Earth, fire, air, and water.
With each one, I say a prayer, first to my root, then my passion, then my understanding, and last of all, my cleaning out.
This process helps me focus my energy before I begin my work, but sometimes, I get a little more out of it.
Yesterday was one of those days.
As I was mediating, my thoughts roamed, once again, to my desire for assurance about my work.
After ruminating on my doubts for a few moments, I heard a cool, crisp voice state:
“It is not time for proof,
It is time for faith.”
Faith in what?
My faith used to be believing that God had a certain form and that a certain series of events would occur in the future. But as I have grown, as I have experienced utter loss, and questioned everything I thought I knew, my faith has become more nuanced, and I am left wondering: what is it I have all this faith in anyway?
First of all, aren’t I supposed to have a name for the thing I trust? God, Allah, the Universe, Earth Mother, Jesus, the Divine, Source? All of these names help, but they don’t actually say the thing I’m trying to say.
Because the face of my faith has changed, morphed, and shifted through the years, and ultimately, I am still at a loss for a description of that to which I pray.
But I know it inside. I think a part of me always has.
It is why the God of the Old Testament said “I Am that I Am.” This God that cannot be named because no material form is vast enough for it.
And yesterday, I was given a new image of faith:
In the inner cavern of the heart, there is a vast, empty, stunningly white space.
It is full with nothing.
It is utter blankness.
But in the very center there is one word:
It tells no more, gives no other clues.
It is when we get to this place that we realize:
this is vulnerability.
This is the discomfort of not knowing, but still attempting, in whatever ways possible, to accept the lack of certainty we have about life.
It requires us to be completely vulnerable to ourselves, because we must admit that one awful truth:
We don’t know.
We don’t know the future, we don’t know our entire selves, we don’t know the world. It goes on and on and on.
Vulnerability is getting to the place where we are bereft of all our mental protection.
Faith is believing it’s okay to be there.
Faith and vulnerability are just two sides of the same coin: One gives us strength, while the other cleans us out.
We must have one to have the other, and we must have both to be whole.
So...I still don’t know what exactly I have faith in, but I know that my faith is bigger now than it has ever been before.
And I don’t think this is just a coincidence.