Losing faith


“You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

I never saw no miracle of science
That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn’t always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do”
~ Sting

In Buddhism, the Pali word for faith is “Saddha”. This word has a very different meaning that what is traditionally thought of as faith in most religions. Saddha does not include believing in anything which is unseen or unproven, and it is not blind to any reality. Saddha is more about the conviction and determination of our own individual paths. And regardless of your path, I’m sure you have experienced the same doubts and loss of conviction at times.

In the past, I have always turned to others for support and encouragement during these darker hours of faith. I have also turned to studying more of the dhamma, just as most religious people would do in the same situation. In addition, I always sit with these feelings and thoughts, simply to observe my own my mind with hopes of clarity and inspiration.
But sometimes all of these fail me, and I am left disheartened and weak. On the brink of hopelessness and with a powerful desire to escape. And where exactly would I escape or run to?
Regardless of where I run, or how well I may hide, the reality is that I am stuck with the self. This is undeniable.

I am beginning to see that faith, saddha, can only come from within my own mind. Determination and confidence are a by-product of a deep understanding that I am alone. And if I can accept this truth, I no longer look for other people or other words to inspire me on my path. This is my journey, and one which is not subject to anyone else’s scrutiny or judgement. And letting go of the self must begin with accepting and understanding the self. Understanding that we are each our own most difficult person.
Moment by moment, that which weakens our faith, is our own delusional and disturbed mind. We do not possess peaceful minds, because we are constantly grasping and clinging for the validation, confirmation, and support of others.
We must understand that no one else can breathe for us, live for us, suffer for us, or die for us. This is our individual experience that we each need to comprehend in a way that encourages us.

I have yet to reach the place where I myself can totally accept and understand this. But the seeds are planted, and the realization is exclusively in my hands. Just as your own liberation is in yours.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.