December 23rd, 2015 4:49pm
We often look to religious holidays to restore our faith. And how about after you've been blown away by an inspirational sermon, or even felt indestructible after listening to a motivational speaker? Maybe you went to a doctor who motivated you while you were in the office - restored your faith in yourself and your capabilities. But what happens next, as the seconds, minutes, days, months pass? If you had your finger on the pulse of your faith, how does it wax and wane? Is it up one minute and down the next? What are some of the events or thoughts that seem to elevate it or depress it?
Our five senses represent our personal GPS – grounding us on the earth, in the physical realm. Faith is the anathema to our sensibility; after all, it means our belief in something that our senses really cannot fully process. And here in lies the struggle: our senses are so practical, so permanent, so convincing that anything that questions their ability to ground us must be fragile. Indeed, faith fits that bill. The enemy wants you to believe that all you can see is all that there is. Some have called this enemy the Devil, I observe that it is our Automatic Brain the engine behind our primitive nature.
When you are in your place of worship, let’s say in church on Christmas, you likely will feel some type of sensation that is difficult to explain. Maybe you will feel empowerment from something the Priest or Minister is saying. Or maybe, it’s the surrounding humanity that empowers you. Whatever it is, I bet your faith becomes restored and you will resurrect the belief that everything in your life will be all right.
However, drifting you back down from that high will be the reality of your senses as you enter back into the “real” world. Maybe it will be your children arguing, or the car that cuts you off on your way home, or the bills waiting for you on the kitchen table. The slightest event can send off a chain reaction of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that quickly bury even the deepest faith.
Since our “real” world is what we sense as familiar, comfortable, and what is most known to us, it is what our brain—our automatic brain—will fight and flee to keep us in. In other words, our brain will fight and flee faith…and that is why it is so fragile.
So how do we reprogram our brain to make faith more durable? It means making faith a habit, and that takes daily practice. Here are six suggestions:
1. Read my fb.com/CoachMD page daily
Here, I post daily quotes and ideas to bolster your faith. Most of my quotes, as my writing, come from my personal observations and therefore from a place of sincerity.
2. Maintain a Daily Magic journal
Einstein once said, “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Almost daily, all of us experience certain instances that the common laws of logic, probability, or even physics don’t explain. Recognizing these daily coincidences is an extremely vital component of faith restoration.
3. Pray or meditate daily
One of my favorite sayings is “When we pray, we talk to God. When we meditate, God talks to us.” In our quietest moments, we always have someone to talk to. And if we listen close enough we can hear the response back. This voice back is more of a feeling deep inside or deeply grounded thoughts. Don’t fear it, because we all are capable of hearing it and it neutralizes the enemy.
4. Look for any opportunity to help someone else
Even if you are struggling with faith, helping another person can help restore your faith in the connection that we all share. You may not be in a “helping profession” as I am fortunate to be in, but it does not matter. It may be simply holding a door open for someone, lending a helping hand to someone who may be struggling to walk, or simply flashing a smile upon a stranger and wishing them a good day.
5. Listen to Music
Music is a gift from a higher place. It is explained by the very logic of mathematics and physics, yet it evokes emotions that physical laws cannot explain. Tune into music and avoid the news or talk radio, which can quickly deplete your recovering faith.
6. Breathe through tough circumstances
Stress causes great physical anguish, which literally takes our breath away. Our true enemy is our primitive nature run by our Automatic Brain, essentially our animal brain. This brain causes us to fight or flee at even the smallest possibility of danger, threat, or vulnerability. It causes our muscles to tighten and breath to become short. When you take control of your breathing, it will begin to send a different sort of message, “I got this, my faith has this, and everything will be just fine.”
Maintaining faith in ourselves, in God, need not be a struggle. Look forward to each day that you will work to reaffirm the habit of faith. Once faith becomes your new normal, your brain will no longer fight and flee it allowing your higher mind to bring you to the gateway of your Divine nature, to your soul.
© Dr. Charles F. Glassman, CoachMD