In the English language Belief and Faith have largely come to mean the same thing.
However, the difference between the two is rather nuanced and the simplification, in the name of efficiency and speed of use, as usual, has led us astray and muddied the distinct and profound difference between the two terms, which paradoxically are in fact opposites.
Belief is the insistence that the truth is what one would wish it to be.
Believers open their mind to the truth, on the condition that it fits in with their preconceived thoughts and wishes – think about it, when was the last time you acknowledged that a strongly held belief was no longer true?
We believe because it makes us feel secure.
It gives our lives the perception of value and meaning.
It is fixed.
It makes little room for truths that conflict with the things we believe and hold sacred.
We can only believe what we have already known – preconceived and imagined.
Faith, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.
Faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be.
People with faith have no preconceptions.
They plunge into the unknown.
They let go.
We believe because it comes naturally.
It’s cultivated by the system at large.
A cultivated yearning to always desire.
A yearning to focus on the future and the past – ignoring the present.
A desire to grasp at any sense of meaning we can find in our lives and to hold on to it and keep it for one’s own.
We have been fooled into believing.
The belief that if we earned a few more dollars we would be a bit happier.
The belief that if we went to a slightly more prestigious college we could be a bit more successful.
The belief that we need to consume more and always.
The belief that life is something to be taken by the horns and made the most of.
However, you can’t grasp onto life.
It simply isn’t possible.
Just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket.
If you try to capture running water in a bucket, you will always be disappointed.
Water does not run in a bucket.
To have running water you must let go of it.
The same is true of life.
To have faith is to let go – to discover the ultimate reality of life.
We enter this world as babies – open, curious, a thirst for figuring out how the world works and a desire to understand reality.
However, this phase, for most of us, is brief.
We quickly abandon faith, openness to reality and instead, let our minds harden into doctrine.
Set in our ways, we walk around with a construct of how the world works and naively convincing ourselves that we know what is fact and what is fiction.
The truth is that we don’t know.
Faith is being comfortable with not knowing.
For you cannot see the sky through a window by merely painting the window blue.
To believe is to have unfaith, as faith is not clinging – it is letting go.