness.  The Earth is a bad place.  When you die, you will go somewhere better — or worse.  Or else you are here because you are unenlightened, stuck on the wheel of death and rebirth, suffering because of your bad karma from past lifetimes you cannot remember.

All of this is untrue.  These stories are man’s attempts to make sense out of life, but they are not true.

Atheists believe that the universe is cold, mindless and mechanistic.  Life on Earth is a random anomaly.  At death, consciousness is snuffed out.

This is also untrue.  It is also just a story, an attempt to make sense out of life.

Humans historically have believed many untrue things about reality.  They have believed in the god-like divinity of pharaohs and emperors.  They have believed in gods who lived in a mountain.  They have believed that sacrificing animals and humans to the gods will give you good fortune and make you get what you want.

When Europeans first came to the New World in their sailing ships, some native peoples believed they were gods.  It is easy to understand why they believed this.  But they were wrong.

Humans come up with stories and myths to make sense out of things they cannot understand with their minds.  While they believe these stories absolutely, the stories are false.  

Faith is not believing in a false story, or a myth.

Faith is acknowledging that you cannot understand the workings of reality with your conscious mind.  Your perception is too limited.  The mind will never grasp it, no matter how hard it tries.

But your heart can sense it.  And what the heart senses is good.

The goodness of a baby.  Of morning dew on grass.  The walk in the woods.  The sunset over the ocean.  These things are good.  The heart knows this.

When the mind is quiet and still, you remember this.  When you lose yourself in the moment.  When you are in a beautiful place, connected to nature.  When you are completely present with a beloved animal, or a small child — you remember.  You are there.

The mind that constantly races, with all its stories and judgments, hopes and fears — it is like a radio blaring harsh sounds.  It keeps changing stations, jumping from one idea to the next.  All you hear is a cacophony that jangles the nerves.  It sounds crazy.

But when the mind settles, the radio is turned off.  Suddenly you hear this beautiful, quiet music — like someone singing a lovely song, maybe outside or in another room.  Listening to that song makes you feel peaceful.  But with that loud radio on, you would never hear it.

So this is what reality is like.  Under all the mental noise, there is this beautiful music.  It is good music.  But you have to be very quiet in order to hear it.

Most humans have forgotten how to be quiet.  So they almost never hear the underlying music, the good music of the universe.  Instead, all they hear is that horrible loud radio station blaring in their ears all the time, every waking minute.

Imagine what it would be like if you woke up, and immediately plugged in earphones tuned to a news radio station broadcasting messages of doom and gloom, telling you all the horrible things going on in the world.  The station changes, and now it’s loud, nerve-jangling music.  The station changes, and now it’s another news station with people saying frightening things.  And this goes on and on, all day long, until you go to sleep.

A person in that situation would be anxious, depressed, angry, and in a very bad mood all the time.  That person might even get sick.

This is precisely the predicament most humans are in.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

You can take the earphones off.  And when you do, you will hear the quiet, beautiful music that is always playing.  The music you can’t normally hear, but is always there.

All you have to do is create a little quiet space in your life.  Time to let the mind settle down.  Time when you are not plugged into a computer, TV, or phone.  Time when you are not multitasking.  Time when you can simply be present.

Maybe it is a brief window of time to meditate.  Maybe you go for a walk outside, stopping to notice the trees, plants, sky, and the feeling of the ground under your feet.  Maybe you let yourself be fully present with a child or animal, without your mind racing about all the other things you have to deal with.

Then you will begin to hear the quiet song.

This song is the underlying truth, beneath all the untrue stories men invent to make sense of a reality they cannot understand with their minds.

You will never understand reality with your thinking mind.

But you can feel the goodness of reality when you are still, and quiet.

So if you are someone who has lost your faith, but wishes to find it again — true faith, not the false faith of believing in made-up stories and myths — just be still.  Be still.  Your faith will return.  Your heart knows what the mind cannot.  

When you slow down, reality reveals its essential goodness.

Advertisements