“Peace and faith will not come separately”
So says A Course In Miracles.
Yesterday my partner Alene and I were talking about trust and patience, patience and trust –– which comes first? We came to the conclusion they are joined, like peace and faith, as the Course points out. This feels right, transcendence of duality.
When we look at the sentence “Peace and faith will not come separately”, the word “peace” does not present a stumbling block. Who doesn’t in their heart understand what true peace is, and hunger for it? Now the word “faith”, that one is a bit more loaded …
… faith in what or whom?
Well, we could start to unpack “faith” by focusing on the present moment. One could use the IS-ness of the present moment as a portal to understanding faith and its relationship to peace.
If one accepts the “such-ness” of the present moment –– that the present moment already IS, then one tacitly has “faith” in the “rightness” of the present moment. By staying connected to the present moment, and continuing to accept the such-ness of it, one is extending faith outward to the so-called “future” and all the present moments to come (though in fact there only ever is one present moment) and this is experienced as deep inner calm –– peace.
Viewed from our limited perception here in a “time” and form-limited world, faith would seem to suggest one is placing hope or belief in an external, future-oriented system or form. But how could one be at peace if faith is taken out of the present moment and taken away from our own inner agency? How can there be peace through belief in a mental fantasy (thought form) or some external form-system when we know all forms are unstable and impermanent.
So faith does not have to do with a “belief in God” or any other form to take care of our shit down the road.
Faith is the present moment acceptance of the facts of the moment as they are now, and in the rightness of the moment-to-moment arising of new facts. Faith is the acceptance that each and every moment “to come” will be as it is –– and it is right (because it already is). Faith is the belief that the present moment (all the “time” we ever experience) cannot be other than what already is, and can never be other than what it is.
The egoic mind finds this to be completely unsatisfactory.
The egoic mind, that emphemeral troublemaker living in our brains, is always seeking assurance that the “future” will be to its liking, that the future will give it what it wants. This is why the egoic mind has no true faith –– the ego is smart, it knows there really is no future and that only the present moment exists. But to accept this reality means the death of the ego, as it only exists by using mental thought-forms to ruminate on the “past” or the “future”. Absolute, conscious presence in the present moment does not take time, nor egoic thought. The ego knows this and hates this.
So the ego attempts to turn faith into a future-based system it can believe in. Whether the system is called “God”, “Science”, “Progress”, “Democracy” or “Communism” … the ego want to believe, “to place faith in” some supposedly infallible system that is somehow going to satisfy its desires “in the future”. This is not faith. This is delusion.
This is delusional for two reasons – the first is that the “future” does not exist. The second is that some external form (by definition “forms” are limited, and by example we see they are impermanent) is going to be permanently satisfying. It cannot, and will not, be so.
You can try a little experiment yourself. Picture some desired outcome “in the future”. Notice the gap between your current situation and the desired outcome. Notice how your egoic, form-identified self does not know how to make that desired “future” happen. Notice the unease that arrises when the ego realizes it is powerless to affect “the future” that does not, nor will not, ever exist.
Notice how the ego’s “faith” in its own meager ability to affect the future wanes. Notice how the ego turns to external support systems (“God”, religion, science, politics and politicians … ) in a willful attempt to manifest its desires through “faith” in a system. It is never long before all of these form-systems disappoint –– look at the constant back and forth of independent swing voters … first they vote for a Democratic president, then they vote for a Republican, only to be disappointed in their chosen savior no matter the party affiliation.
True faith only exists in the present moment within you. It is not a cheap parlor trick, some sleight of hand to assuage the egoic mind’s desire to “know” and be delivered to safety or completion in the future by an external belief system.
Far better than the egoic practice of dreaming of the future and placing faith in external systems would be to allow your consciousness to awaken and to allow the richness of each moment to blossom.
Do not just dream of some meager future meal with its unsatisfying crumbs. But instead enjoy the feast of the present moment and feel the satisfaction of peace and faith conjoined in this moment. And you need do nothing. As the dude who taught Ram Das said: “Be Here Now”.