Will The Size of a Mustard Seed Do?
Romans 1:17 - If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
When the question of faith arises, the religious practitioners always think that it is their religion which is being spoken of. To have faith in a religion, in the priests or clergy, in a certain dogma, ceremony, principle, or in a certain form of teaching, this is what is usually understood by the word faith. On the other hand, the non-religious and those who look at life from a different point of view say, “Faith is blind, why should we believe blindly?”
So What Exactly Is Faith and How Do I Get It?
Faith is the unique power that works through the whole of creation. By faith I don’t mean a belief in a certain religion, dogma, ceremony, book, teacher; I mean having trust, a trust even in the absence of reason.
If you study life closely, you will find that to some degree everyone has faith. How true it is as the Wiseman says, “Every soul when born is a faithful follower, it is afterwards that he turns to the contrary.” This really means that every person is born with a simple faith, and it is only afterwards that they learn how to doubt.
If it were not so, we should never have been able to learn the language we speak. Was it not learned by faith, from infancy? When the mother says, “This is a tree”, the child says, “tree”; when she says, “This is water”; the child calls it water. And there are many things which the parents speak of apart from ordinary every day matters, and the child believes them, as they want him to believe. Whether the names given to the things are right or wrong, the child takes them as his parents wishes him to take them, for that is his natural tendency.
In the beginning everyone has faith. Then how is it that we lose this quality which nature has bestowed upon us? We lose it by the knowledge of names and forms. As we grow, we cover up our faith with the knowledge of names and forms, calling that “learning”. At every step in our progress toward knowledge we compare things and consider some things better than others.
The one thing we call true, the other false; but in reality neither is true or false. This is a stage of knowledge at a level of immaturity that we pass through. Later, when we have raised ourselves to a mature level of advanced knowledge, we arrive at a stage when we are able to say, “All that I have called true is not true, and all I have called false is not false.” We find that whatever difference exists is only a difference of comparison or degree (see the article titled “The Principle of Opposition”). This point of view is difficult and vague, and may not be easily understood.
The course of human life involves so many disappointments, so many failures, and so many heartaches, that no one can avoid doubting. When someone has been deceived by another, he easily distrusts ten people; when he has found one person unreliable, he may perhaps consider a hundred others to be so too. After failing in one thing he suspects he will fail in a thousand things. So many things take away that natural and powerful quality which was at first present (the “tree of life”), that faith which is the secret of the whole creation, the secret of all success that can ever be attained in life. This faith is broken by life's discouraging experiences (the “tree of knowledge”).
When confidence in others is lost, then confidence in self is lost also; and the more it is lost, the more failures one meets.
Doubt Breeds Mistrust
A doubting person considers himself to be wise and one of simple faith to be a fool. Whoever he sees he suspects; whatever he hears he questions whether it is right or wrong. He will doubt even his own brother, waiting for the time to come when he can trust him. But that time never comes. His very doubts create doubts in the mind of the suspected person; and often the doubts come true as the effect of the doubter's thought; or at least it creates an illusion which for the moment shows the picture of his doubts.
So it is with our own lives. We doubt, and by that very doubt that which we fear happens, because it is created by us in the other person's heart. Whether the actions we see support our doubt or only seem to support it, yet our suspicion creates the desire in the doubted person. (See “The Principle of Psychokinesis”).
If we could only develop the quality which is called faith, about which so much is said in the various holy books and the different scriptures, we should find what power it would carry. It is the secret of all success.
The Spark That Lights the Fire of Your Purpose
We are here to fulfill the purpose of our lives. What is that purpose? Our desire, our inclination which is constantly at work in our minds is the purpose of our life. If we are unable to fulfill that inclination, we go from this world without accomplishing our purpose. As Omar Khayyam says, “Heaven is the vision of fulfilled desire; Hell is the shadow of a soul on fire.” If the desires are not fulfilled the soul is naturally on fire. But there is no reason why the desire should not be fulfilled.
The very existence of a desire promises its fulfillment. In the heart of man is the desire of LIFE. Without the will to LIVE, not even a single atom can move. This shows that every wave of thought and feeling, every motion and action is from the desire to LIVE. Every thought that comes to our mind is LIFE's thought, even if it appears to be a thought of mundane, everyday thinking in the world.
Once you realize that every activity and impulse that comes into your mind is really from the desire to have more LIFE, you will feel that it must be fulfilled. If it is not fulfilled, it is your limitation that is the cause of its hindrance; you have allowed your weaknesses to hinder its accomplishment.
Failure = Lack of Faith
It is your lack of faith that generally causes failures. In faith is the secret of fulfillment or non-fulfillment of every thought. There is no doubt about the fulfillment of a desire if your faith works with it. But when your own reason and doubt come and destroy the hope, you generally meet with failure.
What an important part faith plays in life! Can there be anything equal to it? The whole of religion is faith, however people have called the separate religions faith. Faith itself is a religion.
The first lesson to be learned is to have faith in yourself. How many among you here lack faith in yourselves. It is this very lack that makes you have no faith in others. Once you have faith in yourself, you can have faith in others also. For instance, if you feel a person to be good, what does it matter if the whole world does not think the same? A person who does not believe in himself cannot believe in anyone else. Faith must begin within. Belief in yourself should be so strong that even if a thousand people say, “no”; one will say, “yes”. To look to others for every opinion, not trusting yourself to say whether it is day or night is to end by not only distrusting others but by developing a kind of insanity.
Faith means self-confidence. The secret of faith is that it can be used as a medicine, and it will be better than medicine; it can be wealth, and greater than wealth; it can be a religion, and greater than religion; happiness, and greater than happiness. For nothing can buy or sell faith. If there is anything that can be called the grace of God, it is faith and self-confidence. It is something you can neither teach nor develop; it must be in you, and you can only strengthen it by loving it, by enjoying it. It must develop by itself.
Faith is in fact a power operating all through our lives, and imparted to us from the time of our birth. This power is obscured as soon as reason is developed, which occurs during the process of acquiring the knowledge needed for merely maintaining life; and then one loses one's self-confidence as well as one's confidence in others. This is doubt and fear, which is your greatest enemy as you progress towards your desired life. It is removed as soon as you perceive that faith is really a natural power from within, by which all possibility seeks expression through you.
Confidence is assured, not by blind belief but by careful insight into the life which surrounds us. The higher self is then able to be like the rider on a horse, and direct all the affairs and actions of the lower self. Faith defends the innate desire of the higher self, and the more faith develops, the greater is its influence, through us, upon our whole environment. Faith breeds faith.
I often hear people who have been deceived by one person of the opposite sex say that they could never trust the entire gender again. In reality, these people have lost so much more than everyone else. The good quality which was in them has been killed by unfortunate experiences. How important it is that the heart of the faithful should be kept unbroken!
Those who have no faith in themselves, those whose faith is broken, no matter how strong he may become, will always keep the impression in his mind of having been beaten and this he cannot bear.
There is a saying, “Failure and victory are both in the mind”. If there is failure it is in the mind; if there is victory it is also in the mind. As long as the mind has not failed, a seeming failure may be a victory; but if the mind has failed, a seeming victory becomes a failure. That great power which the mind has is nothing but the power of faith.
People who have done great works have not done them because of their worldly legacy, for instances occur in which people began life without a penny, and yet have ended their lives as the possessors of millions. They have had no help to encourage them in life, or to raise them in life, they have raised their position by themselves.
Faith Is Unreasonable
So we see that reason has no part in faith. People may be called fanatics because they work only by faith, their critics thinking that faith only enables them to imagine things. But there are numerous people who are thinking and reasoning all their lives, asking themselves, “Shall I do this?” “How can I do that?” “How can I overcome these obstacles?” And all the time they are thinking of the hindrances, or waiting for suitable circumstances to come, and they never do. Their entire lives may be spent in the pursuit of something which reason prevents them from attaining.
It is quite different with faith. When there is faith there is no thought about whether or not there are any means of accomplishing the desire that has entered your mind. This does not matter when faith is there, to care for and to defend the thought, to rain upon the thought and make the plant grow and bear fruit, so that one day you may see its realization.
Ask those people who have led wonderful lives in the world. See what they have to say about it. What does Christ say? Christ said to Peter, when he walked on the water, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” If Peter had had faith, he could have conquered the waters.
In the different wars that Muhammad, the Prophet of Arabia, had to face throughout his life, what do we find? From the beginning to the end there were wars. He was born an orphan, for his father was no longer alive and his mother died in giving him birth. There were no resources, either of money or of influence when the message was given, later the whole community rose against him; even his relatives were against him. What stood by him? It was his faith. His call to his people was to have faith.
It once happened that when the army of the Prophet's enemies had been successful one among them by chance caught the Prophet alone. He was kneeling on his chest, and wanted to kill him. But before doing so, he said, “O Prophet, all your life you have taught the name of God. Now tell me where your God is. Where has he gone? And the Prophet called on the Name of God, on whom he called night and day; and as soon as that Name came to his mind, the strength of the whole world came into the Prophet. With one bound he brought the man down, took his sword in his hand, and said, “Who will save thee now, since thou art again in my hands?” And he answered, “Thou, Muhammad.” And Muhammad said, “O man of little faith, till now thou has not learned the lesson. Now thou has seen that my faith in Him saved me. He has just saved me. If thou takest the Name, He will save thee too. Ask Him!”
The strength of that faith and the hope it imparts, the power it gives, the might that faith can give, is there anything like it?
Faith, Even Among Thieves
There is a story of a man who was traveling with a caravan through Arabia. Among the travelers were some who had money with them for their expenses. They came to a place where it was said that robbers were likely to be and that everybody should take care of his own purse as many caravans had been robbed in that area. This young man also had some money, but he thought to himself, “I have no place to keep my money. I will find some man with whom I can leave it. To whom can I give it for safety?” He was wondering if there could be any village or habitation, but he could see only a tent some distance away from where the caravan had come to a halt. So he went and found a man sitting smoking his pipe in the tent. He went up to him and said, “I do not know you, sir, but I have heard there are robbers here and that many caravans have been robbed, and I am a poor man. I thought I should protect my money, if I could only find someone to whom I could trust it, having found this tent, I feel I should entrust it to you.” He left the purse, and returned to the caravan. When he arrived he found that the caravan had been robbed, and all had lost their money. He was very glad he had escaped. They were all moaning and lamenting about their losses. He thought that he at any rate was safe. Then they described the robbers, saying how many of them had come, how many had been there.
He returned to the tent to fetch his money again. He found the same man smoking there, but he was surrounded by many men; surprisingly, he was the chief of the robbers. The others were all sitting there, fighting and disputing what share each should take, and the chief was helping them to divide their spoil. So the young man was afraid to go nearer; and at the same time could not help thinking how foolish he was not to have kept his money, for while he was bringing it, the robbers had come, and so he would have escaped anyway. The others had lost everything, but he had fooled himself. While he was thinking this, and was about to turn away, the chief called out for him to be fetched. He approached the chief trembling, because he believed that now even his life was in danger.
The chief said, “Why did you come here, why are you turning back?” The young man asked, “Are you not the head of the robbers? Then why should I not wish to go? What use can it be to come?” The chief answered, “Man, I received your money to keep; I did not rob you of it. You trusted me. The money is therefore in my trust. Even if I am a robber, I am not dishonest. I gain by robbery, not by breaking trust. You trusted me with your money, and your money is safe. Here it is for you to take back again.” So the young man was delighted, reflecting what a good thing trust is, inasmuch as one may have faith even in a robber, for he had proved himself trustworthy.
We can see this in our everyday life. An assistant, a co-worker, a partner, can be made trustful or distrustful, trustworthy or unworthy of trust; this we do ourselves by our own faith. How true it is that when faith is beginning to fail, when doubts begin to come, the loss of faith goes on until a person begins to doubt his nearest and dearest friends. Husband can doubt wife; wife can doubt husband, brother can doubt sister; parents can doubt children. One can doubt one's nearest friend, and in the end one doubts oneself. That is the utmost limit; from then on life can be nothing less than torture. With regard to trusting people, you may think, “Is it right to believe in anything a person says? Is it right to trust everybody? There are many people who are not worthy of trust; shall we then trust everybody in order to develop our trust?” The answer is yes. Perhaps we will have failures, but we will only trust another person when we trust ourselves, when we have faith in ourselves then we will have faith in another. Without faith in ourselves we can never have faith in another; to have faith in another is to have faith in ourselves. It does not matter if once or twice we are disappointed, but if we are afraid of being disappointed even once in our lives, perhaps we will doubt all through life, and so there will never come a time when we will be able to trust anyone, even ourselves. There are many things that can develop our trust. Sometimes an unworthy person can become worthy of trust.
Did You Hear the One About the Preacher
A preacher was once speaking in a little village in India. The peasants he was preaching to could not understand philosophy or the great problems of life. What the preacher taught was: Have faith in God; faith is such a great virtue; and he told them that if a person repeated the sacred word he would be able to walk on water.
Everyone was delighted to hear this, saying, “What a great thing! He is always talking about the same thing.” Next day an old man came and said, “Sir, I cannot understand the deep problems of life, but I was very delighted with your idea last evening.” The preacher answered, "What was that?" He said, "I was very much surprised. Will you come and dine at my home? It will be such an honor." The preacher said, "Yes, with great pleasure." A day was chosen. When the day came, the man arrived to get the preacher, and they set off together. On their way there was a little river which had to be crossed. When they reached the bank, the preacher said, "Where is the boat?" "Why do you ask for a boat?" the peasant replied. "The other day you said that when you use that sacred word you can walk on the water. And I was very much astonished to find that it is so. Why take a boat when it is only necessary to say that word?" But the preacher could not do it, he was not a true teacher. So he said to the old man, "You are my teacher. I have spoken, but you have acted; and if I had had your faith I should also have been able to cross the water."
Sometimes things seem obscured, as if in a mist, as if seen through a dark glass. We fear beforehand that a thing will never come, that there will always be disappointment, failure, and sorrow. Depression comes on; we begin to think the times will never alter, and the same conditions will always continue. The only remedy to clear these clouds away is to look for a better time, to hope for something better in life, to feel that every thought, desire, and impulse that comes to our heart is from Life asking more of us and that it is to be accomplished, with all that power, for some purpose. No circumstances in our lives, not even friends and advisors, nor our reason or our doubt should be allowed to prevent the realization of our thoughts. It is through that one thing, faith, that our thoughts are kept powerful and full of strength; it is by nothing but that one thing - FAITH.
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