Saturday, May 19, 2012

On (Not Having) Faith


 (Picture from lunaticfaith.wordpress.com)


Moths gathered in a fluttering throng one night
To learn the truth about the candle’s light,
And they decided one of them should go
To gather news of the elusive glow.


One flew till in the distance he discerned
A palace window where a candle burned -
And went no nearer; back again he flew
To tell the others what he thought he knew.
The mentor of the moths dismissed his claim,
Remarking: “He knows nothing of the flame.”

A moth more eager than the one before
Set out and passed beyond the palace door.


He hovered in the aura of the fire,
A trembling blur of timorous desire,
Then headed back to say how far he’d been,
And how much he’d undergone and seen.
The mentor said: “You do not bear the signs
Of one who’s fathomed how the candle shines.”

Another moth flew out – his dizzy flight
Turned to an ardent wooing of the light;


He dipped and soared, and in his frenzied trance
Both Self and fire were mingled by his dance -
The flame engulfed his wing-tips, body, head;
His being glowed a fierce translucent red;

And when the mentor saw the sudden blaze,
The moth’s form lost within the glowing rays,
He said: “He knows, he knows the truth we seek,
That hidden truth of which we cannot speak.”


To go beyond all knowledge is to find
That comprehension which eludes the mind,
And you can never gain the longed-for goal
Until you first outsoar both flesh and soul;

But should one part remain, a single hair
will drag you back and plunge you in despair -
No creature’s Self can be admitted here,
Where all identity must disappear.


Those who can speak still wander far away
From the dark truth they struggle to convey,
And by analogies they try to show
The forms men’s partial knowledge cannot know.


-Excerpt from The Conference of the Birds, translated from the Persian, by Farid ud-Din Attar

(We are now back to the less serious posts, guys. Or at least a little more sarcasm and mind fuckery, so without further ado!)

So, we're going to talk about faith.  


Faith is really not something that I have ever had, and frankly, I'm pretty jealous of those of you who are capable of falling to your knees in absolute faith in your Deities/what have you and feel really awesome that way. Seriously, I have always wondered how that felt. It probably feels awesome.


I have never really felt that.


I was attempted-raised Roman Catholic, and from a young age I never felt anything. I actually liked the the idea of nunneries and abbeys in the hills of Ireland, living in secure faith in your decision and feeling that awesomeness of being in constant awe of your Deities. I always wanted that feeling, really. That's a pretty cool feeling.


I think people talk about faith wrong: in demands. When the people come to my door and tell me to accept Jesus into my heart and believe in Him, I don't know if they realize I tried that, and I was physically incapable of it. Faith is not something I can conjure when I need it.

Anyway. When I found Paganism I had a single moment of losing myself in all that is; and that was the Living Earth. I had a sudden, profound realization that this cannot be all that Is. I was atheist before that, so this is what you might call a religious revelation; an epiphany; a sudden moment of clarity. It lasted one instant; then it was gone.


My mind is very much an evidence machine. I have been able to believe in things; but the faith is shaky at best. Faith is not easy for me, like it is for my mom. If I think about it too long, it often dissolves into air. The exception is with things I know to be true: I believed in ghosts and spirits because it was a plausible idea, but then they followed me around and threw shit around my room, and then it became definite knowing. I believed in the Astral, but until I went there I was unsure. To be frank, sometimes I wake up and think I'm insane and need to be locked up for believing it. I think multiple Deities exist, but I don't feel the need to worship any strongly or prostrate myself before them in religious ecstasy. I know they exist, but that doesn't inspire awe or anything in me.


Like my mom, the roman Catholic, says this to me: I just want you to believe in God. Now, she means her God specifically, the Christian one. I know he exists, though. That is not belief; I have seen him personally, and I think of the many things in the universe, His true form does not inspire my faith or exultation. Not in the least. People seem to think believing a deity exists and worshiping are the same. No: I just don't think that God is worthy of worship. I would worship a rock before him and the terrible things he has done. There is a difference.


In any case, I wish I had the security of blind faith, sometimes. It would be nice to hand over a part of myself to something bigger. But I have literal mental roadblocks. When people talk of Universal Love I shut down. I don't know what that means; I have never felt it. When I was an atheist for 2 years, it didn't make me happy, either. Even while Atheist I wished I could have universal faith in something. Nobody seems to think that way. If you lack faith, obviously that's somehow your decision. They don't see maybe you wish it was the other way around, but your soul won't let it.


I have often thought I am so cerebral, so Aquarian in mind, that I somehow lack some fundamental emotional processing part of humanity in general. I believe nothing until I can search it out and find out. The best I can speak of are hypotheses. I hypothesized the Astral was there, then tried to get in. If it wasn't there it would just inform my beliefs as readily. The beliefs I have now were informed by evidence gathering on the Astral and in this life. I assume nothing is true, but sometimes I wish I did. The bright side is this makes it easier to incorporate Chaos; I can readily assume a belief for long enough to do something. Chaos also tells us to believe nothing is true; but I don't believe in Chaos either. (Paradox.)


I feel as though my soul walks this tightrope, and on one side is pure reason, and on the other is soul-fulfilling belief in something. I don't know if in past lives I was severely wronged by Deity or was just never able to bring myself to that level; having seen all I have of the Astral in my many lives. Maybe once you have seen the truth at the heart of the Astral belief in human driven things falls away. Maybe it's impossible for a reason. I am an endless searcher because I doubt I will ever find my home with a thing I can fully lose myself in, and that's why I will keep pushing boundaries and questioning and searching the whole metaphoric universe for why things are and what drives Deities.


In any case, if you have that, hold on to it, because some of us don't really have that and wish we did. I get cravings for strong, overwhelming feelings, because I almost never have them. I am very patient and rarely angry towards people in real life, and I'm pretty easy-going. The times I get sad enough to cry are hormonal. When I feel joy it almost feels as though it's behind a curtain and it's closer to neutral than extreme. I wonder if faith follows the same model for me.


Is this a blessing or a curse? I don't know. And if anyone else has this 'problem', feel free to share.

5 comments:

  1. I too have this 'problem'; Sometimes I just wish things were like how they were back when I was a child - a sense of belonging and knowing what my place was in the world. Then a year ago, I seemed to mature rapidly. No longer did Disney shows and pop music interest me (minus VOCALOID, but that's J-pop, so pssh, and instead I began to look at the other side of things, from a quiet, tolerant perspective.
    Even though I might wish I had that connection or sense of belonging, what I know now - what I've learned over time, I don't regret it. I believe that everything happens for a reason.
    So maybe those who aren't satisfied with literally any label of religion or belief system for themselves (like myself) are 'lost' for a reason. Life's definitely a journey, and it's not always all that pleasant, right?

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    1. I wish I had soul-fulflling, comforting beliefs in something as a child, personally. Hahaha. Maybe it wasn't meant to be; I spent my entire childhood playing 'portal' by myself pretending trees and closets and drawers were openings to Otherworlds.

      PS, I also like vocaloid.

      And yeah, I surely think there is reason to being lost.

      Delete
  2. Frankly, I'm surprised to hear you say this stuff, with all the experiences you've had. But I suppose a person's natural tendencies never really change...I am also one of those people who has tried to believe in something, only to have it fall flat. It's tough, but in my opinion, skepticism is a valuable trait: it helps sniff out the B.S. in life.

    ...Though I do wonder: how many people who claim absolute, unquestioning belief actually have it? Very few, I imagine. At least you're being honest with yourself.

    (Previously deleted because this darn thing didn't show my name.)

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    1. You know I think the same thing. I've experienced so much and I still have skepticism. I think you must reach a point with astral-involvement that you are living two lives (whether or not your personality is strong enough to handle that is another issue) and when you're doing that, one becomes very surreal depending where you are, so you have to wonder sometimes.

      I also wonder about the degree of faith people profess. I wonder, in the dead of night after half their family is dead and it's ever so quiet, do they wodner?

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  3. I have this 'problem.' My boyfriend's family is Christian, they believe in God, and his mother is someone who can just have blind faith. I thought about how, if I was to, being Christian would fit into my life. And it doesn't because I just don't have that faith. I believe God exists, just as I believe other deities exist, but I just don't feel the need for worship. Honor maybe, but not worship or have the blind faith that his mother does.

    It makes me feel out of the circle and disconnected.

    ReplyDelete