Three Faces of Faith By Carole Ames, Joanne Cimbalo and Maria Gomori We three are all. .. creative, compassionate, curious, and resourceful. And we have something else in common, which has enabled us to survive, suffer, triumph, stumble, and laugh, again and again. We call it foith, and believe that it involves living with courage. As we prepare to present a course on this topic, we have paused to look in the mirror. Who are the three faces looking back at us?
Carole I naively thought that it should prove easy to write a few paragraphs for Shen about my relationship with faith and courage. After all, I like writing. But no ... minures, hours,
days passed, and all I had to show for it was numerous words, phrases and passages leading in a multitude of directions, and never to a dear conclusion! I realize now that my experience, understanding, and ability to communicate about faith are very much evolving. I see that although as a child, and later as a young adult, I had very little faith in myself and my environment, there were nevertheless people in my life who demonstrated their faith in me, and in life. While I found this puzzling, I was also inspired. I think I somehow relied on this to proceed forward in my life, despite my very different interior experience of fear, anxiety and caution. Recently a colleague was discussing a business venture with me and I expressed caution. She suggested I "borrow her faith" until I had devel-
oped my own. Although I had not heard this particular notion before, it made sense to me - probably because this is what I had been doing for much of my life! I had had enough faith in enough people to believe in possibilities, and enough courage to put that into action in my life choices. So for me, much of my journey has involved 'leaps of faith,' followed by reflection on my experiences, and the nurturing of an internally experienced sense of faith - of confidence in me and in life. In Sharon Salzberg's book Faith - Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience, she writes of faith in the Buddhist context in which there are three levels or degrees of faith: 'bright faith' is likened to falling in love, 'verifying faith' is claiming the right to question, and 'abiding faith' is faith in ourselves. This very 'Faith' continued on page 8
Faith ... Living with Courage This course is not about religion. It may be about philosophy and spirituality. And it is most definitively about considering: ~How do I embrace this life and live it fully? ~How do I open to possibility and accept disappointment? ~How do I take another step, and another? Come and explore faith with us. Live your life with courage.
October 14-15 2005- Mark Your Calendar!
sben - Issue 36 Summer 2.005