“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. “ Genesis 1:6-8
Faith is knowledge, far greater than belief, it is the knowledge that we are no alone; that we are never vulnerable, and that there exists no adversity greater than the power we have behind and within us to overcome. This knowledge is imprinted in the soul. It is the power that causes everything on earth to grow up, despite the enormous pull of gravity to prevent that. Faith is the core of the soul. Fear, is the knowledge of the ego that it is temporary, that it dies to the dreamer when the dreamer awakens. The ego is not a bad thing, its connection with the material world keeps the body alive.
The soul does not fear nonexistence, because it knows that whether it is has solid form like ice, or flows like water, or even dissipates into the air, like steam, it always is itself. The soul knows only faith, the ego knows only fear. And we come in as vessels to learn from the interplay of both. Every light, peaceful, steady, uplifting emotion emanates from faith; love emanates from faith. Every painful, hateful, heavy emotion, including greed, judgment, selfishness and bigotry, comes from the survival mechanism of the ego which is fear.
We incarnate (enter meat) in a physical body with physical needs and physical proof that we will not be here long if we do not meet the needs of the physical vehicle. Faith is intangible,
I know so many people who live their lives in a state of anguish. Drowning in emotions, in fear of never being happy, in sadness when life disappoints seeing disappointment as a sign that happiness is not to be hoped for. Most of the people I love are prisoners living behind invisible bars that no one can see. The bars consist of open wounds, which no one can see. Life is like an ocean, sometimes calm, and other times the waves are relentless.
For many life feels like a walk at the edge of this ocean while it looks so beautiful, the reality of it is more like waves of salt water on invisible open wounds . Those who live with these wounds, feel them to be safe. Just as a person who has spent most of his or her life in prison, finds it safe, becoming repeat offenders committing crimes to return to prison. A place others might find to be the equivalent of hell. They find safe because it is the hell that they know.
There is something else about emotional pain, it creates a strange sense of being fully alive. Living is feeling. Feeling reminds us that we exist. It really does not matter what we feel, but as long as we feel, whatever we feel, we know that we are alive. When I lost my store I went into the abyss of depression. I felt abandoned by everyone I had been there for. I felt alone, unloved, unimportant, and most of all invisible. The only thing that surrounded me, and in the strangest way, validated my existence was my suffering, and I grew to need my suffering. I forgot that I did not have to suffer to exist. I had not realized that I did not need to crumble under the weight of my life to be worthy enough, deserving enough…of help.
So, when Prozac came out, many people who lived in constant suffering whether it was sadness or anger took this miracle medication and initially felt thrilled that the dark cloud that seemed to hover over them was gone. Yet, eventually they missed that ability to feel. Some people called it their “edge”, others just felt numb. They did not really feel alive anymore. This made them stop the Prozac and eventually re-enter the depression battle. The thing with that antidepressant is that it veils the emotions in this dense fog. And frankly, when I thought about the middle way discussed by Buddhism, about being in the world and not of it,as mentioned in the Bible, I thought of Prozac. I thought of being without feelings.
Now, I have realized that the middle road does not mask feelings. I asked for something that I could equate it to, and what came to me was, the middle C on the piano, the “do” in, “do, re, ,me, fa, so, la ti” which has always been, to me, the richest note on the piano. It is rich because it is where all the notes, all the feelings are equal in power, and equal in intensity. It is the point where high and low meet, even touch, but neither consumes the space. It is the point of pure balance. It is where sunrise and sunset are one., where the light sits on the deep.
At the lowest end of the keyboard, it is deep yet there is something unsteady about the notes, something rough. At the highest end the notes are tinny they are weak. The middle path, is full; it is not rising or falling, but knowing both. It is walking on water not drowning in it, while still feeling the light of the Sun. It is experiencing life while still being firmly planted in the Self. It is middle C, where we begin and where we return.
Today we live in turbulent times, and they are not going to change. We can allow ourselves to be thrown to and fro by the the rising and falling waves, or we can plant our feet firmly in the sand and allow the waves of life to pass through us, breathing them in and releasing them back out. Life is out of our control, but living is not. If we want to find joy, it is middle C. We must travel the firmament – The Way, The Tao:
When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.
Tao Te Ching