kerrya's picture

"We must arrive at an inner faith not dependent on externals,
something we can carry with us,
that isn't born only of the compelling mirror held up by another,
or the resonant vibrations of a sacred place,
or a wonderful feeling of possibility.
We need a faith based on our own experience,
reached with eyes wide open.
Understanding this task forces each of us
to challenge,
to lose,
and ultimately to deepen our faith."
~ Sharon Salzberg

I have read this passage multiple times. The words penetrate a place inside of me that has an idea of which she is speaking about.

Our IKH teachers, Jason & Brenda, would say that this version of faith is the call of our Future Self.

What stuck out for me in this piece is that this level of faith is about our own experience, "...reached with eyes wide open" . In this past year, the non-dual healing practice I am learning - Impersonal Movement - is a gateway to the Universe of Briah, where the personal and impersonal reside together, and involves being awake, eyes wide open. There is no ignoring or cutting out of anything; everything has a place and is allowed to exist.

Sharon's passage feels like an echo of the many messages transmitted in my IKH healing community. In our first year, we learn very quickly about how dependent and reactive we are when we look in that mirror held up to us in an interaction with another, reflecting back to us our areas of woundedness and historical pain. In our second year, we deepen into meditations that help us transport to sacred places in order to heal those hard-to-reach-and-see areas inside ourselves. Our third year shatters our perceptions and stories of our learned reality and who we thought we were in that reality so that we may drop and be seated more deeply in the fullness and truth of ourselves and of a greater Reality. We begin to see all that is possible for our potential as spiritual seekers having a human experience.

As I am almost completed with my 4th year, I must ask of myself what Sharon poses above:
To have a faith of my own experience, am I ready to challenge, to lose and ultimately deepen my faith ?

To some extent, I have begun pieces of this task. I have questioned God's ability to see me through certain difficult aspects of my life and have had to feel myself fall and be picked back up to know that God has never left me. I have even experienced the feeling of no-thingness and black void, only to come out to the other side of the darkness and know that it was necessary in order to experience light.
My work through issues of abandonment and my entry into the world as a child given up for adoption have deepened my faith and my understanding that never once was I ever truly alone. That abandonment was a construct of my scared little girl and the "who is" that occupied her being at that time. The 2nd and 3rd Step work of another spiritual community, AA, had me let go and grieve the God of my childhood, so that I could find the God of my understanding. In periods of great doubt and separation, the power of prayer and Step work has enabled me to find God over and over again, having had the delusion that God was gone or was simply somewhere else.

These are some ways in which I am trusting my own experience of faith. I have certainly not "arrived" . I am aware that faith is not linear, but is instead something that waxes and wanes, deepens then loosens, an ever dynamic, changing process of being in life as it is.

I am simply going to keep my eyes wide open, one moment at a time.