Trust and faith. These two items are in very high demand these days. But, come to think of it, they've been in high demand throughout the ages, it is simply that we now, in this chaotic world we live in, are feeling it more deeply and closely.
What is faith? In many cases, faith is connected with religion -- faith in a higher power, belief in life after death, hope of a better world after this one. And what about trust? Trust is something we see more in the worldly realm -- trusting our neighbor, our loved ones, our children, our friends, ourselves.
Yet these two qualities are now being severely tested. Due to an increasing media focus on violence, crime, etc., we have less trust in our neighbors, co-workers, children, etc. And also because we now have instant access to every dispute, quarrel, border skirmish, and war across the planet, we may have lost faith in a benevolent and loving Universe, as we have learned to ignore the small miracles that take place every day in our lives.
Webster's defines faith as "an unquestioning belief, especially in God, religion, etc." As we have increased our knowledge of others' religions and beliefs, either through the study of history or through the observation of current "religious" wars, we see that each "team" or faction believes that God is on their side. An extreme example of this is the "jihad", or in ancient times the Crusades, where war is waged "on behalf" of God.
Where does that leave us? For some, it brings a total disorientation and disconnection from any belief in a higher power and in a loving Supreme Being. For others, it diminishes, if not extinguishes, their belief in the goodness of man.
Yet, as with everything, there are always two sides to the story -- two sides to each coin.
Even while the wars go on, as they have been going on for centuries and millennia, the "good" or loving side of man has been present and active. Unfortunately, we seem to enjoy focusing on the "guts and glory" or perhaps more "guts and gory" side of events. We line up for horror and war movies, we watch the news stories of war and murders and rapes, we talk to our friends and neighbors about the latest horror story -- whether real or Hollywood fiction.
Yet, the good exists and is expanding. It is simply that the media (news and movies) don't always focus on the wonderful and the loving. But just because a lot of people are not noticing, it does not mean that it is not happening.
Looking at the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list always renews my faith in humanity. Why? Because so many of the top 10 bestsellers have to do with bettering our selves, whether mentally, spiritually or physically. While the news media may be dishing out blood and gore by the bushel, people are buying books that are uplifting, that are helping them be better people and create a better world.
It may be that the mirror of our lives, the media, is simply delayed and has not "caught up" with the change that is taking place. Yet, even on television, there is programming that supports the "positive" and loving side of humankind. There are more and more authors writing books that are aimed to help raise our consciousness and our awareness. Even Hollywood is becoming more conscious of its role in the world.
Robert Redford in a speech at the Academy Awards, spoke of "giving back". This is an important attitude to have. We, who are blessed with food on the table, a roof over our head, modern technology galore, must "give back" to the world, to others less fortunate.
We must see that everyone is our brother and sister, that we are all, indeed, one big family living on one planet. If a discontented brother is spewing hatred, then we must look at the cause and see what needs to be rectified. We must take responsibility for what is happening in our "extended family" and "do onto others as we would have them do onto us".
And that means speaking up, having faith and trust that things can get better -- if we work at it. There is an Arabic saying: "Trust in God, but tie your camel too." Yes, we must trust in life getting better, but we must also DO SOMETHING. Whether it is volunteering at your local homeless shelter, or spending time with the kids in your neighborhood, or getting involved in local and international politics. Whatever is yours to do, you must do it.
Have faith in a higher power yes, but realize that Spirit works through us -- each one of us. We are the hands and voice of God. If we stay mute and inactive, we are stopping God from being present in our world.
We have to have trust in ourselves. Trust that whatever little thing we do is like a pebble in a lake -- the waves go out and out and out, and we don't know whom they will touch. Every "little" action we take will have repercussions we cannot envision. We may simply be a drop of water in the ocean of life, but what is the ocean but a conglomeration of many many drops. If each drop had said, I'm so little, I can't make a difference, I won't join in, then the ocean would be dry.
You are not insignificant. Your words, your thoughts, your actions do make a difference. They are a drop that with many other drops add up to the ocean. You are a piece of the puzzle, your words and actions are a stepping stone for someone else.
Never think that you are insignificant -- that what you do and say can't make a difference. You are here, and alive. And that in itself has made a difference.
I Believe: When What You Believe Matters!
by Eldon Taylor.
I Believe is a book that will not only inspire you, but will highlight the kinds of beliefs you hold that may be causing you to fail. In the process, it will provide you with the opportunity to choose, once again, the beliefs that drive your life.
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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