Faith

The next letter in the alphabet is G, but I can’t come up with a word starting with a G yet that inspires me enough to write a blog about it. Hoewever, I did hear another F word yesterday that triggered me:

Faith.

In all truth, it is a word that gives me the shivers.

Faith is an optimistic word though. It’s just been taken hostage by people that have worn out its meaning and rendered it useless for the rest of us.

Also, what makes me feel even more pity for the word, is the fact that it is often used in combination with an obligation: You have to have faith.

I realized this when I saw the documentary “Down to Earth” (It can be viewed in full on YouTube). In it medicine men and women, shamans and spiritual leaders from all over the world are given a stage to share their wisdom. The film was constructed in a smart way, slowly massaging in the message of spirituality in between scenes of friendships being formed, nature being admired and meals being shared. It managed to hold my attention until the end, hardly bothered by the heavy Dutch accents of the makers.

In one segment, a Native American medicine man called Nowaten, describes how united he feels to the visions he has. Despite never having met the figures from his dreamtravels in the real world, he is convinced that they are out there somewhere. He described this irrational conviction by saying: “We can create faith on our own, without going to any book. There is nothing that we can not do, with that ability. It’s a natural ability that we all have.”

There was no doubt in his mind that the all-knowing man he had encountered in his vision was real. He didn’t intend to find him, nor would not believing in him make him any less true. It was what it was. He had seen him, just like you see the cashier at the grocery store. And then he moved on.

Towards the ending of the documentary, Nowaten explains how he believes in a form of collective consciousness, a sort of cloud memory where we are all one, regardless of gender, nationality or age. Because of this and because his spiritual experiences have allowed him to glimpse into “the other side” he felt no fear of dying. He even expressed a certain degree of eagerness to explore further what was on the other side of the curtain.

Shortly after that, the spectators come to realize that he has indeed passed away during the making of the film. We hear his partner (?) saying she enjoyed his company on earth but is still comforted by his spiritual presence now that he is gone. She explains that if you believe the spiritual world and the tangible world are connected (as she clearly does), there really is no reason to be sad.

I understand how that idea can be comforting. I can even imagine how a gust of wind or a glimmer in a lake can feel like a form of communication. I say that with no sarcasm or skepticism. I actually truly do feel that. I mean, not in the sense that I feel my dead grandmother is trying to tell me something when there is a rustle in the treetops… But there are definitely moments when I tap into ‘the circle of life’, so to speak, and let go of my personal identity and blend in with a greater whole. This happens mostly when I am in a natural setting, where my senses are not overloaded by urban cacophony and my thoughts get the chance to die down.

What struck me about all of this is that it made me realize I had come to associate the word “faith” with blind and unreasonable trust in something non-existent. A delusion used as a bribe. “You must have faith, otherwise the cure won’t work.”

But Nowaten’s words made me realize that faith is something that can give you peace of mind, but is completely irrelevant in every other sense. If your house is on fire, saying you don’t believe in the fire is not going to stop it from destroying everything you own.

As a species we have developed our vocabularies so far that we can make distinction between things we ‘believe’ and things we ‘know’. But what can we really truly know? Not as much as we claim, that’s for damn sure. We go through life deciding which ideas we are going to put are faith in and then start referring to them as facts. And lately, we have been getting that process aalllll kinds of mixed up…

In that sense, I guess you could say we need more people of faith and less less people of facts.

Now that I come to think of it… I actually published a blogpost about that very thing not so long ago

Man, I love how blogging works! I promise I did not intend to ping back to myself when I started to write this blogpost. But it is kind of cool to see how blogging has once again helped me finish a train of thought that I started months ago.

And now, I am going to put an end to this entry and applaud myself for resisting the temptation to make a George Michael reference…

It’s black and white.

The other day my comet friend from Bangladesh introduced me to the primal zodiac chart and I was totally blown away by how accurate it was.

skunk4
I checked it for every person I could think of and must admit it wasn’t so right for everyone I looked up, but I am over the moon about the description of my own primal zodiac sign, which happens to be a skunk. According to this particular website:

Skunks are witty and tend to have a somewhat dark sense of humor. They find reality far more intriguing than absurdity and can find humor where others can only see tragedy. They are not morose, but observant. They have good instincts and trust their senses, though they don’t pay much attention to anything beyond their momentary point of view. Skunks only look forward, never back. They are not sentimental and don’t dwell on the past. They are far more concerned with what’s around the corner than what they’ve left behind. Some people consider them selfish because of this, but in truth Skunks just want to be left alone to do what they think is best and usually extend others this same courtesy.

Fill in my name wherever it says “Skunk” and you’re right in all senses. And what maybe blew me away the most was the description about the Skunk’s career path:

It is not unusual for members of this sign to aspire to careers in politics in their youths, as they are highly aware of how badly the world needs a straightforward idealist such as themselves. It is unusual, though, for them to stick with this aspiration after becoming disenfranchised by the bickering and inefficiency inherent in any political system. Skunks would rather forge a path through the darkest jungle alone than be forced to play someone else’s game. This is true for corporate life as well, though Skunks are not nearly as likely to be emotionally involved in the success of a company as they are in the direction of their state, country, or the world at large.

shutterstock_127855349Hahahaha, that is literally how my career aspirations shifted as I grew older. Pretty bloody awesome…

I did try to read the description of other signs as well and tried to see if it was all written in such a general fashion that it always applied to anyone. I don’t think this is the case, but I must admit the first one I read was my own and I was pretty much sold from there on.

Skeptic as I may be, astrology always fascinated me. The probability of the alignment of the stars on the day you were born influencing your very being goes against all rationality… and yet I am always compelled to read into these matters. A big part of me says it’s absolute rubbish and yet, it does hit the mark quite often, doesn’t it?

And don’t we all like to believe the universe revolves around us, or is that just the self centered sagittarius in me talking?