Does faith have any scientific or even reasonable basis? And if you genuinely have faith, then how come worries of the future still grip you? I believe if you want your faith to be firm, then put aside any logic. And if you want your rational mind to be firm, then set aside faith.
When we try to induce reasoning in faith, we end up polluting them both. Faith just is, God just is, Nature just is, belief just is. “Why?” yields no answers when it comes to faith. Surely, we can come up with explanations and theories, but they don’t solve any purpose beyond a temporary stimulus. Are the stories in the Torah, the Quran, the Bible, or the Bhagavatam true? The question is, does it matter to you? Faith is mostly based on what we have already taken to be true, and rarely on the actual truth itself.
When faith runs deep in your being, surrender to the Divine comes automatically. Inner peace is a natural by-product of surrender. A child feels secure in his mother’s arms because he knows that she’ll protect him. It’s not an intellectual idea, but an ingrained belief that the child has. And, it is this subtle differentiation between believing you have faith, and having it, that makes all the difference to your inner peace. You may want to read a story of faith.
I’m paraphrasing a beautiful story for you. I tried hard but couldn’t locate the source of the poem, cited verbatim, in this anecdote.
A man, worried and paranoid, asked his enlightened master if everything would be alright in the future. “I know I should have faith, but I can’t get around to letting go. I’m still worried. What if things don’t go the way they should? Negative thoughts render me unable to enjoy my life. What if God doesn’t take care of me?” he said to his master.
The master picked up a rosebud, gave it to the disciple, and said, “Your task is to unfold the bud, keeping all the petals intact.”
The disciple carefully began to peel off the outer layers the rosebud. Soon, however, he realized it was not possible to unfold it without damaging the petals. “It’s not as simple as I thought. I’m sorry but at least some petals will be damaged,” he said to his master.
In reply, the master took the rosebud from him and said:
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so sweetly,
Then in my hands, they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in God for leading
each moment of my day.
I will look to God for His guidance
each step of the way.
The pathway that lies before me,
Only God knows.
I’ll trust Him to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
“How much can you plan, after all? And how much do you want to plan?” the master continued. “Why do you want to keep everything in your hands? It’s tiring. Learn to let go. Who took care of you when you were in the womb? Who fed you when you didn’t even know how to speak? Who provided for you when you were too young to earn your living? If you examine your life, you’ll find there was always someone there; a medium that Nature had already chosen for you. Sometimes letting go is simply reminding yourself that you’ve done whatever you could, and now you must free yourself from the outcome or the worry.”
Faith is designed to give you the confidence and courage to lead your life with grace and conviction.
It doesn’t mean we can just confess and be done with our bad karma; instead, we should have the strength to do the right karma in the first place. I don’t think God will manifest to pay off your mortgage or your loans — karmic or financial, or to help you shed or gain weight. We must take responsibility for our own lives.
We are the result of our desires, choices, and pursuits. Allow me to deviate from conventional wisdom by saying that faith, with all its paraphernalia and practices, is for inner strength and not to please an external God. I don’t want to please a heavenly being and beg for favors in this life or the hereafter; instead, I will give this life my best shot and let Nature take its course. After all, if I truly have faith, shouldn’t I know that God or Nature’s way is impartial?
Napoleon once said, “When you fight, fight as if everything depends on you. And when you pray, pray as if everything depends on God.” This is faith in a nutshell.
Faith is supposed to complement, and not replace, our actions. Ultimately, we are responsible for the choices we make. Wake up with faith in yourself and go to sleep with faith in God.