When you come to the edge of all of the light you’ve known, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown; faith is knowing one of two things will happen. You’ll have something solid to stand on, or you’ll be taught how to fly.—Patrick Overton, The Leaning Tree, 1975
Faith like this doesn’t come easy nor is it a ‘gift’ that someone is endowed with. It requires consistent application for us to experience it in our lives.
In my article last week, How to Cultivate Faith in the Higher Power I explained that to build faith, both the head and the heart have to be engaged.
Faith is belief reinforced by understanding.
Simply knowing something in your head doesn’t build inner conviction and conversely, blind belief in your heart is easily shattered.
A solid foundation of faith requires a conviction in both the head and the heart.
Two inner obstacles to Faith
The head and heart challenge us constantly.
Even if the head knows that you are fully supported, your emotions kick in with nervous feelings of excitement, fear and anxiety.
Or, your heart knows you have no cause for fear or worry but your head spits out doubts, criticism and questions your faith.
Watch what you say
We have to be very careful of what we say about ourselves. If you say you are a nervous wreck, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, that’s exactly the condition in which you will find yourself.
Speak positive words and stay positive to build up your faith in yourself. This is a stepping-stone to helping you gain faith in something higher and bigger.
Subtler Fine-Tuning: Head and Heart
Intellectual Level (Head)
Stay Positive—Feed your mind positive thoughts: The mind can be your greatest enemy or your best friend. It has to be constantly nurtured to ensure a firm faith.
Loving, positive thoughts in the mind have the capacity to overcome powerful negative emotions.
This can happen only if you make it a habit to regularly nurture positivity in your mind. Then, the emotions don’t take over as easily.
How to maintain positivity in the mind
- Feed your mind a regular diet of inspirational or spiritual literature and media such as what you take in from the TV, movies, Internet etc. Everything that you take in influences the quality of your mind.
- Keep the company of happy, positive people.
- Eat a wholesome and clean diet. The gross aspect of the food we eat goes in building the physical body. But foods have subtle energy as well. This subtle aspect of the food we eat affects the quality of the mind . For example, when we eat light, organic foods and juices, we are bright, alert and full of energy. Alcohol, drugs, sugar, red meat and heavy foods dull the mind.
- Make time for daily reflection, contemplation and meditation.
Emotional Level (Heart)
A powerful way to open the heart is to surrender in prayer at the altar of the Higher Power. You pray for help and support.
Prayer opens the heart, fills it with calm confidence and inspires the mind with solutions as well.
Breathe into your heart:
A simple practice is to take some slow, deep breaths and breathe into your heart. What this means is to imagine your heart area expanding as you breathe in and out.
This type of breathing calms and soothes runaway emotions so the reasoning of your head can maintain focus on your inner faith.
In a nutshell
To build faith and confidence, first take affirmative steps in your outer environment. Then nurture a positive inner mental and emotional environment.
Staying positive in these ways on a daily basis will go a long way to building faith in a Higher Power.
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