“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Recently, I was invited to be a part of a Values and Ethics discussion panel in Boston that will take place in early 2016. Among the many general questions on the application form about myself, stood the old standard, “What belief do you hold to? What do you believe in?” I wondered if they really wanted to hear what I had to say.
It’s a difficult question to answer, because for me, this perspective propagates and morphs daily……such as: I believe that every child has the right to an education; that no child should ever be subjected to being forgotten, to neglect, abuse, or trafficking; that no human being belongs to or need be enslaved by another; that animals are much wiser and more innocent than humans and not one should be abused, used or killed for the purpose of man’s greed and/or entertainment; that no religion (or it’s holy book) states that violence and abuse are the seeds by which positive change and success grow; that men and women are indeed equal; that optimism outweighs pessimism…..the situation doesn’t matter, it’s our reaction to it that does; that family is so very dear and true friends are a very, very rare gem that we are lucky to, perchance, find once in our lifetime; that love cannot be defined by anyone else and only the heart can speak to its Truth; that lies, dishonesty, gossip hurt and cause permanent scars; that forgiveness and compassion free ones soul from burden; that fear is detrimental and limits growth, knowledge and possibility; that hard work builds values and sets roots; that the only true prison, is the prison of the mind; that I would rather be in nature on any given day than in a shopping mall; that in our tech savvy world, we forget how to appreciate the beauty of our natural world and the simplicity of a summer day.
So many answers filled my mind, but from my soul, I wrote “Faith”…..faith wrought into life apart from creed or dogma. By faith, I mean a vision of good one cherishes and the enthusiasm that pushes one to seek its fulfillment, regardless of obstacles. Faith is a dynamic power that breaks the chain of routine, and gives a new, fine turn to old commonplaces. Faith reinvigorates the will, enriches the affections, and awakens a sense of creativeness. Active faith knows no fear, and it is a safeguard to me against cynicism and despair.
After all, faith is not one thing or two or three things. It is an indivisible totality of beliefs that inspire me: Belief in the Universe as infinite goodwill and all-seeing Wisdom, whose everlasting arms sustain me walking on the sea of life. Trust in my fellow men, wonder at their fundamental goodness and ability for compassion…and confidence that for so many facing sorrow and oppression, they will rise up strong and beautiful in the glory of morning and freedom. Reverence for the beauty and preciousness of the earth, and a sense of responsibility to do what I can to make it a habitation of health and plenty for all men. Faith in immortality because it renders less bitter the separation from those I have loved and lost, and because it will free me from unnatural limitations, and unfold still more faculties I have in joyous activity.
Even if my vital spark should be blown out, I believe that I should behave with courageous dignity in the presence of fate, and strive to be a worthy companion of the beautiful, the good, and the true. But fate has its master in the faith of those who surmount it, and limitation has its limits for those who, though disillusioned, live greatly.
It’s a terrible blow to my faith to know that millions of my fellow creatures must labor all their days for food and shelter, bear the most crushing burdens, and die without having known the joy of living. In knowing this, my security slowly vanishes forever, unable to regain the radiant belief of my younger years that earth is a happy home and hearth for the majority of mankind. But, faith is a state of mind. The believer is not soon disheartened. If he is turned out of his shelter, he builds up a house that the winds of the earth cannot destroy.
When I think of the suffering and famine, and the continued slaughter of men, my spirit bleeds. But the thought comes to me that, like the little dumb, poor, ugly and naive child I once was, mankind is growing out of the darkness of ignorance and hate into the light of a brighter day.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” ― Rumi