I wrote that piece as inspiration from a journal entry I made a few days ago. It was about the profound sense of peace and serenity that had been reigning over me in the past few days.
I have been reflecting a lot on what faith and peace mean to the non-believer. What do you call to when or if you ever find yourself needing to call on something beyond yourself? When I was religious and I had experienced hardships beyond what I felt capable of handling, I always called upon God,Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I had learned to do this from my religious upbringing. I was rather thankful for having those lifelines in my moments of darkness because I always had something to call on. It was comforting having something to grab onto when I found myself lost or needed spiritual support. When I decided to leave my religion, I also left the safety of swimming in fenced-in waters, overseen by spiritual entities working as lifeguards. Finding myself in wild waters, waters that allowed me to explore and experience life beyond fences, beyond the safety of religious guidance. When I was just flowing, just cruising in calm waters exploring life unguarded and unpredicted, it was fine. In fact, it was beautiful.
However, when the big storms came, when the waves kept rushing in stronger and stronger, what would my light-house be? What would I build my life jacket from? What songs of comfort could I carry in my soul to remind me of perseverance and keep my faith strong? In the midst of drowning in dark waters, whose name would I call on? Who would I imagine listening, caring and keeping an eye on me?
I was seeking counsel with my inner self, presenting questions I had the patience to wait for answers to. Suddenly, it formed in my mouth. A word, a guide. My spirit told me that there is a life force guiding me, “Obaya” is the sound that came into mind. The gender seemed neutral and balanced, a spirit of life force that ruled beyond the feminine and masculine. A connecter of existence and the wisdom that governs life. “Obaya”. I had never heard of such a name but decided to look it up and see what I would find. To try and follow my intuition. This is what came up:
Was the message simply guiding me to a message to answer my reflection on faith as a non-believer? Or was it about what I ought to have faith in? My relationship with my intuition has grown tremendously these past few days. The quietness that took hold of the space that had been cleared, when I rose from my darker days, held such a profound space for learning and knowing. My inner guide is true to my own nature; never forceful, never rigid, practical and grounded in curiosity and directed at peace and softness. Listening and hearing guidance has become much easier now that I find myself so at ease with my inner calmness and being. My head seriously feels like soft surrender and trust, bathed in serenity and certainty that all is becoming well.
The journey of the word Obaya took me to an even more interesting exploration that I would love to share in another platform, perhaps a youtube video (linked HERE if I do).
However, for now I would like to just share where I currently stand when it comes to faith as a non-believer.
They say that when you are drowning, the worst thing you can do is struggle and the best thing you can do for yourself is find inner calmness. Stay collected and focus. To collect your mind and focus on staying afloat instead of detrimental and forceful resistance. I have come to realize that most, if not all, forms of struggle come from resistance. Struggling feels like an upstream effort, paddling against the stream. When I started learning skateboarding, one skill that I used as my foundation for learning, was the skill I learned when I first got into yoga: The ability to keep breathing calmly, to surrender to the movement, present and keep breathing through anything that scared me. On the skateboard, learning to breathe through bumpy roads and to flow around obstacles with ease and without panic was crucial.
Faith was the ability to breathe through bumpy and scary life moments, to keep a hold on your calmness and sustain your peace of mind. A quiet mind is where you find your answers. In the quietness is where your intuition can be heard, where your inner spiritual guide can send you directions and comfort.
Surviving through my first spiritual and mental breakdown, since leaving the comfort of religion, has been as devastating as it has been tremendously enlightening. I sense a feeling of grounding that I find hard to explain. I feel like the foundation of my value has been demolished to pieces, showing me that I had built my identity on an insecure foundation. A weak foundation based on external factors that had nothing to do with my truest value. It has exposed my shortcomings and I could not look away from what I saw. It has broken down bridges I used to hold onto for comfort and forced me to discover what I am truly made of.
They say that the faith of bird resting on a branch is never on the branch itself but its wings. The bird relies on the strengths and skills of its wings to carry it to safety. Sometimes our faith is stuck on us believing in this branch and the next branch. Hopping around from one branch to another. While branches are great sources of strength, support and foundations for building stable homes, they should never replace the faith we have in ourselves. The faith we have in what we are truly made of.
And how do we learn what we are made of if we have never been given the opportunity (sometimes through challenges aka struggles) to really see what we are made of? What these wings can carry, how far they can take us? How do we know how to stay calm and peaceful while soaring the sky with no branch to land on?
Seriously, the closest moment I can remember feeling like this was probably in my late teens. I had gone into deep prayer and reached a state of such connection with God that I was totally blissed out! So much so that I wanted Jesus to come back to earth that moment because I knew with every fiber in my being that I would be heading to heaven! Ha! The feeling felt fleeting though because I feared that whatever portal I had gained access to, that gave me this tremendous peacefulness, could shut down at any moment. That I would once again find myself outside, second-guessing my connection to the divine. The kind of serenity I feel now, is not connected to that same fear of becoming locked out, it is not depended on my salvation. It does not feel like I have gained access to a certain portal, rather that I am letting go of things that might have blocked my access to it. To my own inner knowing.
So, what is it that I have faith in as an unbeliever? The simple answer is that; I have faith in the fact that the life force that has created everything that lives, has also created me. I am of the same clothe, nothing less or more. I am created complete and fully equipped to carry my own weight, just as I am, through life. My faith is rooted in the trust I have found in my inner wisdom and strength to always point me towards my own personal lighthouse. Regardless of how far I might venture, how crushing the circumstances, how heavy the challenge, there it is, within me, lighting up all the darkness, guiding me home. Again and again until the very end. And when in doubt, I don´t need any church or deity, any book or guru – I simply sit still and listen and there it is, always. That is my faith. That is where I am practicing returning to each time the waters get a little shaky, each time I don´t know where the next branch of support might be.
I leave you with this. That you might find your own inner lighthouse and inner wisdom and guides. That you may never forget that you were created complete with all that you would ever need to thrive and bloom. Like a little seed, a mustard seed, coded with all the greatness and strength you would ever need. You good. Trust yourself. You got it, from day one and everything else is simply reminding you of what you are truly made of. So, I hope you choose to trust that, to trust you. Trust your journey and your pace.
I wish you love, light and courage to trust the wings you were born with. Even in shaky wind storms, they were designed to carry you home.