Faith can be a complicated word. For many of us it can be linked to religion and if we don't affiliate with a particular religion anymore or ever did - where does that leave faith?
It wasn't until I went through my 'Infinite Possibilities' training where I found a definition of faith that I loved.
"Faith is simply believing in things we cannot see or fully understand."
Often, we may have been going through life with our day to day activities, maybe not so in touch with our sense of spirituality or God (source, universe) or religion. We might have been a bit religiously disenfranchised or too busy with the forward motion of our lives to even give ourselves contemplation time.
And then a disaster strikes. Your parent dies. You get fired. You've been given a grim diagnosis. You're heartbroken and swirling in shades of grey - a place where you can't make sense of it and thoughts seem to ping from the past to the future at lightening speed.
When my husband left, it broke me. I felt absolutely shattered, and spent a lot of time collapsed on the floor in a sobbing heap.
When you're already on the ground, you can't go any lower in the emotional limbo of life. I knew I wanted to get through the devastation and because I'd recovered from many losses in the past, I knew it was possible. I didn't exactly know how to get through it, but one thing I did fairly early on was dust off my faith.
For me, that looked like finding community in non-denominational services and learning about the universe and spirituality from a more scientific perspective. When a life event happens that strips us to bare bones, we often start asking the bigger questions like, "What is the meaning and purpose of my life?" "Why am I here?" and the more contemporary, "WTF?!"
We may start to grasp the concept of faith, at first blindly believing there has to be a purpose and meaning that we just don't see or understand. The image of what faith is starts to become a bit more clear.
Getting to know our sense of faith, while an inward journey, is often marked by some outward expression. Sonia Choquette just published her book, "Walking Home," about her journey on the El Camino de Santiago trail in Spain. And of course there are movies like, "Wild" and "Eat, Pray, Love," that characterize the journey to find the peaceful self. Former military commander turned spiritual teacher, Bryan Reeves, writes about how he went on a two year journey all over the world to find himself.
When I wasn't numbing my pain with alcohol and sex with strangers, I had immersed myself in volunteer projects as a means of connecting with my deeper self who was frantically searching for so many answers. And what I realize now is that all of the external searching kept revealing bits of information locked inside myself. All the answers we're on a quest to find are within ourselves, but sometimes we go on a personal walkabout to reveal them.
I'd had a slippery hold of my newly found faith and in one of the bleakest of moments, I let go and wanted to die. For me, faith was a practice that got stronger with each step in the direction of peace and even the steps that brought me into chaos - because without feeling the contrast of how unaligned I felt in the frenetic scenes, I wouldn't have had the stronger desire for the peace.
Part of getting to peace was practicing more faith. "I have faith I have the strength to get through this." "I have faith the answers will come." "I have faith this is all serving my soul's growth." "I have faith there is a higher purpose to come from these events."
Faith is believing the strength is there even when I wasn't feeling it. Faith is knowing whatever life experience unfolds, it is for my greater good - even if the lesson is dark and ugly.
Faith is understanding that what I couldn't see was there all along.
Even in the times of great darkness when we cannot see the smallest glimmer of light, have faith the light is there as it always has been and always will be. Slowly, it will be revealed to you and will grow brighter and stronger, restoring you to your true peaceful self.
Hold that light high the next time you see the shadow of looming darkness.
"When I believe it, I will see it."