Faith is an essential ingredient in our spiritual journey. In the teachings, it is one of the five spiritual faculties necessary for understanding and awakening. Faith is usually first because it is the ground on which our awakening unfolds. When we have faith in the practice, we are willing to put energy and effort into it. Our determined effort to be present leads to deepening mindfulness. Mindfulness leads to concentration. And when the mind is concentrated, focused and clear, wisdom and compassion, necessary ingredients of awakening, arise.
The Pali word saddha, translated as “faith,” implies trust, confidence. This does not mean believing that things will be as we wish. Nor is faith trusting something outside ourselves or our linear intelligence. It is a deep inner connection to what is true that assures us we can meet our life openheartedly. Often the word “faith” is understood as an unquestioning devoted belief in doctrine or a teacher that overrides or ignores our own experience. The faith to which the Buddha pointed actually arises from awareness itself. We see for ourselves that awareness awakens our hearts and minds to greater goodness. We might be inspired by our teachers or words we read, but it is the practice itself that deepens and confirms our inner wisdom and inevitably, our faith.
Having trust in our capacity to meet every moment with wise attention gives us the courage and faith to be awake to our life. What do you trust? Got faith?