Just Believe . . . In What??

I used to have a necklace I liked to wear. It was a popular design—just a simple pendant engraved with the word “Believe.” It was a gift from an ex-significant other. Wonder whatever happened to it (the necklace not the S.O.).

In my study of astrology I’ve learned that every sign has some associated word or motto. The one I’ve most often heard connected to my sun sign (Pisces) is “Believe.” Growing up as a preacher’s son, I heard about faith a lot and have tried to get my head around the idea of that “substance of things hoped for” and “evidence of things not seen.”

Sometimes I’ll think I’ve almost got it down, that I’m ready to shout “I’m a believer!” But even in those exultant moments, the question that follows is, “believer in what—or whom?” Never mind the rest of the times when I tend to feel like a pack mule trying to catch up to the caboose on the faith train.

So, to the Shower Team I wondered, “What about faith? What do—or can—I believe in that has any substance I can recognize?”

In your asking of that question you are really asking, in a way, “What is real?” You want to know where you can justifiably or reliably put your faith so that you won’t be disappointed. You want to know what you can count on. And in your case, specifically, you are also asking how to manage disappointments, how to proceed with any sort of legitimate joy when things are not going the way you want them to.

There are two parts to the answer to your question and they are: 1) Freedom and 2) Well Being. First of all, freedom is a part of your experience that you rarely allow yourself to fully understand or appreciate. You are so free to choose your focus, choose your perspective, choose your response to any circumstance and yet you seldom truly ‘feel’ free. You are so free that you can choose to feel bound and as often as not, that is the choice you make. You exercise your freedom, paradoxically, by choosing to believe that you are a pawn or a puppet or a victim or a lucky or unlucky drifter through the random happenstance of life. You choose to believe that you are ever subject to this person or that situation or this incident or that condition . . . and in your choice to believe this, you give up most of your power to create a reality that feels free.

It’s not surprising. You have nearly everyone and everything around you participating in this sort of choosing. You learn from nearly everywhere you look that life is some kind of crap shoot or at best, that the Universe is just too mysterious a place for your limited mind to grasp and so you must resign yourself to feeling tossed about on some inexplicable ocean of events that you can’t make heads or tails of . . . that the best you can hope for is the blessing of a relatively smooth ride for whatever karmic or other reasons that might favor you.

Here’s where the second part of the answer to your question comes in. In all this choosing to see the Universe as a chaotic or unpredictable or even benevolent but unknowable place where you may or may not dodge the big bullets . . . you are choosing not to see a truth that you do know and can feel if you allow yourself to— the truth that Well Being abounds. You talk yourself out of this truth all the time, but you can’t ever truly escape it or completely forget it and no matter how crappy your conditions seem to have gotten, deep down inside there is always some part of you that cannot deny it.

You can lose touch with who you really are to the point where you don’t have easy access to this truth. You can choose so often and so stubbornly to believe otherwise that you can have one heck of a time remembering . . . but there is no corner of the Universe dark enough for you to hide from the Well Being that abounds. As soon as you find your way back to a quiet or calm enough space inside you . . . as soon as you shift ever so slightly your focus away from the trouble you are having . . . you will hear it in a bird singing or a child laughing . . . you will see it in the leaves stirring in the breeze . . . in your garden growing or the river flowing sweetly toward the ocean . . . or the sun setting over the mountains . . . you will feel it in your heart, sooner or later, in a way that you cannot help but recognize and cannot resist. It is that true and that powerful and that known to you at the deepest level of your being.

So when you ask the question “What can I believe in?” you have merely distracted yourself from what you already know. You have exercised your freedom in some way that has momentarily confused or disoriented you . . . You’ve temporarily forgotten where you come from and who you are and where you are going and that this journey you are on is yours to choose freely . . . to experience however you choose. The slightest shift in your focus back to what you already know will never fail to bring you relief from any discomfort you have chosen, and the more you move your focus back to what you already know, the more relief you will feel. The flow back to the fullness of what you know may take a little time and a little practice . . . but your freedom to feel that Well Being anytime you choose . . . will guide you and comfort you and continually remind you what—and who—it is that you can believe in.


Maybe I should try harder to find that necklace . . . My choices seem to be to persist in arguing with what I already know or to let myself remember and recognize, again, how well everything really is being. I’ll take the reminder—and in making that choice I/We are already feeling relieved and at least until the next distraction, complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on May 11, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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