It had been a distressing month. There had been news of friends and family, one after another experiencing some form of tragedy or misfortune. We watched a dear friend lose a loved one. Another suddenly discovered she had a debilitating illness and had to be hospitalized in order to undergo excruciating treatments. And a third acquaintance had business problems and was going through a major financial crisis. Each one of them was carrying a heavy burden, and as much as we tried to help them, all we could do was bear witness to their pain. There was no way we could understand what they were going through.
However, there was a lesson to be learned from all those who went through this phase in life: the ones who kept their faith alive, who held on to the Master’s hand and accepted their fate, who made every effort to carry on with their lives positively, came out stronger in the end. When it seemed as though their world had fallen apart, and we wondered how they would pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, they were able to sail through their problems and come out shining, stronger than ever – purely because they held on to the power of faith in the Master. They saw the Master as the navigator of their lives and believed that whatever happened, however painful it was, took place for a reason, and behind the scenes they experienced a greater power giving them the support and strength to go on. We witnessed how Master’s grace was amazing, but that one could only experience this grace if one holds on with unshakeable faith and love, without blaming the Lord for the pain that one has to go through.
In The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence writes:
When He finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into it His grace and favours plentifully: there they flow like a torrent, which after being forcibly stopped against its ordinary course, when it has found a passage, spreads itself with impetuosity and abundance.
Faith is such a great power that it can give each of us an unbelievable amount of strength. If we were filled with faith in the Lord, life would be so peaceful, we would be surrounded with so much positivity and we would experience His presence in every facet of our lives. As Kabir has said (as quoted in Sultan Bahu): “Whosoever has faith in his mind has the Master always with him.” However, where there is no faith, life would be empty and filled with cold darkness. Faith is the rock whereby one goes through the path of the known to the unknown courageously and with self-confidence; it is where one finds shelter from fear and worries. It enables us to keep our sense of balance even when strong winds seek to throw us off course. Faith keeps us bound to our Lord at all times, good and bad.
Faith is the foundation on which the whole superstructure of religion and spiritual progress stands. It is the root of the tree of Godliness. Without faith there can be no achievement in any worldly art or spiritual matter. Faith is the most precious of gifts that the Lord can confer on a devotee. If one has little meditation to his credit but has full faith and love, his future is assured.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light
However, faith does not come so easily. The analytical nature of the mind encourages us to question, to have faith only in that which can be proven. In fact, Sant Mat asks us to explore the teachings so that we can experience the truth within ourselves. True faith, therefore, is not blind. Faith is based on our experience which we receive through sincere practice. We have faith, therefore, when we courageously dedicate ourselves to proving truths beyond our grasp, following the lead of our Master. Saint Augustine has given the definition:
Faith is to believe what you do not see;
the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
Creeds of Faith and Inspiration
So how does one cultivate this faith within? Faith is not something that we can attain by asking. The saints tell us that sincere meditation will build our faith in the Master and the teachings. Faith comes from our meditation and faith also supports our meditation.
Please remember that true faith only comes from meditation. The more you meditate with love and devotion, the more faith you get.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Quest for Light
Walking along the spiritual path is like trekking through jagged mountains. We will experience the highs and the lows – there will be times when we are inspired by his love, and faith is easy; yet there will be times when we have to climb steep rocks and the journey is difficult. However, a disciple who continues to persevere will slowly begin to overcome these obstacles. Gradually, he will enjoy the meditation practice. This then feeds his faith and love, and he attends even more eagerly to meditation.
As Maharaj Charan Singh explains:
The more time you give to meditation, the more grace of the Master comes to you in the form of love and devotion. The Master is within you and sees what you are doing. He never keeps back the wages of anyone. Sant Mat is not a path of disappointments or failures; it is one of joy, success and eternal bliss.
Quest for Light
Life will throw many challenges our way where our faith in the Lord is tested. However, if we build our lives according to the teachings of the Masters and attend to our meditation sincerely, we will build a strong spiritual foundation, so much so that nothing can shake our faith. We will face life boldly, holding the Master’s hand. Just as a child has nothing to fear if his parents stand by his side, we too will always feel secure in the Master’s inner presence. We will truly believe: “With faith all things are possible.”
If one’s faith is firm and unshakeable, and one daily gives time to the practices, and has no worldly desires, then there is no power which can bring one back to this plane.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, Spiritual Gems