Got to get psyched up, so to speak, for another Internet radio interview tonight with mediums Marcel and Lenny. Tune in your computer at 8 pm PST here for a discussion of “The Changing Face of Faith.” Here’s the blurb that got emailed to me.
I’ll jump on their medium turf and look into the future: Marcel and Lenny will challenge my spiritual skepticism. And I’ll say, “But skepticism is the doorway to openness.” Or something like that.
Maybe I’ll talk about walking up our driveway to get the newspaper in the morning. A few days ago I was lost in thought, pondering what I’d do after I got the newspaper in the morning even though I hadn’t yet reached the paper box.
Then…a gap in my pondering. A flash of movement. I saw a deer standing in the field, staring at me. I looked back. We had a deer-human moment. It jumped over the fence. I walked on.
My face has eyes. My eyes connect me with the world, along with my other senses. But most truly, only when I’m open to whatever comes along. When I’m focused on something that exists only in my imagination—“after I read the front page I’ll drink some coffee and then meditate for a while”—I risk missing what exists now in reality.
Like, a deer standing in the field. Like, who knows what else.
So to me the changing face of faith means moving away from looking at life through spread mental fingers, believing in this but not in that, refusing to consider the possibility of X while embracing the hypothesis of Y.
Eyes wide open. No rose-colored glasses. Believing in it when you see it, not before. That’s the sort of faith I find attractive, the kind I wrote about in “Don’t believe, just have faith.” In that post I quoted Alan Watts:
The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.
Fairly frequently I’m asked, “Brian, have you lost your faith?” God, no! I’ve found it.
What I’ve lost is my unfounded faith in dogma that I have no evidence for, and in the notion that just because I firmly believe something, it must be true. But that sort of faith should be lost. It’s worthless.
The faith I’ve found, or at least come closer to, is a trust in reality—whatever it may consist of. I don’t need to make reality conform to my wishes or desires. All I have to do is open my eyes and see. As clearly as possible.
With my changing face of faith.
[Next day update: per the link in Marcel's comment, below, the eighteen minute interview can be listened to here. Click on the December 6, 9 PM, option. I've also written about the experience on my other weblog. See "My radio interview about the changing face of faith."]