This week I worked up the courage to try again to meditate on my new New Year’s intention, to “have faith.”
As I prepared to do this, I remembered my first lesson about faith from last week.
So I went right away to the intersection of resistance (mind) and “because I said so” (heart), eagerly expecting…..something.
What I got instead was worry.
What if faith isn’t really there after all?
What if I can’t find my way back to those exact coordinates?
What if faith ends up being totally different than I expected it to be, and I don’t like it, and I decide I don’t want any after all….?
Needless to say, my mind had come along with me with equal eagerness – and plenty of worries.
And in that moment, it hit me. My mind worries a LOT.
I mean, A LOT.
It is both an active and an expert worrier, so for it, suddenly “having faith” is akin to giving up both its best skill and most favorite hobby cold turkey.
Not gonna happen.
Clearly, I was going to need to find my mind a new interim hobby, and ideally something that felt a little more like having faith and a little less like worrying – and something with enough substance to keep it busy all day long.
At the moment as I type, I’m trying to puzzle out what that new hobby might be.
Since I’m not precisely certain yet how to have faith, all I have to go on are certain theories.
For instance, it seems logical to assume that faith is like an antidote to fear, which is what creates all those worries.
But what I don’t know – what I can hardly even begin to theorize about – is what kind of activity comes with having faith.
I’m thinking that maybe the chief activity is praying.
If this is correct, the act of praying might just keep my mind occupied quite well as we wait for the faith to take root. But I still need to make sure the prayer isn’t just more worrying in disguise.
It would probably also be best if the prayer is short and repetitive – easy to remember and simple to repeat (so my mind doesn’t get interrupted, lose its place, get frustrated and sneak right back to worrying instead).
I like the prayer that Anne Lamott uses in one of my favorites of her many books, “Help, Thanks, Wow: the three essential prayers.”
So for now – at least until anything else comes to mind – I think I will start there.
Today’s Takeaway: Do you have any techniques you use to keep your mind occupied so it doesn’t worry, worry, worry? Maybe having faith is something that comes naturally to you (if so, AWESOME). But if you are like me and it doesn’t come naturally at all, and you have successfully made or are successfully making the transition from worrying to having faith, I’d love to hear your insights and ideas!!
Worried man photo available from Shutterstock