Belief. Faith. Any Difference? Does it Matter?

Belief. Faith.

Belief. Faith.

“Belief. Faith.” was last night’s topic at the Men’s Network session I attend most Mondays. Since I would spend today surrounded by Cindy’s colon surgery, I showed up early last night. I showed up eager to enjoy both my belief and my faith.

There are differences between belief and faith. Actually, they’re the sort of words that take on special, personal meanings. And so they’re words for which everyone has his own unique meaning. Such was the case among the 17 men around the circle last night.

I came away thinking that if you listened carefully–and hopefully I listened carefully–you heard the same core to what every man said.

We all pretty much defined ‘belief’ as what our head learns that makes us secure in what we understand and what we do and why we do it. We all pretty much defined ‘faith’ as what our heart cherishes that makes us secure even not understanding every ‘why’. Faith gives us confidence in what we do and that we do it because faith as the only ‘why’ we need.

I don’t recall anyone making the distinction that ‘belief’ applied to all sorts of life’s facts and phenomena and that ‘faith’ applied to God. But that did seem how our conversation leaned. For me, belief may be enjoyment that I can sit and watch the Lake Georgetown beauty.  And for me, faith envelopes that enjoyment in the ongoing, eternal creation that makes it so.

I like these two statements from Dr. David Benner’s interview:

Beliefs form as we try to make sense of life.
…they might start as assumptions……and finally emerge as certainties. 

[Faith] is not something that I hold; it is that which holds me.

Surely I believe in God, believe there is a God, believe God is the creator. Much more than that is my faith that comes from God, my faith that is God’s assurance and replaces need for ‘why’.

And so I share the beautiful Hafiz poem quoted by Dr. Benner in his interview by Dr. Jackie Stinton:

I have a thousand brilliant lies for the question: How are you?
I have a thousand brilliant lies for the question: What is God?
If you think that the Truth can be known from words
If you think that the Sun and the Ocean can pass through that tiny opening
Called the mouth,
O someone should start laughing!
Someone should start wildly laughing – Now!

Beliefs answer the why. Faith laughs at the need to question.

Thankful for Belief, for Faith, and for the Difference

Wonderful Friend,
the need to know why, the need to understand how,
the need to have confidence
that what I believe will happen
will happen
are why I hold beliefs.
The assurance my open heart receives,
the resolve with which I know your presence,
the love and peace and joy that are my being
are how I enjoy the faith that removes all fear.
I thank you, God, for belief and faith
and for the difference I find between them,
living as spirit in human costume.
And so it is. And so I let it be.
Amen.

Love and blessings,

Tim

 

19 July 2017

Posted on July 19, 2017 at 5:37 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Belief, Faith, Prayer, Praying, Strength · Tagged with: ,

Prescription change? For the better.

Rx Change

Prescription Change

A prescription change happened with my latest optometry appointment. Nothing major but a slight improvement for my near-sighted vision.

The new prescription made me consider replacing the lenses in my two favorite frames: the ones I’d bought “on special” for $76 a year ago. That was $76 for the frames and the lenses: a progressive prescription. $76 total.

I went back to Eyemart Express and asked the gentlemen to calculate the price of new lenses for the old frames. I waited and watched his nimble fingers on the calculator. ultimately, he smiled and announced: “Replacing those lenses will cost $129 per pair or $258 total.”

“Is that before or after you subtract the insurance?”

“Because we’re out of network, your insurance applies only for frames and lenses bought together, not one or the other.”

“Hmmmm.”

“Hold on a minute. We have frames that match those you have now. Our special is still in effect. If you’d like, you can buy 2 new pairs of glasses–frames like your old ones with the prescription change–for” (he did pause for dramatic effect) “…$76.”

How easy (or difficult) is it to take a new look at something familiar, comfortable and accept change? The way business works at Eyemart, my change was visible to my eyes only, thanks to the stronger prescription. I get the benefit of the new prescription. I keep the benefit of frames that serve me well.

Similar comfort is from my morning prayer. It began for me more than 20 years ago, during my morning runs in S. Massapequa, Long Island, NY. I added to it and changed some things over the years. For those 20 years it was as comfortable as my “on special” frames.

It still is comfortable. Yet as my comfort and confidence with Spirit have grown, my prayer prescription has somewhat changed. Centering prayer, my Prayer Box, and writing in my Prayer Conversations journal are the newer prescriptions. As I may slip on one of the older pairs of glasses to see the difference, I consciously revisit and enjoy my good friend morning prayer.

Morning Prayer: Original Rx

Living loving God, thank you for life
and for life’s blessings.
Thank you for the love, the joy, the people
of my life.
Thank you for all I am and all I am becoming.
Thank you that who I am is the possibility
for compassion and creativity and energy and humor
to make a difference for others.
And that is who I am.
Thank you for blessing me indeed
and enlarging my territory.
Thank you that your hand is with me
and keeps me from evil that I may not cause pain.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be acceptable in thy sight, O God, my friend and my protector.
Thank you for this moment
and for this moment’s blessings.
Amen.

Love and blessings,

Tim

 

July 10, 2017

PS. Yes, the Prayer for Jabez is part of my morning prayer. You may also recognize Psalm 19:14 paraphrased.

Posted on July 10, 2017 at 5:04 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Change, God, Grounded, Joy, Life, Love, Oneness, Prayer · Tagged with: , , ,

Praying is….this, that, and the other

Praying Is, Does, Has

Praying Is, Does, Has

What is praying?

A couple of years ago, if you’d asked me how long I’d been praying, I would have said, “Five or six years.”

I would have been wrong. Praying has been a lifelong practice. Whether I knew  it or not.

My answer pinpointed the active attention and expression I gave to “talking to God.” I may have meant talking-to-God both for myself and for others. I would have surely meant the one-way, dualistic perception of sending a message from me to God.

And back then when I answered you that way, I would have felt quite good, quite complete with my response.

Today, I would answer “How long have you been praying?” this way: Always. Forever. Eternally in all directions.

And I would explain my answer this way: We each have our own definition of prayer, of what it means to pray. My awareness has certainly changed in recent years. By the way, I imagine it will continue to change as I develop more, deeper, broader awareness of what offering prayers is, does, gives for me.

I especially like Ellen Debenport’s “Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-mind…”. However, the word thinking immediately puts praying in a limiting category of actions, a mind-based category.

So, I rather like Thich Nhat Hanh’s statement a little more: “Prayer is not just what we do, it is also who we are.” Guess it’s obvious that I firmly believe the Be>Do>Have paradigm.

Yet, even stronger is Henri Nouwen’s offering that says “….prayer is a life in union with God, from whom all compassion flows.”

Having become increasingly conscious that prayer/praying is not just doing. It is more than that because it comes from more than the heart.

I love praying. Out loud. With others. By myself. For others. For myself. I love hearing others pray. Being in silence, praying with others, both are exquisite. I do not deny the power and the beauty of traditional prayer. Not one bit.

However, I am delighted that I’ve become aware of these facts-for-me:

For me, praying is any word, thought, action, or moment that means my Oneness with God. Even if it is not in my consciousness, I know I pray when I take a step, share a smile, cry a tear, forgive myself, offer assistance, blink my eye, feel my pulse, love a song….

What is praying…for you?

Love and blessing,

Tim

5 July 2017

 

Posted on July 5, 2017 at 6:57 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Creativity, God, Oneness, Prayer, Praying · Tagged with: , ,

Calm Down! It’s Worth the Effort.

Calm Down by Sitting Still

Sitting Still

How often do you say to yourself, “Calm down?” How often does someone else suggest kindly, lovingly that you calm down?

The current State of Life may give us cause operate at turbo speed. We ramp up our energies, fuel-inject our emotions, and ignite our intensity. Sometimes one’s personal odometer gets close to–or crosses over–the red line; personal RPM is too high.

Calm down. This may sound the same as the earlier post encouraging you to Lighten Up. Here’s the difference:

The difference is subtle, for sure. Maybe there’s no difference at all. Both are good ideas. And your ideas for lightening up and calming down are even better. But to get you started, here are some ways to calm down:

  1. Listen to rain fall (real time or recorded).
  2. Listen to a flowing stream (real time or recorded).
  3. Ditto wind…ocean waves…birdsong…432Hz music.
  4. Sit very, very still.
  5. Gaze at a candle’s flame.
  6. Enjoy looking at a a blank sheet of paper.
  7. Make time to assist someone else with anything.
  8. Drink a tall glass of lemon water. Slowly.
  9. Sit silently with Spirit.
  10. Slow your breathing.
  11. Imagine, feel relaxation flowing through you: top of head to bottom of feet.
  12. Lean against a tree.
  13. Lie back and watch the night sky, closely.
  14. Listen to your heart’s song: the rhythm and the lyrics.
  15. Say “amen” when a job is done. Mean it.

A calm down prayer

Soothing Spirit, when I move
at speeds seeming breakneck, with thoughts
scrambling in my head, and tensions
making me go faster,
you help me remember the peacefulness
of    slowing    down.
One slow breath calms me down.
Two even more.
Giving thanks that I can see the sky
and feel tree bark
and hear rain splattering the sidewalks
calms me down. When I sit very still
and know you are beside me, around me
and within me, I know the perfect calm.
Thank you, God. And so it is.
Amen.

Love and blessings,

Tim

 

 

1 July 2017

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 5:05 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Breath, Energy, Grounded, Happiness, Healing, Humility, Inner Peace, Peacefulness, Prayer · Tagged with: , ,