Monday, August 30, 2010

The Currency of Faith

Nothing is more tragic than losing faith in oneself or the instinct to trust in oneself. When you feel that the whole world has taken turns to judge you and make you feel like an outcast, it is but natural to lose your confidence. Our lives are individual destinies. It was never meant to be similar to another destiny. If that were the case, would not have there been another JFK or John Lennon. No, each of us have a reason to live our lives a certain way. Call this the Big Guy’s quirk. And when you too join in your own booing, the death knell is sounded. You have killed the very human spirit the Rands of the world exhort about.

Losing faith is perhaps the root cause of militancy and hatred, for when you hate yourself, loathe yourself, disrespect yourself, all this because you have lost faith in yourself, the void thus created needs to be filled with other negative emotions. That is why sometimes utter cruelty is meted out to a very good soul. Good souls are happy souls, content, full of faith. And when people who lack this gift see a happy soul, they know that no wealth and no fame can buy that faith. And so they are cruel because they are shamed or maybe they basically have not learnt the art to imbibe rational things. And who is better than the happy soul to turn the cruelty towards….

I feel that the foremost thing is to try and accept that we keep losing little measure of faith every now and then. Once, only after one accepts this fact, can one rationally think through, weigh in option and stop the whole spiral of negative dance. The human brain has three parts to it- the cortex at the top, the brainstem as a stock attached to the cortex and the cerebellum behind the brainstem. The human cortex is what differentiates humans from primates and other mammals. We can think and perceive non essential activities- just not the basic activities like eating, drinking or reacting to survival instincts like fear, reproduction drive or hunger. We perceive wealth, status, societal norms and much more. So a long haul problem is not about panicking and taking sudden uncalculated steps. God knows we do it, all the time. Even for smaller decisions in life really.

Now, interestingly the culture that I am currently part of boasts of lots of money, year on year promotions, exotic holiday destinations, brands, name dropping, swanky jobs and sleek cars. People stand in pubs and terraces and discuss how much they make. Often I see one-upmanship that casts a shadow of pain on the poor victim when Mr. Benedicted says he or she makes a hell raising amount of money or is a rockstar. There is this pan-world phenomenon- loss of shame and decency. When the self sees all the good things, or what one defines as good things, happen to others, Loss of faith is bound to happen.

What sometimes very good souls don’t realize is that some in his brethren praise themselves because perhaps faith gets restored by telling the other person how lofty he stands. So is gaining faith at any cost the most important thing? No. Nada. The importance is in really putting your cards on the table and honestly seeing them. We all are sentient beings. No one knows us better than ourself. We are our best judge and jury and we can regain faith by analyzing ourselves. Brutally and honestly.
So gaining faith is not achieved by looking down on someone and but intelligently analyzing the relativity that exists in the have and have not spectrum of things. As one starts doing it, it will only become clear that the law of life demands that someone will have less than you and yet someone who will always have more than you- be it wealth, health, power, happiness or grief. Now that one has established this very basic truth, it is up to oneself how to use this knowledge. You may choose to fester and wring your hands in utter despair that someone has more than you in the parameter you want to compare yourself in or you may decide to make a poor hapless “lesser mortal” feel miserable because you feel you have more. Further still you may truly count your blessings.

After all no human being is Nature’s aberration. No one is totally good and horribly bad. No will have the exact same path drawn out. So to regain faith of one-self by belittling and disliking someone may seem natural, given that negativity is easier to prop on but that is not faith. That is re-assurance at any cost.

Faith is a very strong and positive emotion which like warmth must suffuse in anyone who comes close to you. Faith is something that keeps hope alive in an intelligent and rational way. Faith does not say keep sitting and you shall get food. Faith is about keep walking and you may getting to see your own vista, your own vista. Faith is to exist as a core that does not seek out for labels to define and prop you. It is very difficult to have this kind of faith. There are more diminishing forces that re-iterating forces.

Faith is also not about condoning inability and inaction. Inability and inaction robs us of the essential element of creativity, which leads to angst and loss of faith. Faith is about doing fundamentally the right, the just, the brave acts with a mix of conviction, pride and rationale. These small but firm acts of self motivation and growth are like Systematic Investment Plans that banks talk about, a small but highly effective medium of an impressive collection of wealth.

Collect small measures of faith every day and when you look back you shall see a sizable repository that will allow you to share this vital life force with another human being. If only we are replete and filled and sated can we offer help to those who may need a little restoration of faith. The small measures of faith can come from learning from others or through your own previously unnoticed acts. That someone who you may learn from could be a friend, a colleague, a leader, a spouse, an offspring, a sibling, a parent or even a perfect stranger. I have found faith in the expected quarters of those few precious who mean a lot to parents, spouse, friends...and also in quarters that do not touch my life intimately and very often.