To Keep Faith Is Vital
In Good Times and Bad
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To keep faith is to maintain a deep inner knowing that there is always hope, and that things will absolutely work out for the best. With this, we need an understanding that it is not important for us to know exactly what ‘the best’ will be like. Faith does not require an active ‘hoping’ for a certain outcome. It is simply a trust that everything is happening as it should, even when our logical minds can find no rhyme or reason in the events of our lives.
Hope often implies holding tight to the desire for things to happen in the way we think they should. Hoping for a particular result to a situation can be unhelpful and emotionally draining. There are times when things will turn out the way we hope, and there are other times that they won’t. When there are never any guarantees in life of how things will turn out, clinging to hope of a specific result is a recipe for disappointment.
And as much as we cannot predict the outcome of any situation, it is also impossible to know what other events may be triggered by any given occurrence. The movie ‘Sliding Doors’ explores the concept of alternate realities and the possible implications of paths taken and not taken. Given that most of us do not possess functioning crystal balls, we will never know what may or may not have happened if we had done things even a little differently.
We cannot even know whether actions we take or don’t take will bring results that we perceive as positive or negative. Perceive is a key word here, because, many times, an event that seems awful at the time can be a blessing in disguise, and the fantastic things that we hoped for do not always bring the joy that we thought they would.
I love this parable from the Eastern philosophy of Taoism.
There was once a Taoist farmer. One day the farmer’s only horse broke out of the corral and ran away. The farmer’s neighbors, all hearing of the horse running away, came to the farmer’s house to view the corral. As they stood there, the neighbors all said, "Oh what bad luck!" The farmer replied, "Maybe."
About a week later, the horse returned bringing with it a whole herd of wild horses, which the farmer and his son quickly corralled. The neighbors, hearing of the corralling of the horses, came to see for themselves. As they stood there looking at the horses, the neighbors said, "Oh what good luck!" The farmer replied, "Maybe." Subsequently, the son’s leg was broken while riding one of the horses. Predictably, the neighbors’ reaction was that this was bad luck, and the farmer’s response was, "Maybe."
At that same time in China, war had broken out. The warlord of the farmer’s village was involved in the war, and needing more soldiers, he sent one of his captains to the village to conscript young men to fight. When the captain came to take the farmer’s son he found a young man with a broken leg who was delirious with fever. Knowing there was no way the son could fight, the captain left him there. A few days later, the son’s fever broke. The neighbors, hearing of the son’s not being taken to fight in the war and of his return to good health, all came to see him. As they stood there, each one said, "Oh what good luck!" The Taoist farmer replied, "Maybe."
By realizing that we cannot either control many of the events that life brings, nor foresee the ripple effect that each of these events can have, we can endeavor to accept that there is no good or bad news in life; only news. We need to let go of hoping for things to unfold in a certain way, and keep faith that everything is happening as it should. This trust can see us through the toughest of times.
To keep faith allows us to have the assurance that whatever the twists and turns our lives may take, we have the strength to navigate them, and that we will undoubtedly gain much from the experiences.
To keep faith, we do not need to follow any particular religion. Faith does not have to be in anything at all. It can exist- pure- in and of itself. Some people find it easier to keep faith when they have a certain set of beliefs, or a powerful higher being to direct that faith toward. I believe the important thing is only that we have faith, and commit to trusting both in our own innate strength and resilience, and in the perfect order of the universe.
Whatever life brings, if we keep faith that we can triumph in good times and bad, there is nothing that we cannot overcome!
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