On Faith

The question of bad faith begs us to consider, What is good faith? Both of these questions hover around the big one, What is faith?

It’s not the same as bad faith. But then, it’s probably not simply good faith either. If nothing else is reducible to a binary then how could this deepest question leave us with nothing more than such an assertion?

It’s not that faith is without qualities that might be taken as good, or bad for that matter. It’s just that seeking out good faith seems…, well, to be an act made in bad faith. An example of the Shadow?

Implicit in any conception of faith is a sense that faith somehow embodies an essence of Wholeness. There is a direct connection to the Oceanic implicit in faith. It encompasses all…, or maybe, it can also engulf all, even drown all, while even then, in the fullness of this destruction, it brings all back into Wholeness.

There is a matter-of-factness circling around the sensation of faith. At the same time as a certainty that where faith grows – where it comes from and where it returns – has nothing to do with the facts-of-the-matter. There is an abiding sense of faith existing at the root. That it grows like a tree. That in our languages this feeling, this intuition, is connected to the origins of the word True.


Faith in…. This seems to be the next question, What do we have faith in?

What if this were nothing more than a rush to adopt a conclusion?

There is an inkling that faith-in assumes too much. Rushes us past what is most true of Faith.

What if Faith just is?

What if Faith is not an attribute like, the faithful one. Or, a declaration, I have faith in this. What if it just is?


When we attempt to metaphorically describe how things are we arrive at points where all the particularities we have discovered, all the distinctions we have been drawn to conclude – after all, we can only perceive what is distinguishable…. We arrive at these points where the movement of insight dives us back down into Wholeness. Into a contemplation of Attention, Compassion, Love…, is Faith…?

Each of these four brings an inflection to our capacity to contact the Whole. Each exhibits a movement back into the root, the Tree, the Truth, that flows onward into the other three just as each flows back into the others. What is true is rooted in their indivisibility. Another way of putting it is that what is true is this movement itself. We risk it all whenever we seek to stop the movement in a desire to hold onto any one of these aspects of the Whole.

Attention, if we let it go stale, degrades into delusion. Compassion rots into pity and self-aggrandizement. Love decays into jealousy and contempt. Faith? Well, it falls into bad faith or it congeals into the false-promise of some limited, circumscribed good-faith. In every case we have constructed a prison for the soul.

The danger in all these arises from a desire we have to limit the Whole so we can somehow capture it, contain it. This is how the lie enters. Our vision de-coheres. Falls to pieces. Doing so, our decisions become untrue. Not because we have failed to pin Truth down enough, but precisely because we have sought to reduce it to our measure.

Whatever can be contained is not, cannot be, the Whole. Full stop.

The only way we can approach the Whole is through attending to its movements. We get glimpses. We catch whiffs of its aroma. Feelings of its weight. The vibrations of its comings and goings.

What we then know without knowing, without holding, without breaking apart, we know as Faith.

There is a flow to our encounters with Coherence, that we mostly perceive through our encounters with Incoherence, in our perceptions of a Negative Geography. This flow provides us the only possible semblance of certainty not immediately reducible to delusion.

Delusion is unaware of itself. Deluded, we have no Proprioception. Glimpses of Coherence arise as insights that register, not as facts-of-the-matter, but as Truth. We resist fossilizing these insights into Dogma. Our relationship with Coherence releases energy and clarifies our situation. Coherence dissolves our obsession for striving. Coherence leaves us capable of feeling Awe in the face of Mysteries we recognize we can never fathom.

If Attention is how we discover Coherence and Compassion is how we use our Attention; then Love is this flow itself, passing through the Whole. Following on this then, Faith could be the way the Whole reveals itself to us as our Home.

Faith does not just abide.

Faith is our abode.

Discovering Faith we recognize that we are Home.

In Faith we recognize that we belong.

In Memoriam:

Delfina

© Katherine Mehls

December 18, 2003 – November 27, 2019


1 Comment

  1. This is a good point. A creedless faith, an open-ended faith seems almost like the inevitable quality of honesty. So the lie or dishonesty enters in trying to limit the whole conclusively, very nice. Also, much obliged for the references in this and the last one.

    Liked by 1 person

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