For many of us, our inquiry into the nature of life has led to the predicament: How and when do we trust something as true? What beliefs about life and death are woven into our view of the world? Do these beliefs reflect truth, and can we count on them? If the beliefs crumble, are we bereft of all refuge? Does critical exploration of our beliefs leave us vulnerable and unsure?
In Buddhism, the distinction between faith and beliefs lies in testing what we are told. “Put it into practice,” the Buddha said, ” and if you find that it leads to a kind of wisdom that is looking at a wall, and then the wall breaks open and you see in a much more unbounded way, then you can trust it.”
One of the basic teachings in the meditation practice is that focusing on the breath calms the mind. For most of my first retreat I doubted this was true, primarily because I found it so hard to focus on the breath. When I sat I could hear Goenka’s voice in my head saying, “When your attention wanders, gently bring it back to the breath. Start again.” Even though my thoughts continued to be turbulent, I kept on trying, again and again. Then one day my attention stabilized, and my mind settled into an extraordinary peace. Though that faded away, because everything does change, I felt I could have faith in this aspect of the practice because I had begun to verify it myself.
In order to deepen our faith, we have to be able to try things out, to wonder, to doubt. In fact, faith is strengthened by doubt when doubt is a sincere, critical questioning combined with deep trust in our own right and ability to discern the truth.
we don’t like to lose heart……but we give up sometimes…….
inquiry for today~ what happens when you practice like it’s your living truth?
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.