No matter which spiritual path you walk you will, at some point, explore the Power of Authentic Faith.
I structure this article on the power of authentic faith as follows:
- Who is this Authentic Practice of Faith for?
- What is the Power of Authentic Faith?
- Benefits of Authentic Faith
- Signs of Authentic Faith
- How to Practice Authentic Faith
- Resources for the Practice
- Related Practices
Who is This Authentic Faith Practice For?
This practice is for anyone who wants to move from being a believer ABOUT the Presence named God to living within that Presence.
In order to understand whether or not this practice of authentic faith is for you it helps to understand the distinction between:-
- Belief and Non-Belief
- Blind Faith and
- Authentic Faith
This is the way in which I understand the above terms and this comes from direct personal and transpersonal experience.
Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it. – Father Richard Rohr.
As Rumi would also say, “The river is in us.”
Stage 1 Faith – Period of Belief
Belief, as I reference it here, is not the same as faith. In my experience to confuse the two is a foundational error in learning to follow an authentic spiritual life.
Belief and non-belief are two sides of the same coin. Each, in their different but similar ways, adopts a set of concepts formulated in words.
You can, as so many people do, declare yourself a believer in God and never ever have had a direct transpersonal experience that this word ‘God’ points toward.
The non-believer is not so different. They make a choice from the same level of consciousness as the believer. Neither the believer nor non-believer KNOW the experience they profess a belief or non-belief in.
This idea makes many believers angry because it appears that I am invalidating their belief system. The belief system that is accepted or rejected is like the menu they give you at a restaurant.
The menu (belief system) points toward what is on offer. The believer metaphorically speaking eats the menu. The non-believer leaves the restaurant assured that he or she could never enjoy what is on offer.
The word ‘belief’ is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it – I don’t need to believe it. – Carl Jung
I am not against belief or non-belief as an invitation to infinite potential (the menu). I would prefer that you move beyond the menu and find real nourishment from the experience of authentic faith.
This means you move into experiencing what the menu (the belief system) has on offer.
The Practice of Blind Faith
Most faith on offer from different religious hierarchies is the offer of blind faith. This is because those teaching the words and concepts enshrined in their religious teachings understand them through the intellect.
Thus they become the blind leading the blind into the depth of ignorance. By the word ‘ignorance’ I mean they lead them into “not knowing.” They talk about what they know. What they know is the “menu.”
They have you study the menu. Then they insist that you believe in the menu.
In my experience menu readers feel threatened by anyone who ever asks what is on offer tastes like. In the more radical religious and political sects to ask such a question will probably get you disowned. I have found this to be the case in my life and in the lives of some friends.
This was the experience of my elder sister Mary who belonged to a Christian cult in Northern Ireland. She once was graced a transcendental opening while walking alone on a beach in Donegal while on retreat.
Her sect members and its leader assured her that she should not be alone because that would open her up to temptation by the devil.
The master Jesus says it this way:
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.—Matthew 23:13
Believers and non-believers have not entered into the Kingdom. They have not had a direct revelation of the Divine whereby they become KNOWERS and mystics.
Faith is not a belief. You can start with the belief in the potential on offer but don’t call this faith.
Faith is the willingness to enter the UNKNOWN. Belief is where you think you KNOW but what you know is what you know ‘ABOUT.’ This “knowing about” does not come from revelation. It comes from information. This is information, but it is not transformational. It does not come from Source.
Faith is symbolized by the entry into the desert in the Biblical story of the Flight of the Jews from Egypt. This is a story that the believer takes literally rather than as a metaphysical teaching. We relate this teaching story to the journey of the soul out of Egypt (ego or personal consciousness) through the dessert (authentic faith) into the Promised Land (Union with the Divine)
This your story.
Authentic faith is where you enter within and enter into the unknown in order that you might be KNOWN THROUGH. When you experience being known through, you have your authentic faith validated.
Authentic faith needs no validation from clergy, Rabbi, Guru or other authority. This is the real authority, but it is not yours. It comes through you from Source.
You walk the Esoteric Way of inner revelation. You become a potential mystic. You leave the company of the blind leading the blind. This is often a very lonely time.
The mystic is the one who has had at least one encounter with the Divine. The mystical experience makes you a KNOWER. This sounds arrogant but true mystical experience makes you humble. It does however also make you certain.
It is hard to acknowledge that you KNOW that you are part off but never apart from something that is eternal and GOOD. This is a goodness beyond the duality of opposites. You as a mystic want this experience beyond belief to be KNOWN to everyone.
Hafiz says it this way:-
I wish that when you are lonely and in darkness that I could show you the astonishing Light of your own Being—Hafiz.
Hafiz is a KNOWER. He doesn’t invite you to believe in the Light. He wants you to experience the Light. He knows that you are lonely because of your belief in separation. As a believer, you are standing on the shifting sands of time.
The mystic has stood in the land of the Timeless.
In Ireland we refer to this metaphorical land as The Land of the Forever Young. It is the Land of Tír na nÓg. It is the land of the Beautiful People the Tuatha de Danaan. This is the Irish equivalent of The Promised Land.
Experience of Conversion
As the above shows the entry into the Power of Authentic Faith is a real challenge. It is more about NOT-KNOWING than knowledge. This is the real conversion experience.
We normally understand conversion as being from a non-believer to a believer. Or it is a conversion from one religious belief system to another. Real conversion is where you, because of Divine revelation are graced to be a KNOWER. When this happens belief is no longer necessary.
Why believe when you know—Jiddu Krishnamurti.
When you teach from this place of KNOWING you shine a light in the individual’s darkness and collective sense of separation from God. You are not the blind leading the blind. You become one as the mystic poet Hafiz invites.
Why not become one who lives with a full moon in each eye speaking that sweet moon language that every other eye in the world is longing to hear?
At least you are a light (moon) shining in the dark speaking a language that the heart and soul can be nourished by. It isn’t theology. It isn’t intellectual. It comes from the wildness of deep understanding.
Give up logic for bewilderment—Rumi
You give up the overthinking personal mind for the wildness of being though through by the One Mind.
What is the Power of Authentic Faith
The Power of Authentic Faith is the willingness to be open to the experience of NOT KNOWING while trusting in the possibility of being KNOWN and being KNOWN THROUGH.
Faith is like the open window.
Keep the window open and the singing bird will come—Chinese Proverb
Your spiritual practice is, metaphorically speaking, the practice of keeping the window open. Many religious teachings I received in my youth where about the open window inviting in the presence of the Devil.
When the Singing Bird flies in through the open window you will KNOW it. You no longer believe about the Singing Bird. The window is the heart and mind open to everything and attached to nothing.
It is pure allowing.
Believers want to put the singing bird in a cage and shut the window so it becomes “Our faith.” Authentic faith is where you long for the song of the bird of Presence to sing through you.
Birdsong brings relief
to my longing
I’m just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!
Please universal soul, practice
some song or something through me!
Part II relates to the:
- The Benefits of Authentic Faith and
- The Signs of Authentic Faith.
Please note that this article is divided into three sections/pages for the purposes of increasing the download speed on different devices.