What more is there to say? But then let us suppose that the ‘high wire’ artist singles me out from other bystanders with an invitation to “wheel me across” the same ravine “in (his) wheelbarrow”. Ah! That is different. As different as is the difference between belief, which of itself is passive (other, that is, than being an activity of the mind) and a faith which entails active commitment and trust.)
Nor are terms such as belief and faith – in this or any other sense – possessors of some vague or esoteric quality and thus the privileged possession of a few highly favoured initiates. Rather is it, as we have already witnessed, the basis for everyday activity, as is evident in our ready acceptance of trust in, for example, the postman, the bus driver (and indeed, the driving skills of every other driver using the road) as well as the TV newscaster, among ‘a hundred and one’ different but essential elements of input about personal and social daily functioning, cohesion and support.
Thus we witness that faith, as a key aspect of the spiritual, is – in terms of what it contribute to the life and wellbeing of man – by no means remote or even occasional. Rather is it, in certain key elements of our overall functioning, all-inclusive and daily impinging upon and influencing our interests and activities in very much the same way as do the basic senses regarding the body. We say, do we not, that we sensed that someone else was in the house; that we were being watched; or that “Our ears were burning”?· Not with the basic senses we don’t! But with what if not at least a ‘distant’ relative’ of faith?
Also, herein is evidence of yet another facet of its enriching influence on both our physical as well as our spiritual awarenesses; as, for example, when we perceive and appreciate the delicate form and perfume of – say – a tiny flower or the indescribable majesty, in terms of tone and colour, of a glorious sunset; or listen to and appreciate the power and majesty of the concluding bars of Mahler’s Symphony No.2. Each communicates with our innermost selves in a wholly unique but effective way, although it seems that such awarenesses and perceptions do not require to be even so much as consciously absorbed. Indeed, it seems that much of what impacts upon and affects our quality of life in quite major ways, is equally likely to be subliminal or unconscious in the manner in which we both receive and come to value it. Thus the spiritual corollary of all such awarenesses and appreciations, at whatever level, is the constant flow of thoughts, ideas, feelings, i.e. motivations, inspirations, amounting to – in a word – self-confidence.
On the other hand, that same contribution of self-confidence and esteem can diminish, deteriorate and fall away (which is not uncommonly what happens when – say – redundancy strikes or one is assailed by failing health or one loses a loved one by death). And because we live in a world where such and more adverse changes can and do afflict us, we need so much more than our tangible and (in basic ways) perceptible world, i.e. the physical world of sense perception, can provide.
Devoid at such times (or at any time) of our spiritual inheritance, or to put it another way, relinquishing that sense of contact, of belonging and of ultimate purpose, can only expose us to yet further frustration, fear and inner conflict. And where we are consumed by fear, doubt and bitterness, we can only attract, i.e. connect to and reflect similar negative sentiments. But spirituality is a birth right which can raise us to undreamt of heights of inner calm yet unfathomable power, as witnessed in such lives as Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu and countless other “unsung heroes” of this and every age.