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We May Need To Kill Faith

How can we make faith make sense? So many of us are lost in rational minds. Rational minds that are right in the external sense of “right”, but they lack the inner connection to being. Faith is something that often sounds too “religious”. But faith may end up being important, but maybe we need to change the definition.

Quoting the Tao Te Ching we read “There is no greater illusion than fear, No greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, No greater misfortune than having an enemy. Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.”

That quote rings absolutely true to me. I know it as fact. I know fear is an illusion. I know that knowing that makes me eternally safe. This is obviously a deep faith, so what kind of faith could rational thinking people understand? And what kind of faith won’t be winning any arguments?

Faith in a certain action, like getting the third parking space from the left, becomes ridiculous scientifically. If you have that kind of faith, great, but you won’t be successfully debating any scientists. It is not about you getting a parking space. It’s not about you winning, or getting “things” necessarily. The kind of faith that science can’t argue with is this: a deep understanding that it is all OK. It is all OK. Whatever happens will be fine. There is a deep peace in that statement when we know it to be true. There is also durability and courage.

This kind of faith makes sense because we are able to drop our expectation, and science can’t argue with that. In doing it we free ourselves of potential let downs. Science can’t argue with experience without expectation. It can only argue with expecting magical things to happen.

Letting go of how things are supposed to be is perhaps the largest spiritual lesson we can learn, and it ends up being faith. Faith in the Tao, faith in Christ, faith in the Now, or just faith in you; whatever we call it, it will all be OK. It may be painful, it may be tough, but it will all be OK. Deciding to accept whatever comes is an amazing spiritual lesson that science can’t argue with. Once we see that, and drop our assumptions and expectations the world becomes very beautiful. We are surprised instead of disappointed. We are pleased with challenges instead of frustrated. We are thrilled with quiet instead of bored.

Referenced: Tao Te Ching

Shining Light on the Shadow

Part of evolving as a human being, and part of the teaching that I’m trying to promote, is about bringing awareness to all the aspects of our lives. One of the big accomplishments in psychology has been identifying and naming what’s been called the shadow. To understand the shadow we’ll try to describe a fictional “whole self” and then discuss damage that occurs which can create shadow.

What is a whole self? We could say that it is someone fully identifying with all the ways he/she can interact with the world: Thinking for objective experience. Emotion and body for subjective internal feeling. Spirituality for a larger context. Having access to all those experiences is what we might call being whole or fully self. (FYI – This is a different meaning of self, a more healthy meaning, than what I normally use to describe self.)

Shadow literally means to obscure the light. A shadowed element of self is a part of us that we don’t identify with. Commonly that can be an emotion we don’t relate to, or it can be how we relate to our bodies, minds, or spirituality. Any part of self that we have become misidentified with can be termed the shadow. Again, our shadowed elements are any part of us that we don’t have the ability to identify with directly. Shadow elements are often brought on by trauma, and solidified by our beliefs. Working with shadow is extremely difficult primarily because we don’t see what we’re not conscious of.

How do we find our shadow? We begin to find our shadow by looking at things that bother us – anger in other people or situations – behavior we know we do, but deny as “us”. Often this will be perceived as someone else’s “stuff.” It can be out in the world, but shadow can also express itself in our dreams. Therapy can help us find the shadow, in fact most of what therapy tries to do is work on reintegrating splintered parts of self and foster becoming whole.

To begin working with the shadow we make the effort to bring aspects of our self into 1st person experience. Literally taking 3rd person experience and working to make it 2nd person, and ultimately 1st person – via role playing dialog and perspective shifting. This is a great way to reintegrate shadowed elements of self.

Referenced: Integral Theory

Expectation vs. Experience

Important thought:  The gap between our experience and our expectation is our unhappiness.

Experience is what’s happening to us.  Expectation is what we’d like to happen to us.  How many people do you know who live in a state of almost constant disappointment over their life situation?  They are simply comparing what they experience to what the expect, and leaving a huge gap between the two.

There is a freedom away from this type of mind if we want to find it.  It takes a different mind set.  It will help if we can see the pain this behavior creates.

Which can we control, experience or expectation?  Movies and TV often imply that we can control the world, or should be able to.  Science implies that control or prediction should be our greatest goal.

An awake person realizes that we can control, or at least deal with the expectation part of this better than the experience part of this.  That realization is huge.