Lesson 4: Faith
Faith is developed by the use of it… As we apply what we know, there is given a greater understanding of how our faith may increase and become a living thing in our experience. (A Search For God I, Faith chapter, How Faith is Developed)
Create in me a pure heart O God! Open Thou mine heart to the faith Thou hast implanted in all that seek Thy face! Help Thou mine unbelief in my God, in my neighbor, in myself! (262-13, Faith Affirmation)
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (James 2:17, Christian Bible)
Faith without works does not grow. When we use what we have in hand, applying it in the little things of life, it will expand.
Faith is not just intellectual musings or wishful thinking. In the Search for God, faith does not require belief in a creed or a body of theological tenants. "Blind faith" is not necessarily essential. There is no demand for a gigantic "leap of faith" (like jumping off a cliff and expecting not to go splat). Faith does not require a belief in miracles as such. Thus growing faith by putting it into action avoids the faith versus reason problem that is a stumbling block for many on the spiritual path.
If you stop and ponder, you will realize that you already have faith in so many things in life that are the expression of God. To be sure, in Searching for God, some faith is required. To find God, you have to believe that God is. But it doesn’t have to be a giant leap of faith. It is in the small things – the little acts of faith – where growth can come. The affirmation for this lesson reminds us that a kernel of faith has been implanted within each of us as spiritual beings in search of God. This kernel is ready to grow if we will but feed and nurture it through our application.
Look at areas of your life where you can work with faith – even if it is only a little and you have a lot of doubt. Then test your spiritual ideal. Put it into action and see what comes of it in your life. Trust in the unseen forces of spirit to help you create an ideal-based life. That is faith in action.
And if you still have some doubts (“unbelief”), that is ok too. Just focus on growing the faith that you already have by seeking God’s face through your daily attunement. Act in good faith in service to others with the spirit of cooperation. Believe in yourself as you come to know yourself to be yourself, and yet one with the Whole that is God. Put your ideals into practice and watch your faith grow.
Application: Begin with a little faith by seeing God in others and acting that way. Attune to the divine within and know God’s presence each day. Know yourself to be a co-creative companion seeking to manifest God’s love. Use what you have in hand and more will be given. A little faith can grow if you work with it and use it constructively.
Resource: Faith of a Doubting Thomas (Reply)
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. (Albert Einstein)
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
… that we see manifested in the material plane is but a shadow of that in the spiritual plane. (5749-3)
First, – analyze self and self's purposes. Know thy ideals, and know the difference between ideals and ideas. Few individuals have ideals that are based upon spiritual things, of which the mental and material ideals are merely the shadow. (2953-1)
As noted in the video overview for this lesson, in Plato’s "Allegory of the Cave" there are ideal forms that cast shadows perceived by material consciousness. Essentially, Plato’s forms serve the same function as mental ideals in the Cayce readings wherein the downward cascade of spiritual energy formed or patterned by mind manifests as physical reality.
Thus this lesson on Faith is an extension of the previous one on Ideals. "Spirit is the life, mind is the builder, and physical is the result." This phrase is the essence of the Ideals Exercise.
To do the Ideals Exercise is in itself an act of faith – faith in the unseen forces of spirit as the basis for life. Bringing mind and body into attunement with spirit and then living all aspects of your life from this template of spiritual/mental/physical ideals is faith in action. It's a matter of trusting that if you orient your life based on a spiritual ideal, and make everything in your life flow from that spiritual ideal, life will be optimal for you and others with whom you interact. To be sure, this is contrary to the materialistic view of life based on "survival of the fittest" and "look out for number 1."
Reflecting on the material side of life as a “shadow” does not mean that the physical world and flesh bodies are inherently evil or sinful, as some religions have suggested. On the contrary the Cayce readings insist that the physical dimension of human experience is sacred and purposeful. If it is an illusion of sorts, as some spiritual and philosophical traditions insist, then it is a meaningful, purposeful illusion if approached in a sacred, spiritual way (i.e., spiritual ideal). A shadow can, in fact, be quite beautiful depending upon the light source and pattern from which it is projected. The point is that the material side of life is not the ultimate reality. If we limit our focus solely to the physical level, we miss the opportunity to grow and thus restrict our experience to a shadow world lacking context.
It takes faith to work with ideals. It takes faith to recognize that material reality is the realm of shadow and that the unseen forces of spirit are the ultimate reality. This is especially true when dealing with some of the less pleasant shadows in life – illness, poverty, broken relationships, and so forth. It takes faith to recognize that life flows from a spiritual ideal. It takes faith to bring mental attitudes and physical behaviors into alignment with a spiritual ideal. Faith is active. Faith is the bridge between the seen and unseen.
Application: How much faith do you have in the unseen realm of spirit? How can you put that faith into action in some particular area of shadow in your life? Pick an area of your life that needs healing. Use the ideals exercise to focus your spiritual ideal as a light shining through your mental ideals and watch the shadows change for the better.
Faith And Finances
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30)
Do we know in whom we believe? If so, then the ideal or standard toward which we move becomes the basis for the activity of faith in constant action from the mental, imaginative, and spiritual forces. Thus we may express or bring into manifestation that which is held as our ideal … (A Search For God, Book I)
What is the role of faith in this world of financial insecurity? If we have faith and do the will of God (as best we know it), will God provide for all our needs?
What about prosperity? Can an ideals-based life include prosperity at the material level? Is material wealth an obstacle or hindrance to spirituality as Jesus indicated in some of his teachings?
These can be troubling questions for anyone seeking God and working at living a spiritual life.
Application: Be sure to address the financial aspects of living when doing the Ideals Exercise so that the material side of life is consistent with your spiritual ideal.
Resource: Reality Creation (Article)