Saturday, October 27, 2018
Is Faith enough?
I am waiting for the hummingbirds to helicopter in for sugar water as they do every morning. The jewel-red feeders hang from a small, pruned branch by my kitchen window. I swear they watch for the large person with her coffee cup who sits and follows their dance each morning. It is just a small, quiet, mindful way to start the day. I wonder what it is about this that centers me?
I look for things that are simple, consistent and unfettered by pushing forward to focus on. The stone statues, the waterfall, the tree and the flight of a bird all still me. The mountain, who long ago ended it’s push toward the sky, now draped with cloud and the start of day - an unyielding reminder of just being. I remember to breathe.
Being human, I tend to need these reminders because somewhere in all of this I am constantly in a stand-off with staying ahead of the curve, of finding fulfilment and keeping my humor.
I have tried prayer. Raised as a Catholic and being very, very good at it, I spent considerable time in prayer, silently launching myself into the space between myself and God. I wept during the Stations of the Cross, added an extra Hail Mary after confession just to ensure complete absolution for my boring “sins” and even briefly considered life as a nun. Only in deep contemplation (meditation) did I feel connected.
Prayer changed for me after I left the church. It had grown too small and confining in so many ways and God is just too big for all that standing and sitting, fear and tightness. I left it one day, quietly, as one does when one leaves home and knows one will never return the same, shutting the door softly so that no-one would be the wiser.
After that, I traveled and read, talked and workshopped, Rebirthed and metaphysicized through the eighties and Northern California. The spiritual rebirth was peaking and I was introduced to the concept of affirmations. These little prayers that could be bundled up in all the correct words, intentions and faith, sent out into the Universe ( which was how we said God) and then, like children at Christmas, we waited for the big guy to slide down the chimney, all our goodies tumbling out as he landed.
Affirmations have been an unsolved puzzle since then. Faith alone cannot bring things into being if it is not within the Divine Plan to do so. The Divine Plan, where the perfect adaptation allows an ecosystem to breathe in and out for centuries, where lions cull herds and balance does not look like we think it should.
The Divine Plan where intention and will are at rest and being and acceptance prevail - but that is not what we humans are here to have so simply, apparently. There is always the struggle. We create it and then we struggle to not have it. I am guessing that too is the Divine Plan.
The world is so reliant on and tuned in to its own perfect rhythm - for everything there is a season and a purpose - so then, for the perfect affirmation, I would need to guess the plan even as I express my own wishes. I have put many of my bubbles out there and left it to the world to figure out if it fits the groove. Letting go of the ‘how’ and trusting that this or better will come.
To me, affirmations are rather like the sound of one hand clapping. On the outside, they are directives for what we want to experience in life and from the inside they seem to be simply a dictation of what we inexplicably know is to come. I’m not sure how to reconcile that.
And so, back in the early eighties, I began sending out pink bubbles of affirmations across the San Francisco Bay. I forget what I had them charged to bring me and so, cannot claim success or failure; just that every now and then I hear a “pop!” and the Fates drop something incredible into my story.