Two ideas we don’t often think of together are “freedom” and “faith.”
And yet, if you read what some of the great sages have to say about freedom, they often bring in the idea of faith as its integral partner. We cannot be free when life doesn’t make sense to us; when it doesn’t seem to have any meaning beyond what our own minds tell us; when the world feels like an unfriendly place. And that’s where faith comes in.
It is our faith in lasting, higher principles that brings us freedom from fear, freedom from emptiness, freedom from being caught up in pettiness and discontent — and freedom to become our best selves because we know we can rely on the ultimate goodness of life.
Here is a sampling of quotes from our OneJourney website that express this idea over thousands of years and from around the world:
Households, cities, countries, and nations have enjoyed great happiness when a single individual has taken heed of the Good and Beautiful. Such men not only liberate themselves; they fill those they meet with a free mind. — Philo of Alexandria (circa 20 B.C.E. – 50 C.E.)
The Wise One instills the truth in whoever comes to Him yearning for freedom, who follows the true path, calming the tumult of his mind and bringing restfulness. — Shankara (circa 700)
These dealings of God in your life lead you to true freedom. This freedom, however, does not lead you into irresponsibility. You will still fulfill your required duties. This freedom will bring you to doing the things that God desires of you. After all, you have discovered you are in God. — Jeanne Guyon (1648 – 1717)
True piety has in it nothing weak, nothing sad, nothing constrained. It enlarges the heart. It is simple, free, and attractive. — Francois Fenelon (1651 – 1715)
All belief that does not make us more happy, more free, more loving, more active, more calm, is, I fear, a mistaken and superstitious belief. — Johann Caspar Lavater (1741 – 1801)
I find that last quote by Lavatar especially interesting. He is saying that if our faith does not bring us more freedom, it is not true faith at all, but is nothing more than a superstition. What a wonderful gauge for the truth of the tenets on which we base our lives. If they fill us with pain and fear, constrict our view of the world, and limit our understanding and compassion for other human beings, they are false. We know it because they do not offer the proper support that genuine faith provides.
More Insight on the Connection Between Freedom and Faith From a Modern-Day Master
OneJourney Founder Guy Finley gives us further insight into freedom and faith:
Our reluctance to throw ourselves into life with all that we are — to abandon ourselves, come what may — is born of the fear we may not be enough to succeed. But the truth is that within us dwells more than we take ourselves to be, and only by leaping do we learn of unseen wings that open only in mid-air. — Guy Finley (1949)
This quote never fails to fill me with new encouragement. We don’t feel free to enter life and do what our hearts call us to do because we’re afraid of failure. We have no faith that things will turn out for our true benefit. Guy says we cannot know the outcome in advance. But we can leap anyway. And if we do we will discover new sources of help that only arrive when we have taken our own “leap of faith.” We gain faith by doing.
We have so many questions about faith. What is faith? How can it be deepened and made perfect? And how can we call on faith in our most difficult moments to help us walk through that darkness and find our way back into the Light?
In the New Testament we find, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” It’s fairly obvious we’re looking at a metaphor here; one that alludes to the idea of being granted a new kind of power over conditions that usually have power over us!
For instance, how many times do we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed by a flood of negative reactions, or feeling empty and dry as dust inside? How do we call on faith in moments like these to help us keep our head held high?
And perhaps most important of all to the struggling aspirant: how do we awaken and walk through the difficult moments of life with this order of spiritual grace, especially when — if we’re honest about it — we know so little about it!
Guy speaks on subjects such as the transformative power of freedom and faith in his ongoing livestreamed talks every Wednesday at 7:00 PM Pacific and every Sunday at 9:30 AM Pacific. Plan to participate online in these free events, and then join in the lively Q&A session that follows each talk. Go ahead and pre-register now at www.guyfinley.org/freeclass and you will be sent a reminder email with the link to join right before the talk.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project
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