I’m going to preface this post by saying this will not be my most well-written post. It may be the most meaningful for my journal thus far, but it won’t be eloquent. It will ramble and be awkward. I apologize for that up front.
I hit a turning point this morning. I know it. I felt it. I believe it can help others if I talk about it. But, I struggle the most getting those important points across clearly and concisely.
Also, this touches on the topic of religion a little. That’s an iffy subject at best and even a contentious one for me. My personal belief is that, in the grand scheme of things, religion is a guide to help us be better people and create a better world.
Luckily, most world religions have some element of the Golden Rule. That’s pretty much my religion. Treat others how you want to be treated. A simple way to live. A simple way to make the world better. And I’m in good company. The Parliament of World Religion’s made this the basis of the Declaration Toward a Global Ethic in 1993.
Unfortunately, up to this point, religion has mostly served to divide us rather than unite us. We look at the differences rather than the commonalities. It’s not the goal, but ultimately it is the reality so far.
So with that in mind, I’m a little weary of talking about my topic today: Finding your faith if you have lost it. I think it’s important, though, so I’m going to do it.
Yoga and meditation can bring you closer to your faith — whatever it is — and closer to yourself. That’s where we all need to be to make ourselves and the world better.
As for losing faith, that’s where I have been stuck lately. Without faith.
Yoga, mindfulness, all of those things teach you that you create your reality. Your world and your life depend on you and the choices you make.
As far as I’m concerned that is true. Sometimes, though, a religious faith confuses the situation. It becomes a crutch or a scapegoat. For me, it was the latter.
When I was young I didn’t think I could fail. You know how youth is. Even if I failed or thought that I might, I would just keep trying until I didn’t fail.
Tenacious is what some call me. Persistent. Determined. A pain in the ass.
But, I had faith in myself.
When we get older, at least for me, I lost some of that faith. You start to deal with the realities of life, and things don’t work out like you plan. I think that’s when you start to look for something bigger than yourself. Or I did.
God, although I don’t usually use that term, was the answer. God helps you find what you’re looking for, to rip off a line from U2.
That was a big change for me. I had always depended on me and nothing else. Pure faith in me. I never blamed God when something didn’t work out like I planned. There was no blame, honestly. Just a misstep. I dusted myself off and kept going.
Then I started meditation and felt even stronger. I could walk away from a job and be fine. And I did. I believed in myself, but at that time, I also believed God had my back. God was an extension of me, and vice versa.
See, meditation brought me closer to my own beliefs, my faith. That God or Universe, as I usually call it, was there to support me. Hear me. Help me.
God heard me. I had journaled about things I wanted, and God/Universe gave them to me. No hesitation. No questions asked. I was feeling pretty powerful and connected to all that is. Manifesting and shit.
Turned out that what I asked for wasn’t exactly what I wanted … or what I thought it would be. That’s when my faith faltered. That’s when God became my scapegoat.
Why would God/Universe provide me with something I didn’t want? Well, he didn’t. I just didn’t want what I had asked for. My perspective was askew. Blaming and not accepting. I was looking for answers outside of myself. Your answers are never there.
What I wanted isn’t God’s choice. It’s my choice. The core of my belief is that we create our own lives. Everything we need is inside of us. God isn’t a puppet master. God/ Universe/Spirit is a provider.
Then why didn’t I want what I received? Why was I unhappy? It was a misstep. That’s all it was. I gave it a shot, and it turned out not to be right.
But my youth was gone. I didn’t dust myself off. I didn’t pivot like I used to.
I should have said to myself, “Oh, I thought I wanted this, but hey turns out I don’t.” But I didn’t. I blamed God to some degree. Or at least I think I did.
I lost faith. But, God gave me what I wanted. I shouldn’t have lost faith. I did nonetheless.
I just made the wrong choice … or rather a choice that didn’t fit. It happens. It’s not right or wrong. It’s life. My life. The one I chose.
That same scenario played out a few more times over a course of a few years. Each time, I lost more faith. Became more disconnected from God and what I’m realizing now, more disconnected from myself.
See, I didn’t lose faith in God. I lost faith in me. In my eyes, I made the wrong choice. I wasn’t happy in the situations I thought I wanted.
Honestly, there is no blame in the situation. Not as far as what I received is concerned. Not on me. Not on God. They were just lessons.
I tried something and it didn’t work. Like a science experiment. But I didn’t empty out my test tubes and start over. I laid blame. Put down the test tubes and called it quits. God, the science teacher, didn’t give me the right materials.
I made a choice. I didn’t choose to be happy. I didn’t choose to change my life. I lost faith in myself to make the right choices and in God to provide the right materials.
I talked about choices in a previous post. As I mentioned in that post, it is my choice how I react to situations. The choice I made resulted in me continuing on the same destructive path. Or at least non-productive path. I chose to lay blame instead of learning, so I kept moving in the same direction.
That’s not God’s fault. It’s simply a perception I needed to change.
I let my faith that God was there to support me be a crutch — “I’ll be happy no matter what.” Well, no, that’s not how life works.
When things didn’t work out, God was my scapegoat. My excuse for not having the life I wanted because I continued to make choices that weren’t from my heart. I made practical choices, material choices, not “true self” choices. I chose to keep making the same mistakes, making the same decisions, expecting different results. Choosing not to be happy. God kept providing, and I kept blaming God for not being happy.
I didn’t follow Eckhart Tolle’s advice. I didn’t accept my situations. Didn’t change them. Didn’t walk away from them. Instead, I wallowed in them. Over and over again. Losing more faith in God, which, in reality, was losing faith in myself.
As I was writing this, it hit me. I even said it earlier. Everything we need is inside of us. Losing faith in God is losing faith in yourself. That’s because God is part of all of us. We create our world. If we think it, God feels it. It’s in us. God makes it happen. How we respond and the results we get are our choice. And what is provided after that, is also our choice.
I’m not sure why it took me months and months of yoga and meditation to get to that. Well, I do actually. I had wiped out my faith in everything.
When I prayed to God to help my cat. To not let him have cancer and yet he died of cancer. When I saw my dad wither away that same year from cancer. Not able to get out a bed — a man who walked 10 miles a day just so he could talk to people. When Trump was elected and the chaos ensued. When I lost my job. It built up. My faith was gone. My faith in myself to make the right choices. My faith in God to support me. All faith had gone.
When I lost that faith — in myself and God — I couldn’t move. I was stuck.
I realize life is cyclical. I know we all die eventually. I knew I wasn’t in the right job anymore. But, I didn’t accept the reality of life. I didn’t change my situation. And I didn’t walk away either. I just stood there. Lost and dumbfounded. Angry at myself and God.
I didn’t want to deal with it or accept, so I laid blame. On God. And eventually on myself.
Some things in life are just life. People and pets die. It’s not a message from God or the Universe. You didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t change it. It just happens because we all die.
Accept it. Grieve it, but accept it.
Other things in life are just choices that didn’t work out. Part of that is choosing not to be happy. Part of it is not choosing to change. Some situations just aren’t right for a variety of reasons. It’s OK.
Change them or walk away.
There really are only three choices. And it’s our choice to make. God, Universe, whatever you want to call it, just provides. The rest is up to us.
Faith in God, though, gives us strength. It gives us hope. It gave me everything I wanted when I was knee deep in it. I was able to change. That’s what we need to move forward. To make better choices. To have the strength to face the tough times. To dust ourselves off and move on.
When we don’t have faith in ourselves, our ability to make choices and respond accordingly, that’s when we lose faith in God. They’re interconnected.
What we ask for, God provides. God is everything and everything is God — without trying to sound hokey. Including ourselves. Our life is our choice. God is there to support us, but not to live our lives. He provides. What we do with it is up to us.
So when we choose to be unhappy in our job, choose to stay in a bad situation, choose creature comforts over our heart’s desires, we get the results you would expect from that. We have to have faith that we can change. That we can be happy with or without some of those creature comforts. That a better life is available to us if we just choose it.
Going back to the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. You have to do the same for yourself. You have to treat yourself how you would treat others. Forgive yourself if you make a choice and it doesn’t work out. Move on and try something else. Forgive yourself if you’ve been living a place of unhappiness. Just change it. Wish the best for yourself. Hope for it. You would do it for others.
Forgive God because, well, he didn’t do anything but provide you what you asked for or reflected what was in your heart. God isn’t a puppet master or a scapegoat. The rest of the problems are usually just life happening. In a cycle, like they always do. Don’t blame God for not being happy.
Find your faith in yourself. In God — and not in the dogmatic sense but as a provider. Have faith in the ability to change. In the ability to be happy. In the ability to make a difference.
It will change you for the better. It will change your world. And the rest of the world will be better for it.