For the past few months, I’ve been dealing with what I have come to call a lack of faith. It’s a lack of faith in my ability to actually improve my approach to life by changing my thoughts. By wallowing in this ineffective thinking, I end up doing my spiritual practices by rote – practicing my thought changing rituals by habit and not consciously bringing them into my body and soul. It’s difficult to be present in the moment when my mind is swirling in doubt that it will work.
Then, because of my doubting anything will work, I quit doing the things that have worked for me in the past. This lack of discipline and dedication conspires with my lack of faith and the downward spiral feeds on itself.
I’m becoming one of those people I’ve always viewed with a high degree of skepticism. Teachers who, in effect, say “do as I say, not as I do”. Teachers who understand the spiritual and scientific truths intellectually but never apply them internally in their own life. They know the talk very well but don’t walk it. It’s obvious in how they treat people and how they respond to life.
Even as I experience this lack of faith that conscious thought focus will bring my energy back, I have “muscle memory” that this focus has improved my life and attitude tremendously for the past 20 years.
And, I continually hear and observe what happens with our clients when they focus on what lights them up; when they use the tools, rituals and concepts to generate vitality in their lives. As Cathy says, we get to participate in others’ holy moments. This happens every day here at Clarity.
To help get my faith mojo back, Cathy and I decided to be students of another teacher. We are participating in a Course of Miracles class with Tama Kieves (another lawyer who became a spiritual teacher). The very first night, she said three things that hit home for me:
“Every teacher has a lot of work to do.”
“Seek not to change the world but change your mind about the world”
“When you use it, it works and that builds faith.”
I’m beginning to work my way back. Knowing that the more I focus on doubting myself, the more pronounced the doubt becomes, I’m shifting the focus to trust and curiosity. I’m staying curious about what new creative endeavors will renew my spirit. More importantly, I’m trusting that all of the work I’ve done and the spirit lifting truths I believe in will support my energy as I move through this confusion.
This will help me get back to a dedicated and disciplined practice of above-the-line thinking.
Keeping the faith, baby
Tama Kieves is great! I read “This Time I Dance” when the first edition came out and found it inspiring, and her later books and CDs are excellent too.
As for the “lack of faith” issue, it’s analogous to something I’ve been going through. Last summer I injured my foot and had physical therapy; then the therapist gave me exercises to do every day to build up strength in my feet. I’ve kept them up faithfully, but although I saw some immediate improvement, since then progress been slower and sometimes seems to have halted. I was almost to the point of saying “Why am I bothering to do this if it isn’t helping?”
Then a couple of weeks ago I was on vacation and took some long walks (3-4 miles). I had a little foot pain afterwards, but nothing like what it was last summer — and I realized that the exercises had indeed been a tremendous help. Just because it doesn’t FEEL like you’re making progress, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t making progress!
Thank you for your thoughts, Paula; especially, “Just because it doesn’t FEEL like you’re making progress, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t making progress!”
This is a great reminder to stay present to however the magic of progress shows up. And, keep going.