The Power of Faith

Faith is not something that can be seen or touched or known through the senses or intellect. It is a belief in something that can only be perceived through an inner knowing. It is through the still small voice within that we find our connection to the Divine. When we live with a primary focus on our physical relationship to the world we are subject to physical limitations. When we consciously integrate the other aspects of our being—mind and spirit—we expand our awareness into the much grander dimensions of the bigger picture, where consciousness exists beyond the body or any limitations of this life.

Whenever we are confronted with difficult circumstances the most powerful thing we can do is put ourselves into the higher hands of faith, with a willingness to act on the inspiration that comes. Mother Teresa was a living example of the transformational nature of compassion and faith. She embraced the unknown with love and courage – which is to say, with fearlessness. As an amazing example, she once crossed a bridge to a town under siege, despite being stopped by soldiers before crossing and warned of the dangers. She didn’t take sides, only patients. She walked into the town unharmed and tended to all.

It would be wonderful to remain in a state of faith and grace at all times and in all situations. Yet when I was diagnosed with advanced cancer I found myself catapulted into the proverbial dark night of the soul. The temptation toward despair and hopelessness seeped in. As I experienced this cycle of despair, I felt like an individual representation of what was happening on a much larger scale in the world. Just as the cancer in my body was careening out of control and threatening my existence, I could see the same dynamic reflected collectively. Immature policies based on fear and greed were careening out of control, leading toward the mass destruction of various life forms and threatening the planet that supports our very existence. The things that were happening to me on a personal level were happening on all levels as we collectively face times of great transition.

No matter how isolated we may feel at times, we are not separate from the whole. Every thought we think, every action we take, adds to the collective pool of harmony or chaos. On some level each of us is making a choice as to whether we are willing to mature and grow from a physical and emotional—or ego— perspective to a more spiritual one. It is a journey that can feel like death and loss; the outcome, personally and globally, is in our hands. We have an opportunity to embrace the inner journey, to recognize the power of compassion, and to step into creative and fulfilling lives based on an inner experience of faith.

The challenges that come to us can be a calling to open our field of vision to new directions. Yet when things that are familiar or taken for granted begin to disintegrate, it is tempting to give up or turn to despair. The darkness that descends can lead to self-destruction, but it can also be a catalyst for transformation to a higher order. It can push us, if we’re willing, through the barriers of unconsciousness, dissipating the terrors and fear that lie hidden. We cannot heal what we continue to hide away.

In Greek the word for soul is also the word for butterfly. In order to take wing, the butterfly must first break out of the chrysalis that has created the context for transformation to take place. The struggle is intense and takes every bit of strength that the emerging butterfly has. Out of compassion we might hasten to aid the butterfly in its journey to freedom, but in so doing we would cripple the butterfly. It is only through the butterfly’s own effort of pushing itself through the tiny opening in the chrysalis that blood is forced into its wings, allowing it to fly.

And so it is with the soul’s journey. We have to push ourselves through the tiny opening of our spiritual awakening toward the light of freedom—the freedom that comes with faith. We cultivate our faith through meeting the tests that come to us head on. No matter what we confront externally, we learn to trust the inner knowing that we are connected directly to the Divine source. As we surrender to this higher power we will find the inner strength and direction to deal with whatever comes.

Faith is a sacred journey. It may begin with intellectual curiosity but it unfolds on a soul level. It is a journey into a realm that can only be perceived through the eyes of the higher nature. While there is no way to scientifically measure or validate the existence of a higher nature, we can know it through an awakening within. It is the altruistic inner voice that calls us to recognize the reigning power of love, the greatest power for healing and transforming that which is out of harmony, both within us and in our world.

The journey entails breaking through constricting and limiting belief systems, including our identification with the body that we inhabit. The body is seen by the higher nature as a vehicle we are using in this lifetime, a suit of clothes, rather than as who or what we are. We are the spark that animates the body, and that spark goes on without beginning or end.

As we grow in faith, we see ourselves from the perspective of ongoing spirit, having less attachment to the survival of our bodies; paradoxically, as we get our lives into harmony with universal love and faith, we have more energy available to heal our bodies. When we embark on this spiritual journey, however, whether we heal our bodies or make the transition and let our bodies go is not what matters. What matters is how we use the life we are given in this very moment. Healing from a faith-based perspective allows one to surrender the outcome to higher hands and can result in a profound sense of inner peace and well-being. We do all we can to support our healing and leave the rest in higher hands. Physical healing often follows, although in the bigger picture the soul follows its calling and continues its journey on either side of life. We heal at an unconscious level all the time, but when we enter into a conscious and participatory journey we tap into extraordinary possibilities.

Cheryl Canfield, CCHT, 2023