Life coach Chaya Abelsky shares her thoughts on the Hasidic website Chabad.org on what it means to live a life inspired by faith. Excerpts:
Faith is not a relinquishing of responsibility. It is not an excuse for inaction that allows us to say, “The situation is out of my hands, G‑d will look after it.” On the contrary, it is only when we push ourselves to the limit of our own abilities that we begin to experience true faith. Faith is the confidence of knowing that having reached a point at which we can honestly say we have done all that we can, that everything else – all that is not within our own control – will look after itself.
But this confidence we experience is not faith itself, it is a result of faith. Faith is more than just a mind set. Faith is not merely something inside us, an emotion we experience like joy or satisfaction. Faith reaches out beyond us and transforms the world around us. When we approach the world with faith, it is a power that flows from a deep well within each of us. A power that flows outside ourselves and actually orchestrates the events of our world the way we need them to be.
There is a Yiddish expression that goes “Tracht gut vet zein gut” – Think good and it will be good. It is explained in our deepest mystical teachings that our thoughts can change the world. The expression “Think good and it will be good” is not just a way of saying “Hope for the best” or “Stay positive”. It is a profound teaching about the impact of our thoughts in creating and shaping our world. Faith in a positive outcome is the beginning of the solution.
Given what appears to be a hopelessly impossible situation, faith is the power to wrestle with the force of opposition that blocks what we need to accomplish. Fighting against impossible odds with our intellect alone almost inevitably makes us closed and bitter. We shut ourselves away from others in our despair. But faith is the power to remain positive and open in the face of the most stifling adversity….
Opposition is not simply something negative. It is a sign that the outcome will make a difference. The greater the forces that fight against what you are seeking to accomplish, the greater the result must be in tipping the scale of deeds in the world to the side of good. When seen through the clarity of faith, impossible odds no longer overwhelm us. They instead spur us on by revealing that what we are doing matters.
But why should it be like this? If G‑d loves us and wants the best for us, why make it so difficult? The answer reveals the meaning behind one of life’s great mysteries: why those who are good often suffer and those who are corrupt appear to prosper….
While G‑d could have created a world in which there was nothing that opposed goodness and kindness, we would have been missing out on G‑d’s greatest gift to us: the ability to find resources within ourselves greater than we previously realized were there….
This is why G‑d makes the lives of good people difficult. Because good people make a difference. And at the end of the day, it is their victory over the forces of darkness and despair that is the source of profound satisfaction.
Having gone to the point of breaking but still retaining strength, we discover that we are not as fragile as we imagined. We are ready to face tomorrow with even greater challenges that will reveal even greater strength in us.
Read the whole article here.
Wonderful quote, and about the best description of (generic, not necessarily religious) faith, and its usefulness, that I’ve read.
Much as I NEED this message, I cannot entirely accept it, however. “Think good and it will be good”; “A power that flows outside ourselves and actually orchestrates the events of our world the way we NEED them to be.”, etc.
Well, maybe the word “need” is a convenient qualifier that permits almost any result; but I’m afraid it all sounds like “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “The Secret”, to me.
Still, this message itself is one that we all “need”; and I know that “…Faith in a positive outcome is the beginning…”.
And, of course, considering the alternative, what can it hurt?
So, I will and do try sometimes, but in the face of the world,s reality, I find that my sense of humor (while it lasts) is the best antidote to the absurdity of it all…
“The World is poisoned at the heart…” (Wordsworth)
Yes! What clarity! What joy! Thank you, Jendi, for sharing it. This is exactly what I mean about the ‘role’ this space is taking on. Wordsmiths all but words that bridge its readers (followers) to higher and crystal clear understanding of both the real and mystical. Creation began with the ‘Word’ and as promised will be saved by the ‘Incarnate Word’. The universe is to our finite minds un-graspa-ble yet with epiphanies put into words, or poetic visions that descend on poets in a ‘trance’, somehow it’s possible to cross over or be prepared to cross over even now.
Hello, guy! I’m utterly agree with that way of assessment and everything connected.