A long-time friend of ours just lost her husband, and she is working through the loss that is so painful and so intolerable. And yet, and yet, she is surviving, and I am amazed and awed by her strength and capacity to get up in the morning and accept her fate.
This woman has had a life of challenges that those who are the strongest might bend under, and yet she has gone through them, and come out the stronger for it.
I can only attribute this strength of hers to a faith, however uneven and changeable it has been throughout the many years we have known her, it has always been there for her. It has sustained her.
Presently she wraps that faith in an external God, but in the past it has been wrapped in other cloaks, but always there was that faith that something bigger and more powerful than herself was available to lean on. Sometimes it was just another human being, sometimes it was herself, sometimes it was a great God. But always it consisted of faith in the ability to alleviate the pain and the suffering that being human brings each of us at different times in our lives.
This prompted me to consider the value of the spiritual search, in whatever guise it may appear, and if there is value in that search, perhaps this is its value, that it sustains us during suffering. Perhaps that is all it can do, and all the rest of the promises and gifts, and glamor, and raptures, and ecstasies, all the enticements that entrap us within the search are fluff and nonsense beside this one clear reward, a sustaining faith that keeps us afloat in trying times.
UG debunks the search, and rightfully so, if the search is aimed at "perfection", or "power", or any other self-aggrandisement, which it frequently is. But he doesn't address this aspect of the search, and perhaps he might agree that it provides sustenance, at least for those who suffer. (Actually, he did allude to it once, in that he admitted that "something" happened to him at the Ramakrishna Ashram, and never recanted that. Perhaps that was an experience of "faith? I don't know, one would have to ask him, I guess.) Afterall, even the fully realized have faith, albeit internalized. But it is a faith, or in that case, a certain knowledge, of the rightness of life, the orderliness and simple brightness or pleasure of being. Until we are all in that state, is faith in an "other", not as real and as vital and as right, as any other state or mind set?
Certainly in my own life, the capacity to know that there is something greater and more benevolent than mere egocentric "I" has sustained and encouraged me to outgrow myself. Without that faith, I would not have dared to step out of the dark hole of self-absoprtion and self-sufficiency that self-absorption implied.
Hmmmmmmm.....................mind is useful sometimes, methinks!
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