When my brother-in-law was killed in a stupid construction accident last August, something switched on (or off) that has at times changed things for me. It makes life seem so much more precious--the part of life that's just living it for what it is, the here and now part--not the wishing part, nor the future part. The trouble is that living with a "here and now" attitude just ain't so easy, at least for me.
Now using my brother-in-law is more of a convenient excuse than I might like to admit. The reality is that it's about me, not about him. I am going through a crisis of faith. This is kind of odd, really, considering that I am not even sure that I know what my faith is. I do not have faith in the traditional way most of us think of it--a belief in God. I think more than anything, it is a crisis of perceived failure: nothing I try seems to get me much closer to the place of spirit I believe exists--a place of a calm inner life that reflects into the world around me. Though perhaps wanting such a thing is grasping at straws.
I go through this occasionally (I suspect everyone does). I put out my best effort but nothing seems to change. Then I start to wonder, is this my best effort? So I try harder. Then I start to wonder, is this the right effort? So I try something different or add something else in. Then I start to wonder, am looking in the right direction? So I look in other places. But still, nothing seems to change; I feel no deeper connection to my spirit; I feel no closer to having a calm mind; in a few words--I feel no deeper relationship to my center. And then I begin to wonder, what's the use? Try as I might, little seems to change.
As much as a crisis of faith, I guess it is also a crisis of confidence. Sometimes it would seem easier just to pull back; really to do little to nothing and to stop worrying about my place in the world, and just to inhabit whatever space I am in. Unfortunately, "what is my place in the world?" has been the question on my lips for as long as I have memory. As such, it is tough to abandon; it is a part of me more than a tangent.
Now, if you expect me to resolve this with some deep insight, you will be disappointed. Even the most ardent of believers (whether in self or in some thing else) have times when their faith ebbs; when what they believe leaves them and leaves them cold and ragged. If there is a kernel of insight it is that faith is not a thing. It is a process. There is no process that does not ebb and flow and no faith that shouldn't be questioned now and then. Because anyone who claims to never feel lost in the wilderness probably just lives in the wilderness.
I am sure that I will find my way through this momentary ebb. What will reappear with the flow is another question. And that, it would seem is the up side--and why I keep asking these questions. I can't wait to see what emerges.