In The Last Leaf, a short story by O. Henry, Joshua is seriously ill with pneumonia and has surrendered her life to the fate of an ivy outside her window; she believes that she will die when the ivy vine on the wall loses all its leaves. Her neighbour Behrman, an artist, tricks her by painting a leaf on the wall. As Johnsy wakes up to that sole leaf that miraculously “survived” the stormy night she recovers but tragically, Behrman loses his life to pneumonia, caught while painting the leaf on that fateful night.
Beneath the layers of friendship and selfless help, this heart-warming story is about faith – Joshua’s loss of faith in herself to recover but her complete faith in something outside of her to determine whether she would live or die – a leaf on the vine tree, and Behrman’s complete faith in his abilities as a painter and its power to help cure Joshua.
Faith cures. Faith heals. Faith ignites. And, Faith sustains.
But what is faith? Like the particle in the ocean knows in its core that it’s nature is to become a wave without an ounce of resistance to its true nature, and a tree knows that though it has lost its leaves this autumn, come summer it’s going to be filled with luscious leaves again, and we humans know that though the sun has left us tonight it will be back tomorrow morning, faith is that deep inner knowing without a doubt that there is a force within us and outside of us that makes the world move.
What faith brings to us is miraculous when we are tiptoeing on the border of faith like a bee tests a flower for honey for the first time, but it is the most ordinary when faith is a way of life. Think of a time when you desperately prayed for a miracle and things went your way. And then when you found yourself in a similar situation again, you KNEW that you could trust because you had already experienced the fruits of faith once before. If faith is so omnipresent and we know for a fact that it works then why is it so elusive? That is simply because faith is often chained by the illusion of fear and doubt, which can only be released by knowing and experiencing the truth.
So here is the truth. Faith has 2 parts –
- Faith in the divine, i.e. the inner knowing that the divine has a plan for you and that you are not free falling. All you must do is recognize that plan and go with it
- Faith in yourself, i.e. belief in yourself to make the right choice in line with your highest truth and actually commit to it and deliver it to your highest capabilities
Faith in the divine leads to fulfilling your kama – living your soul’s purpose and fulfilling divine will. You will walk the path that is meant for you.
Faith in yourself leads to creating and manifesting in line with your highest self, your highest consciousness. You will create a path that is in line with what is meant for you.
Thus, faith is what brings us closer to our true self. What may appear to be a freefall without a plan is actually a path that is guided by a deep inner knowing that is only experienced in the heart and the gut and not in the logic of the mind.
It is that potent dormant force that will only be realised in our consciousness when we are tested. For example, if the sun doesn’t rise one day, our faith in the sun and the laws of the universe will be tested and that is when we will become conscious of our faith in these laws. Or, when you have made a bad choice once, the next time you are the crossroads of choice, you will have to demonstrate faith in yourself to make a better choice that is in line with your highest consciousness and inner knowing.
The knowledge that you are flowing with the natural flow of the universe is what makes faith absolute and makes the miraculous a way of life.
If an inner resistance is the blockage to the initial trust in faith, a new formed resistance is the outcome of a loss in faith. To overcome both, you have to find a way to release – release the resistance that is actually a remnant of past experiences and patterns, or what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body. Once all resistance is released, you will be left with your potent core self – faith and oneness with the divine.
I write about living from your true self in my blog called Source-Driven. Do give it a read and subscribe for a weekly dose of spiritual pick-me-up.