Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The gift of doubt (part 2)

It was hard for me to leave the post from Jan 10 up on the blog. It was raw when I wrote it and then I felt a little exposed afterward. But it's important to me to be as authentic as seems wise and so I managed my anxiety about it and left it alone.

I'm aware that the best answer to my dilemma about suffering is mystery. Not mystery as in "I dunno, it's a mystery" but the recognition that the deepest questions are never answered with answers but with even deeper questions and with paradox and with faith.

I'm good with that. I gave up a long time ago having to figure out the universe (as long as I can control it, I'm okay.) But it makes it hard to trust. That's where the struggle is. I read this today on another blog: "There are two sorts of belief. One is the type you act on and the other is the type you use to feel good about your place in the universe." Isn't that great?

Obviously, I want the type you act on. But it's hard to take risks in a universe that seems so arbitrary and chancy. So much of what passes for faith feels like superstition to me. But on the other hand, the kind of faith you don't act on isn't really faith, is it? I still believe that faith that doesn't work in suffering doesn't work. And plenty of people seem to have a faith that does work in suffering. Having never really suffered, I pray for the latter to show up when I need it. I guess that's faith.


kg said...

I like to think of myself as a pretty articulate person--at least, I get paid because I'm s'posed to be. I wonder if few people give written responses to your blogs because they, like me, are awed by the depth, the rawness, the delight, the struggle, the longing, and the triumph of what you see and describe so well.

I remember giggling as a teenager when I heard that in some cultures, the best compliment one could pay your dinner host was to burp loudly at the end of the meal. As a regular reader of your blog, perhaps in this case, the best response to such a feast is to savor the meal in appreciative and profound silence.

Electric Monk said...

Thank you so much for your honesty! There's not much scarier than blind faith; those who would accept what they are told without putting any rational thought or effort into it. But you're right - asking these sorts of questions can certainly make things harder.