November 21–Faith: Now

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
– Buddha

I find in many Buddhist teachings something that strikes me as “how to practice faith.” Faith is often understood as an equivalent to content–things to believe or even things required to believe in order to be included in the faith community.

Faith as belief content may be okay as far as it goes, but then what?  How do we practice faith?

Buddhist teacher, Sharon Salzberg writes:

In Pali—the language of the original Buddhist texts—the word for “faith” is saddha, literally translated as “to place the heart upon.” Here, where faith is a verb rather than a noun, it’s about offering, opening up and recognizing that we have an innate capacity to trust and understand.

This reminds me of our own word courage itself rooted in both French and Latin.  It implies “doing or living one’s heart.”  This seems to be close to how Salzberg describes faith as a verb–to place the heart upon something.

When faith is a verb and not a description of belief content, our way of being in the world changes.  Belief content becomes a way of measuring and judging others.  They either hold the belief content or not.  Doing engages us with life itself.

We really cannot engage and practice the past can we?  Nor can we engage and practice the future.  We can only engage and practice the present–tend to, focus on, be present to, create with, respond to, contribute to, listen to, feel what is, right now.

Right now is what we can place our hearts upon.  Right now is where we can live our hearts.  A life of faith lives now.

Bob Patrick

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3 Responses to November 21–Faith: Now

  1. Lydia says:

    Taking a few deep breaths is always a good thing.

  2. BArbara says:

    My words for thought this week at work are from Rinpoche:

    In human life, if you feel you have made a mistake, don’t try to undo the past or the present, just accept where you are and work from there. Be open to where you REALLY are. Emphasis is mine.

    My faith call is to live my faith in the moment and respond in the moment. Challenges abound with getting caught up in the past or the future about all those what ifs. The above Words of Wisdom and Rinpoche’s words are both calling me to live within reality with faith. Christiana’s words earlier this week combined with these thoughts today leave me with the thought that my reality is likely much better than the drama in my mind and to be faithful in remembering that reality.

    • Bob Patrick says:

      ” my reality is likely much better than the drama in my mind . . . ”

      A very powerful word for me, Barbara. Thank you!

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