“The Warrior of the Light does not always have faith. There are moments when he believes in absolutely nothing. And he asks his heart: ‘Is all this effort really worth it?’ But his heart remains silent, and the Warrior has to decide for himself.” – Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light.
I have been Pathwalking on and off for years, really. I began to formulate what this notion was in earnest last year, and am constantly developing my approach to it. Along the way, the mundane and the unavoidable have sometimes shaken my faith in my choice.
But even when you lose faith in the choices you make, that does not mean you should cease Pathwalking and let yourself be carried along by life. You need to persevere. You need to keep going.
Faith is not religion. I have met along the way many people in this life who claim to be religious, but it is readily apparent that they have no faith. Faith is a very abstract concept, which people forget is not an external notion, but an internal one.
What is faith, and how does it relate to Pathwalking? Let’s turn to dictionary.com for a definition:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
It is the first two definitions that are most important to Pathwalking: Confidence or trust in a person or thing and belief that is not based on proof. Pathwalking is the thing not necessary based on proof as well as the thing to be confident about; but more importantly, it is about trust in a person – yourself.
I find myself often struggling with knowing and trusting my own mind. Have I made right or wrong choices? Is this path the right path? Am I worthy? Am I deserving? And because much of Pathwalking is about faith, a trust and belief without proof, I question the worth and logic of this idea.
Everybody loses faith in something along the way. I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t experienced a moment when someone they trusted did something to make them lose faith in that person, or at some time or other their religious and spiritual beliefs were called into question. Faith is an emotion, a uniquely human emotion.
As with most of the things we encounter in life, this comes from within more than from without. Certainly outside influences will affect your faith in regards to religion and other people, but the basis for all faith is directly in yourself.
So what do you do when you lose faith? I have chosen Pathwalking, which is about choice. I recognize that sometimes I will question my choices, and I will lose confidence and faith in them. So what do I do about it?
There are many options of course. Certainly I can give up, and return to a life where I let others make the choices for me, and let life just live me. But I want to choose for myself, so I will find a way to reclaim my faith.
How? What works for me won’t work for everyone else. But these are a couple tools for this I want to share.
Meditate. Find that place of calm and stillness to let the thoughts in your head come up and be addressed or dismissed.
Pause and reflect. Maybe figuring out why I have lost faith will help me to reclaim it. Sometimes determining if it’s a major or a minor issue helps to resolve it more swiftly.
Distract. Read a book. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Do something to take your mind off of that feeling of nothing and loss. Sometimes I just need to recharge my energy reserves.
Most importantly of all – Do Not Lose Heart. Just because faith is lost does not mean that ALL is lost. And sometimes taking a moment to list all the things I am grateful for in my life or to reflect on all the things and people in my life that are wonderful will help me to reclaim my faith.
“The Warrior of the Light continues despite his lack of faith. He goes forward and, in the end, faith returns.” – Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light.
When I lose faith, if I do not give up, I will reclaim it. And since I see every day as a new day full of new possibilities, giving up is not something I can do.
Do you have faith in yourself and the choices you make?
This is the sixty-fifth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.