Dropping Belief and Finding Faith – Tao is ‘The Way’
I recently wrote about the power of non attachment to desire and finding the hidden secret of Faith. Shortly after writing these posts, I discovered a talk by Alan Watts on the difference between Faith and Belief. In my post on faith, I included a quote from Christian D Larson on how Faith and Belief were different in the same way light and darkness are. I felt it was important to touch on this subject again today, this time around incorporating a Taoist view on the subject.
Faith and Belief are often seen as highly similar concepts, but as Alan Watts also explains, they are complete opposites. Belief is the habit of seeking to find something outside of ourselves to cling to and faith is the ability to trust in our inner self and to feel that everything will naturally work out for the best. We don’t need to fight for survival, but instead we must aim to let go of all control and force. Faith is the power of letting go, becoming detached from desire and surrendering!
Faith as Detachment from Desires
If we have faith, we naturally accept the desires we have and we don’t feel the need to desperately cling to desires or force them to happen. This way of being means we don’t create resistance or blockages on our paths. Desire is not bad or wrong, attachment to desire is the issue we must learn to overcome.
‘Without faltering, fully choose to do what you must do. This is to live without forcing, to overcome without conquering. Things that gain a place by force will flourish for a time but then fade away.’ – Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
Any form of desire that involves attachment is a form of applying force to the situation. Endlessly saying ‘I want! and ‘I need!’ is also a form of force. Bear this in mind, the next time you tell your friends about how you desperately want something to happen and are highly frustrated that you haven’t got it yet. You are applying mental force instead of going with the flow. By applying force you are thereby, creating resistance and potentially blocking yourself from getting the very thing you want. Without realising it, you have become your own worst enemy and have ruined your own chances of achieving what you wish to achieve.
Alan Watts on the difference between Faith and Belief
‘And the attitude of Faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on.’ – Alan Watts
Faith is letting go and finding freedom, Belief is to cling to facts and to stay attached. Faith is the act of letting go of beliefs and trusting the inner self to provide us with the truth. Many of us are heavily attached to all sorts of beliefs about life, many of these beliefs hinder us and don’t help us. We might think we know it all? But do we really know anything? Many of the beliefs we have about life were taught to us by other people and are not even our own beliefs. Much of what we believe to be true, may in reality be completely false.
Finding faith is letting go of these belief systems and allowing ourselves to simply trust in the process of life. If we cling to belief, we cling to the need for evidence and proof in the external world. Belief is baggage and weighs us down. We are holding on to life’s baggage when we cling to belief. If we find faith and learn to simply trust again, we become free of the baggage that is weighing us down.
‘But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.‘ – Alan Watts
Let go of the need to have proof and evidence and simply become open to finding the truth, whatever the truth may be. Stop seeking the truth and allow the truth to be shown to you. Understand that you have a greater power within yourself, that will lead you to all of the answers you seek and stop trying to control the world around you. We must trust that the truth will be revealed in due course. To have faith is to be open to all possibilities, to have belief is to remain closed to all possibilites. Once we find faith, we surrender to life and allow life to happen. If we hold strong belief systems, we try to control life and feel life should conform to what we believe about life.
‘To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.’ – Alan Watts
This quote from Watts emphasises how faith is to remain detached to desire and outcomes. When you swim through water you trust that you will stay afloat without grabbing hold of the water, you don’t grab hold of the water and if you did try to do that you would simply sink and drown. We must view life in a similar fashion. Simply relax and float on the water! Stop trying to find belief systems to hold on too in your search for contentment. Learn to go with the flow and view life like swimming. Let go of attachment to your desires and simply have faith that they will come to pass.
“Sometimes you have to surrender and dance with life, play with the universe” – Alan Watts
Again, we must surrender the need for control. Let go of control and stop being moved from side to side by the forces of life. Simply have faith and dance with life, do not fight life but learn to dance with life. You can only dance in a relaxed state, you can’t dance in a state of tension and restraint. Learn to see life simply as a game. Do not take this experience overly seriously or see something profoundly deep in every event. This is a common trap we can fall into during our lives, we start taking life too seriously and feel the need to control all of the events of our life. We forget the ability to relax and let go!
Taoism and how Surrender brings Perfection
Alan Watts was a big follower of Taoist teachings. I recently read the Tao Te Ching which is the Taoist equivalent of the Holy bible, which includes the teachings of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. The basic premise of all Taoist philosophy is having faith, surrendering to nature and letting go of our belief systems, to acquire faith we discover the power of our inner senses and understand the need to connect with our inner self. Taoism also focuses on the concept that we must work with nature and not against it. I highly recommend this gem of a book to all seeking minds.
Taoism is the true nature of finding faith in our inner self and letting go of the need for external control. The true definition of Taoism is to find the way to liberation and freedom, shedding any hardened belief systems we have acquired. By shedding our external beliefs, we begin to discover our true individuality as opposed to being the person that society has told us we should be. Tao means to find ‘The Way’.
‘Have Faith, Follow your own shining, Be Aware of your own awareness, On the Darkest nights you will not stumble, On the Brightest days you will not blink’ – Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
Have Faith and it will carry you through the good times and the bad times, keeping you level headed and at peace throughout any adversity. Follow the inner self, your subconscious mind and discover the light within yourself. Be aware of your inner self, become aware of your own awareness. Becoming aware of your thoughts is your way of connecting with your inner self. You can only become aware, once you connect with the inner self and simply stand back and observe the thoughts that you experience in the conscious mind.
‘”Surrender brings perfection”. The crooked become straight, The empty become full. The worn become new, Have little and gain much, Have much and be confused.’ – Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
This signifies the power of dropping all belief systems and simply letting go and surrendering to life. Surrender is the simplest way of finding perfection. ‘The crooked become straight’ signifies the finding of ‘The Way’, the path of surrender to nature. ‘The empty become full’ signifies the removal of feelings such as lack and loneliness. ‘The worn become new’ signifies the feeling of being reborn and feeling like a new person once you surrender. ‘Have little and gain much’ signifies the power of having less knowledge and surrendering your beliefs. Your thinking and vision becomes clear again once you have dropped your belief systems, whereas before you were merely living in a high state of confusion.
In Conclusion.. Faith is simply Letting Go
This is the true nature of having faith. I have used many terms today such as surrendering, letting go, detachment, but they are all pretty much conveying the same message. The minute we simply learn to let go, surrender or detach, we begin to trust and have faith. Once we let go, we begin to find ourselves again, we find a form of peace again. We learn the art of simply trusting and releasing any baggage we are carrying. When we have found faith and trust again, we have found ‘The Way’ again!