prayer wheels

Faith

prayer wheels
Vajrayana Prayer Wheels, by kkortmulder

Dear Son,

No human being can know the future.  We can’t control the thoughts, feelings, or actions of other people.  Even if we could, we would have no right to do so. And that means that we have to have some faith when we make decisions.

Faith is a funny word, it has a few different meanings, but most people don’t realize that there is a distinction between them.

To some people”faith” is a belief that is beyond any rules of proof.  Their faith is an unshakable belief that needs no examination – to them it must be true. This is how many religious people use the word, and it can be a dangerous kind of faith… and one that can lead to a lot of foolish behaviour and self-deception.

To others faith means a belief that things will turn out well in the end.  That their good intentions will ensure good results. This kind of faith is naive, and can cause a lot of needless pain and bad decisions.

And for others faith is knowing that there are risks and uncertainties in life, that things often won’t go exactly as planned.  But, understanding the risks (preferably, because they are in the habit of considering and choosing risks intelligently), they choose to take them anyway, because they believe the rewards they can earn is worth taking the chance.  And they do that because they are confident that if things go bad, they will be strong enough and clever enough to handle things not turning out, and turn even a failure into a partial success.

That last kind of faith is at the heart of what it is to be a strong and worthy man.  To be a leader, and to be emotionally strong in your life.

You need one of these kinds of faith to deal with other people well, to trust, to love, and to work as a team.  Any of them will do, but the last one is the one that will take you the farthest: not faith in Angels, or in the basic kindness in the Universe, but faith in yourself and your power to make a good life for yourself.

In Faith,

Dad

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