What is faith? Faith is belief. Faith is a complex emotion. But is it a necessary emotion to have? Personally, I think it is; the emotion helps the person to grow, to nurture and to heal. One could have faith in oneself or faith in a higher supreme power.
Why am I suddenly writing about faith? Well, this idea of belief has been on my mind for sometime.
I first witnessed the manifestation of faith, when I visited Varanasi (Benares/Kashi) in October 2012. At the early morning boat ride at the crack of dawn, I saw many believers from different walks of life pay their respects and salutations to the rising sun. For me it was a stunning sight. The sunrays had just pierced the early morning mist; there was a slight nip in the air, men and women were knee/ waist deep in the Ganges, oblivious to the slushy waters around and engrossed in deep prayer or meditation.
The waters of the Ganga are considered holy among most Hindus; I could see the fact with my own eyes. It just did not seem to matter that the water was so dirty, and it was precisely this realization that humbled and stunned me.
Right or Wrong? I was not in Varanasi, considered one of the oldest living cities in the world, to make judgments here. I just watched, and soaked in the scenery unfolding in front of my eyes. This imagery of faith has stayed in my mind, ever since I visited Varanasi.
Was it this imagery of faith, which has stayed in my mind since, that I decided to write on faith? No there is more to it. In the course of my work writings for a medical research blog site, I have had the opportunity of interviewing many people, both young and old, in the grip of chronic and debilitating illnesses like multiple myeloma, 3rd stage cancer, schizophrenia, psychosis etc. More often than not, to the query, ‘what helped you cope and heal from this life changing condition’, the response has been either faith in oneself or faith in a higher power. Their responses made me realize in the importance of faith in the healing process; in life, in general. It made me remember Tagore’s words I had read some time back.. ‘Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark‘.
Faith in a higher power or God as some would say, many a times attracts ridicule from non-believers. I believe faith is very individual and personal, a lot like a sexual preference. There is no right or wrong here (as long as one is not hurting/ killing / forcing or being a bigot).
Yes, we are taught to question, but sometimes just a little faith is all it takes to make one’s days joyous and beautiful.
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof ~ Khalil Gibran