Article ID: 11975
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,352
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Author: Kestryl Angell
Posted: November 11th. 2007
Times Viewed: 1,912
In this period of world history where we are living in active wartime and the world is inundated with intolerance on many levels and foremost on a religious level, it has often been a question for me at why people have faith in their lives if it is going to cause mass destruction.
I know I am not the only one that looks at the war footage and says to them selves, “Good Gods! We are civilizations that have lasted for a couple of thousand years now—note that word Civil-izations—and we haven’t gotten past religiously based border skirmishes? Didn’t the previous several HUNDRED wars around the world prove to you that killing each other solves nothing?!…and it certainly does not prove that your viewpoint is the “correct” one for the rest of the billions of people on this planet!”
Then where do I go for solace when the answers come up, sometimes seemingly from the ENTIRE world around me, “Apparently we have not, as a race, learned those easy lessons.”? Where do I go to restore order to my understanding of senseless human behavior?
Where do I go to understand more about why humans still, after all this time, still do this “stupid human trick” called war in the name of peace? (Can you say Oxymoron? I knew you could!)
I go where most others go, to the arms of my faith which restores structure to my thinking out of the chaos created by the world around me and even, at times, the world inside me.
This act, in and of itself, tells me the answer to one question that haunts many people for their entire lives. That question is, “Why does faith exist?”
Faith exists, I feel, to give order to the Universe and to ourselves as we work to understand our place in the Cosmic Scheme and come, usually through a lot of work and denial and more work, to acceptance of our role in any given life.
If you look at any religion, world wide, you find that it usually has precepts of behavior and conduct attached to its dogmatic structure, in some way. This is how the majority of the world interprets “faith”—it is the place in which religion exists for them. For me personally, faith goes considerably deeper than my religious practices, but they are very much intertwined for me.
My religion and its tools give form to the ethereal concepts my faith states are truths for my reality. For instance, where Christians have the 10 Commandments, I have the Tenets of my faith—Balance, Tolerance, Humility, Trust, Harmony and Learning—that guide the truths my spirit holds as “true and necessary” ways of living for me. They allow the Universe, as I see it, to take shape and have structure from my spirit to my material world and back again.
Where many mainstream faiths limit themselves, however, is in the idea of insisting that theirs is the only truly true wisdom there is in this Universe. Even as pagans, you can see this sort of intolerance evident between arguing factions of Wicca or Shamanism or Druidism or even in Right vs. Left hand path practitioners.
The seemingly engrained human “need” to be “right!” is really quite limiting, for what we then lose sight of is the fact that…in some ways, everyone is right. There are tidbits of the total wisdom of the Universe there to find, if only you know how to look for the breadcrumbs.
If only the people involved could get over their need to be “right!” they might learn something truly amazing. However, most that are caught in the “but I’m right!” loop in life (see in your mind’s eye a little boy or girl in a general’s outfit or a diva’s outfit stomping their feet and demanding they be treated with more respect…a la’ Brittany Spears *insert author shudder here* ... yes, that’s like G.W. in the oval office when the latest strike reports come in!) usually have to take several more turns about the Wheel before they finally get… yes, they are right.
But so were…in some ways…the other guy, and the other guy, and the other guy…and even the other guy over there on the other side.
They might some day come to see that they all had a piece of the puzzle, if only we had listened with better ears the first time. However, faith and religion had nothing to do with the actual reasons the war took place. Illusions of power driven by fear are usually at the root causes of most wars and the true solutions for the warring factions generally lie not in annihilation but in cooperation and the pooling of resources for the overall good.
Even as characters in a modern crime investigation television show might do, if we take the spiritual journey as a “fact finding mission” through life, we can often find new pieces to our own personal belief structure that can add additional growing strength to the foundation our own faith lays down for us.
Some of them will be found in the oddest and most unexpected places, too!
I myself make it a practice to read works by authors from every faith path I have found wisdom within. This not only lets me know what they are currently believing, practicing and pouring their energies into on a cosmic scale, but sometimes gives me tidbits I can use too.
For instance, I have found many healing chants and mantras from the Buddhist path that assist me regularly. Likewise, I have several Christian hymns I still find a great deal of comfort in singing. As well, I have an Egyptian type of bodywork I do in addition to my Tai Chi workout that assists in leveling and balancing the energies of the body and mind. There is wisdom nearly anywhere you look that can help give your life more structure and, in the long run, a deeper spiritual connection to the entirety of the Cosmic Scheme.
Consider it like this: If you see the Cosmic Scheme as the vast jigsaw puzzle that shows the total pattern of the Universe in action, with each of us and our personal experiences as one vital piece at a time shown to us, the bits of wisdom found in the various faith-paths of the world are designed to show us the “edge pieces, ” the framework if you will.
Inside this framework, each person, each idea, each practice, each series of events builds in more and more of the picture. If we are lucky, we occasionally get glimpses of larger pieces of the whole, but it is rare that anyone on this physical plane gets a good hard look at the ENTIRE picture!
If you find an experience of knowing a person that has had one of these glimpses—trust me, you’ll know them—then you will find that they are definitely someone you should hear to your very soul. For, whatever lesson they have brought you, good or bad, easy or difficult—warning: they are usually difficult—you will have one of the most life-changing experiences you have ever known.
Then they too will become part of that structure, that framework you can more easily come to rely on to give your life shape from the depths of your spirit to the day-to-day labors of your life.
With this viewpoint, you also come to see that this planet is a plane that might as well be known as “spiritual boot camp, ” because those on this plane that are still stuck in the cycle of feeling that violence solves problems and that killing others is anything more than the modern way humans thin their own populace herds are like spiritual toddlers that simply don’t know any better.
Sad as this may seem, as learned as some of the scholars or war might have been born to be, the very fact that we can’t use non-violent means—oh, like active birth control, better prison and correction systems for those too socially broken to live as productive parts of society, and more humane practices for the ill and dying such as euthanasia by choice to treat our human populace as humanely in illness and pain as we currently do our animals—to curb populations.
How much of a better place to live would the world be if we could only get that everyone can choose to co-exist for the betterment of all concerned are simply beyond their understanding and ability to comprehend, much less embody in their own lives?
We must always remember that, in times of war, even those that protest to us that the reasons for their war-like ways are valid and correct for them, what they are actually warring for is a place in the world to call their own. Likewise, we must always remember that it is childish fear which keeps them so very afraid that even one single practitioner of another belief system other than their own will bring about total obliteration of life as they know it.
Differences of opinion and thought are as vastly varied as the faces of the people around you, and more likely even, as vastly as the stars in the sky. So to think that any form of thought from one single human being is the only one that is right is truly, in itself, so small a thought that it is hard to comprehend for higher minded folk that such a small thought process, such a tiny rutted loop in logic, could cause so much destruction. Yet, sad as it is, this is also the truth of it.
Now I can already hear those that read Sun Tzu and others like him and admire his definitive work, The Art of War as a truly artful study on the ballet that is the practice of warlike cultures complaining that there are “valid” reasons for war in the world.
I am not disputing that in this stage of the world’s development, there are still valid reasons for war to exist—even though it is a silly way to try to solve any argument. I am simply saying that those who take such works and such artful dances as things as they feel can only be accomplished on a bloody field of battle where innocents lose their lives for a cause, in many cases not even their own, the experts that back the practice of war are also limiting themselves in today’s society.
The artful dance that is currently War could and has been easily converted to ways of doing things that do not require that innocent people, children and the helpless, have to give up their lives so that others may loudly tout their beliefs for the entire world to see.
For human’s sake, people, learn to allow for other forms of thought than your own! Grow out of being barbaric, get out of your own way and use the brains the Gods gave us!
I promise you, just because more than one faith exists on a single block, or even in a single person, does not mean the world is coming to an end. It simply means that the world is evolving—if only we’d let it do so!
So, to answer the original question of this particular article, why Faith?
Because faith gives structure to our lives.
Regardless of whether we are Pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Shaman, Devotee of Order or Chaos, our faith is what gives our spirit, our energy, our lives its most balancing structure for our own learning experience to take place.
Why do so many change faiths throughout their lives? Because they find that the first set of answers and structures doesn’t fit anymore after some growth has taken place, much like a butterfly in its chrysalis, they outgrow their former belief system and expand in new directions.
Why can faiths exist side by side in marriage or even within a single person? Because they have found the wisdom to understand that additions can enrich a structure, if melded properly and with respect to all concerned without detracting from or dishonoring the other.
For above all, faith is a personal experience and stands as the linking thread between you and your face of God/dess.
Location: Columbia, Missouri
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