What is faith?
My journey into answering this question started with the observation that for most of my life, I was living in fear. Fear of not being loved, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being pretty, fear of speaking my mind, fear of heights… the list goes on. So if I am living in fear, I need to understand how to turn the other way. What is the opposite of fear?
I sought counsel from one of my teachers who said, “There is a net beneath you. Let go. You will be caught.” I don’t know how much I believed her but I wanted to go straight into feeling my fear to see what is on the other side. I needed a goal to bring me face to face with fear, so I decided to conquer my fear of heights by flying on a circus trapeze.
I stood there at the bottom of the rig, analyzing every detail of how this whole thing could go wrong. The ladder could break. The net could be poorly attached to the bars and I could fall to my death. The person catching me could drop me, sending me head-first into a tree (I have flown from a trampoline head-first into a tree so this one wasn’t so irrational). Just thinking about the experience is making my palms sweat. I climbed 32 feet up this wobbly ladder onto a platform, and as I held the bar, ready to jump off the ledge, I realized I have to have faith in order to jump. Faith that everyone who put the rig together did it properly…. faith that my trapeze partner will catch me. Then I looked down and saw the net. Funny how life works.
I flew through the air and when I landed safely in the net, I exhaled and thought of all the agony I put myself through by listening to my fear.
What fears am I listening to in my life? I wanted to share my passion for yoga but I was afraid I wasn’t good enough to be a teacher. When I got home from the trapeze experience, I signed up for a yoga teacher training program. If I had not acknowledged my fear, I never would have had the faith in myself to sign up for the training.
Faith is mysterious and sometimes ellusive. Faith is knowing there is a net. Faith is knowing we are exactly where we need to be.
Are you ready to jump?