Monday, November 12, 2012

What is Faith? Home News Tribune (East Brunswick, New Jersy) April 3, 2008

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Faith is the central core of human existence. Faith sustains life and leads one through difficult times. Faith brings out hidden courage and potential in more ways than one. To have faith is to realize that God is protecting you. Realizing this is sufficient to move ahead in life.
There are three types of faith: Faith in oneself, faith in the world, and faith in the Divine. All these faiths are connected. You must have all three for each to be strong. The concept of faith is treated differently in the East and West. In the Occidental or Western way of thinking, faith comes first, and experience follows. According to Oriental or Eastern philosophies, the reverse is true: experience comes first, and faith follows.
During the harvest season, the farmer separates husk from grain with a broad sieve. He stands on an elevated platform, holds the sieve and puts all his grains into it. He then proceeds to shake the sieve. If the particle that falls through the sieve is mere husk, it flies away and is lost. Meanwhile, the grains fall to the ground and stay put. Similarly, if your faith is shaken very quickly and too often, or if you lack faith in difficult times, then you are akin to the flying husk.
God expects only one thing from you your unshakeable faith. One whose faith shakes when faced by catastrophes cannot smile through them. If you lack faith and if events frighten you, then you fly away like the husk, lost and anchorless. On the other hand, if you have faith that everything will be all right, you will find stability and everything will settle down.
Contrary to popular thinking, faith does not contradict logic. When knowledge establishes itself firmly in one's life, it is called faith. Make the knowledge, "I am blessed," your companion and have faith in the Infinite.
This feeling of "I am blessed" can help you overcome any obstacle. There is a saying: "Behind every successful man is a woman." I would modify it to read: "Behind every success, there is the Divine that says, "I am behind you.' " Once you realize that you are blessed, complaints disappear, as do grumblings and insecurities. Not everything in this world is hunky dory. However, if you are grounded in faith, then you will progress and maintain your equanimity in this world.
Faith leads to prayer, and prayer is a vital tool to improve your life. Prayer nurtures values such as integrity and honesty. Now, prayer happens in two situations or in a combination of situations. You pray when you feel grateful or when you feel utterly helpless. In either case, your prayers will be answered. If you are not grateful or prayerful, you will be miserable.
Our love, faith and belief should be deep-rooted. The world is a celebration and you should be happy in life. All aspects of life involve ups and downs. For example, the human body may be susceptible to colds, coughs and fevers one day and may be fine the next. However, one must ensure that happiness is always established in oneself. This unconditional happiness can dawn only through deep-rooted love, faith and beliefs. This, according to Hinduism, is known as Purushaartha.
Faith plays a big role in shaping one's life. Even those who say, "I don't believe in anything," have to believe in their words! The issue is where you place your faith. For an atheist, his faith in objects is obvious; his faith in people is fluid and his faith in the unseen power of creation is ambiguous. However, for a believer, his faith in the unseen power is supreme; his faith in people is inconsequential and objects do not matter in any way.
The role of faith is even more visible in the materialistic world. Faith saves one from suicidal tendencies and helps people see beyond the obvious. When life is based on faith, one follows philosophy rather than getting caught up in revenge and hatred. If there is faith that everything will be all right, then everything will settle down.
Faith is realizing that you always get what you need. Faith is giving the Divine a chance to act.

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