“They are afraid of change but their boss has faith in you. Have no fear and complete what you started. When they see the benefits to them, they will stop seeing threats, and they will stand with you too.”
This was the advice my spiritual guide gave me many years ago when I was faced with a peculiar problem related to my first consulting project – the entire team had voted to invite a consultant but they all worked against the project in the background. Left to my own devices and that of my immediate circle of friends and advisors, I would have eventually quit the assignment since the incessant politics was not worth it.
“Your body can heal itself. But your mind must let it.”
This advice came from my physician many years ago (I had just met the good doctor having moved to a new city), a practitioner of medicine who rarely prescribed medicines. I had long working hours and a degenerative health condition and injuries had left me with a daily dose of medicines to stay functional. Left to my own devices, I would have kept working and taking prescription medicines, and eventually have let the body’s ailments overcome my spirit.
What was my spiritual guide’s advice, really? To look at nothing but the goal. To ignore all emotional voices. To perceive only the path to the achievement of the goal. To understand that if I want to achieve anything in life, I have to rise above all that would stand in the way, including my ego which always interprets any criticism or opposition as an insult, triggering thought processes that keep me up all day and all night addressing negative energies.
What was the advice of my new physician? To listen to what my body says and to trust the advice it offered.
For a logical mind, to learn the required lessons in order to accept such advice – truly accept it and practice it – was a tall order. I was in my mid-20s then, and still many experiences, failures, and comebacks-from-failures away from internalising such a lesson. I would say I was at least a decade away from the learning.
In both cases, I simply took the advice and followed it without question. I never rationalised it or think it through or analysed it, or allow any other cognitive barrier to stand in the way. I just implemented the advice.
That is Faith.
Even later, when there were further doubts, I just ignored all my usual thoughts and just kept on trudging on. Over the subsequent years, I had occasion to seek advice from my Guide and my Physician on several matters – personal, family, work, corporate, health – and their advice was always consistent, eerily similar: take the right path first time every time and then be carefree.
Today, on a day to day basis, I (still) go through my very generous dose of self-doubt, suspicion, persecution, physical hardships, and sundry other distractions. (Like everybody else). And I still put in the hard work to have Faith. Because you can’t take it for granted that you have learnt to have Faith. Faith is that belief in something that you can’t see, perceive, know, or feel. Faith is that which is beyond what logic reveals to us, that knowledge which is beyond what education and experience teaches us, that relationship to a future that is beyond what the past and present are capable of revealing, that place where even Trust does not dare to tread.
As a result of having Faith, I have found myself believing in people rather than not believing them. That in turn means that I don’t doubt them or their intentions. Which means I am reposing Trust in their character: And that leads them to live up to that Trust in themselves.
From the time that I started having such Faith, I have come to learn that most people just wanted to be trusted and believed, but that day to day human interactions make it quite difficult for people to trust one another. Day to day logical processes lead us to build walls that exclude most opportunities and people. For instance, if someone breaks my trust and I stop trusting people, then the loss is mine for I have excluded all of humanity from reaching me; however, if I exclude the person (or people) who broke the trust and continue to trust everyone else, then I include all of humanity in my world and therefore, increase my chances of a better life. But for this to happen, I have to go beyond the mechanism of Trust (which requires Trust to be built, which is a logical process based on evidence and reason). Faith is different because when someone places their Faith in me, it is without reason and I seem to feel like living up to that Faith for it assigns a value to me that I had aways wanted but maybe had never perceived I deserved it. Someone else’s Faith in me says that I am dependable, that I am important, that I matter and I don’t have to prove it. That is a liberation of sorts.
After a decade and a half of following that advice, I aver that Faith can move mountains. For I can honestly say that had I followed the path of reason alone, I would have been more alone than ever, having vetoed most ideas on some grounds or the other, shut out most people, let my health run aground, and isolated myself from most opportunities to change.