Last week I wrote about our fears, how they can cripple us and keep us from achieving what we truly want in both the mundane and religious parts of our lives. I thought it would be fun to continue the thought process this week with a discussion of fear and faith.
This concept is not new to us, Christianity makes a big deal out of turning our fear over to God and being washed with faith. But paganism does not allow us to turn over control of our emotions that easily. There is no serving this up on a silver platter to some omniscient being. So how do we use our faith as a tool to combat fear?
First, lets define faith. Wikipedia equates faith to trust, hope and and belief. I don’t think its as simple as that. The leap of faith as described by the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard, is the conviction that is strong enough to enable us to “remain out upon the deep, over seventy fathoms of water, still preserving the faith.”This leap is hinged upon the human imagination, not to say that it is imagined in any way, but only that the 2 human attributes are intrinsically intertwined.
Every single religion relies on faith. In some cases, this can be seen as blind faith, when people embrace what is told to them, word for word, without the ability to question of doubt the teachings. And many of us turned away from these religions and embraces a faith that asks us to decide for ourselves. This personal gnosis is the cornerstone of modern paganism. I can write the prettiest ritual, but unless you feel the energy for yourself, its all just words.
Fear keeps us motionless, faith moves us forward.
As Dver over at A Forest Door said: doing the practices IS the work and will create the feelings over time.
When we are depressed, we move in slow motion. We go THROUGH the motions, feeding the kids, doing chores, going to work. And we do this because we know that eventually it won’t be so hard to get up in the morning, eventually the motions will create more fluidity in our lives. The same is true for faith. We do the motions and the motions create the truth for themselves.
Our faith is about ourselves, but it is also about our Gods. I believe our Gods get something out of the practices themselves, out of every movement and word. Doing the things that make us afraid become acts of devotion to our Gods.
We become our own prayers.