Faith is a certitude of the soul (which knows the truth of its own destiny and mission) which does not depend on reasoning…calling the lower nature out of its petty present to a great self-becoming…
(Dalal,A.S., Ed., 2001, A Greater Psychology, pp. 199-203)
“Faith is not something that happens by our effort, but is an inherent knowing and natural outpouring of the Soul. The Soul knows who we are and what we were made to be and do in this life. The Soul then communicates to us, through faith, what we need to support this purpose, all for our highest good. The Soul is the origin of faith. Faith is the communication that resides within us as a deep, deep knowing of something as being true. As such, there is a vast difference between the deep knowing of something as being true and in our highest good and something we want.” (Lauri Ann Lumby from her online course What’s Your Magic.)
Faith is the natural outpouring of our Soul’s knowledge of who we are – our unique giftedness and how we are called to find meaning and purpose in our lives, both for the sake of our own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of our world. Faith is both a state of being and a conversation – a conversation between ourselves and our Soul (that which some might call God). It is by faith that we are able to discern our path and those things along our path that will either hinder or support our Soul’s unfolding. While faith is not something that happens by effort, it does require practice.
Practicing Faith through Discernment
The first practice of faith is discernment – the process of distinguishing the voice of the ego/false-self and the voice of the Soul (God). Discernment in itself is a practice that takes time, attention and presence to be able to distinguish the various ways in which our Truth speaks to us. With practice, we learn that our Soul’s truth is that which leads us toward expansion, a sense of contentment, fulfilment, joy and ease. The voice of the adversary/ego/false self, whispers to us in doubts, fear, confusion; and leads us toward that which makes us smaller (constriction). The practice of discernment never ends as our Soul’s mission is ever-expanding.
No One said it would be Easy
While the Soul’s truth leads us toward ease, this is not to say that the journey is easy. In fact, it is everything but. The path of our Soul is a process of initiation and as Tau Malachi says, “the path of initiation is not the path of least resistance, but is, in fact, the path of most resistance. (Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ – a Gnostic Christian Kabbalah, pg. 177)” If there is anything that will be tested in our journey toward self-actualization (the psychological term for our Soul’s fulfillment), it is faith.
Faith, again, is the voice of our Soul speaking truth. In order to hear and heed that voice, however, we have to overcome a multitude of obstacles to living that truth:
Societal Conditioning: We live in a culture that tells us to listen to everything BUT the voice of our Soul. Instead, we are taught to listen to the voice of the outside perceived authority (parents, pastor, teachers, peers, advertising, TV stars, etc. etc. etc.) for guidance and direction in our lives. When we dare to veer from that path toward the path of our Soul, we are punished.
Tribal Rules: These are the “shoulds” that are laid out for us by the collective outside perceived authority. Don’t speak unless you are spoken to. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t tell the family secret. Don’t break the rules. Be seen and not heard. Your needs are unimportant. It is your job to meet everyone else’s needs. These rules are enforced with the threat of punishment, or worse, banishment.
Unacknowledged Fears: Beyond our healthy and appropriate survival fears, fear is the result of conditioning. These are addressed in my book and online course Authentic Freedom and I will share them with you here: there is not enough, I have nothing to contribute to the world, I can’t be my most authentic self, I am not loved (or love is conditional and has to be earned or taken away), I am not free to express my truth, I do not know my truth, I am alone. Moving these fears is a necessary and on-going step in our Soul’s unfolding.
Unhealed Wounds: There is no such thing as a “functional family.” All parents are operating out of their own unhealed wounds – the times they have felt rejected, unheard, unseen, unacknowledged, betrayed, lied to, cheated on, etc. etc. etc. Until these wounds are acknowledged and healed, they come out sideways in behaviors that are either self-harming, or doing harm to another. As children of wounded parents, we experience our own set of woundedness, and then pass this on to our own children (again, until we do the work of healing these fears). Healing these wounds frees us to live the life of our Soul intends for us.
Life Itself: Life itself gets in the way of exercising our faith and our ability to listen to and adhere to the voice of our Soul. As is often said of the human condition, “Life sucks and then you die.” In the human journey we experience loss, suffering, illness, death, hurt, betrayal, tragedy, ongoing challenges and difficulties. In those times when everything around us seems to be turning to sh.t, we might wonder if, like the biblical character Job, God has given our life over to Satan’s command. This could not be farther from the truth, but on some days it sure feels that way. As the prophet Isaiah reported on God’s behalf:
For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
so that I may not cut you off.
See, I have refined you, but not like silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for why should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another
Isaiah 48: 9-11
This does not mean that God plans and orchestrates the adversity, but that the adversity that is inherent within the human condition is an opportunity for us to hone our resolve and recommit ourselves to the path of our Soul. It is like the small-self saying, “Are you sure about that?” As we move through these adversities, we are strengthened in our faith and empowered in our ability to live the life we were meant to live – one that is meaningful and with purpose, through which we are finding fulfillment in the use of our unique giftedness, both for our own enjoyment and for the sake of the betterment of the world.
What practices are you finding helpful in cultivating faith and heeding the voice of your Soul?
Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides support for your spiritual awakening and journey of self-actualization through her writing, online courses, and one on one mentoring. To schedule a one-on-one session, email firstname.lastname@example.org.