It took me a while to write this post. I’ve been thinking about this topic for awhile trying to figure out how to delve into it. Today I came to the realization that this post is likely to be messy, it’s just too big a topic to try to explore in such a small space. I’m okay with it being a little messy and convoluted though, I just want to get it out. It can be focused and refined more in future posts, possibly on my new website (side note I’m going to be building a new website focused on spiritual information and the integration of different perspectives to create a new understanding of life. It is going to be called Reality Revision, once it is up I will probably have this site link to it directly, but I’ll let you know).
There are so many different aspects of faith and definitions for it that thinking about how to pair it down here has been encouraging me to procrastinate. In truth I think that faith like most great but abstract concepts is not something that will ever be defined or described adequately. It will always bleed over into other terms like trust, confidence, love, hope, and understanding. It’s just too big and too abstract to confine into a definition and like most big, abstract things—the only way to really get it is to experience it and then experience it again and again in different forms. Even then what you experience in one moment will likely fade into a glimmer which will seem elusive even as far as memories go.
That’s how these things usually are though, especially at first. They appear and in one moment what can seem concrete and clear in the next becomes just a flicker and then the memory of glimmer. It is often an experience like dreaming where the scene around you feels real enough for you to scream or cry then fades and becomes less than a shadow of a thing that your brain can barely hang on to.
There are many aspects of faith but not an exact way to define what faith is— words provide many ways to get close to it but never really grasp it. The best way that I could think of describing it today was to say that faith is seeing the overlay of something and believing that the overlay is as real if not more real than the physical reality that it covers. Of course, that definition only makes any sense if you know what I mean when I say “overlay” and I realize that not everyone experiences reality in a series of overlays the way I do, so perhaps the definition is mostly useless.
I’ll share my experience with reality and maybe you’ll understand and relate to it, but if not at least we might have a shared definition of what is being described. My experience with life has been that there a multiple layers to reality that take place simultaneously. It is similar to the way a sentence can have both a stated and implied meaning. Sometimes the stated and implied meaning are the same and the sentence is easy to understand, but sometimes they contradict each other and you have to decide which one to put more trust in.
When I go through life I see that there is physical reality which most other people can also see. I can see that I am living in a certain location for example, that I am taking certain actions (like writing this post) or hanging out with certain people. This physical reality is what most people accept as THE reality because it is easy to share and explore and things appear very clearly here. This might be the same as stated meaning in a dialogue. However, this physical reality also appears to me as being over-layed by other types of information. They look like layers or filters. I remember being frustrated when I first tried to explain these layers when I was around nine and then again around twelve before I accepted that they were hallucinations and I was sick because I couldn’t help but see them. These layers show things in abstract ways, they often use the same language and imagery as dreams and are much more subjective in interpretation. In these layers I come into contact with demons and angels, with loved ones who have passed away, past and future pieces of myself, and disowned fragments of people who are still living in the current physical reality unaware that they have broken pieces off of themselves and left them to wander through these overlays.
When I was twelve the things I experienced in these overlays terrified me. People were fragmenting around me and dark entities were coming to me and begging for shelter, only to turn on me the next moment and bring gusts of anguish and pain that I didn’t know how to describe. I tried for a really long time to get rid of the overlays, but the closest I could come was to numb everything in me so that life became dull and empty. So instead I learned to accept that even if no one else can see them they exist for me and as I accepted that fact and started to learn how to navigate a world filled with overlays instead of trying to escape it my entire experience of reality began to change. I changed and I saw that the overlays were not bad, I stopped thinking of them as a sickness and started listening to the information I was provided from them.
I learned how to interact with the overlays as a different but just as real piece of reality, one that went beyond the parameters of the physical reality I was taught was the only real thing. There is information that comes from these overlays which has a lot of wisdom, influence, and understanding to describe the physical reality. The more I followed what I learned from the overlays the more I came to understand that the bigness of existence, and life started to make sense in a different way.
For me these overlays are the spiritual realm of existence where you can understand the essence of what people call God. It is a perspective that looks at life and sees more than just the past and current physical reality, but the connection between many points and processes. This realm provides so much direction and understanding and in the moments when I see it clearly and trust what I see I know that we are being held by something so great and benevolent and beautiful and I know who I am and what steps to take in such a solid, concrete way that I take them without even though the minute I am back to looking from the perspective that predominantly trusts the physical reality I see that what I am doing is terrifying and risky.
For the longest time these two realities competed and I always thought that the only way to exist was to either cut out the overlay or pretend like I didn’t see it, but as I’ve learned to do the opposite—to trust the information I get from that realm as something as real and valid as the sensory information provided from the physical realm then I have started to see things change and during the moments when the two realms seem to contradict each other and I’ve chosen to trust the information from the spiritual more than the physical I have had a sense—even if only fleeting—of what faith actually is.
I don’t want to leave this post without a disclaimer, learning to interpret information from the spiritual realm takes time. It isn’t the same as the physical realm and often responding to it as something literal can bring about disappointment and pain. If this is something you are working on, I recommend prayer to have a positive spirit guide or angel help with interpretation of the spiritual realm. I am only still learning to trust my own intuition and interpret the experiences I’ve had in these overlaying parts of reality, but what I’ve learned so far is that doing so is extremely powerful and the consequences can be life changing--- which makes it even more important that if it is something you are wanting to learn more about that you take your time, go at a pace that you feel ready for, and take small steps. I am going on a little bit of a tangent here because I want to stress the importance of how real the consequences of tapping into the information from the overlay can be, and to say that if it is a new thing for you do not be afraid to ask for help from someone with more experience. I don’t have an infrastructure written yet about how to work with that realm, and there are many things I am still learning, but I this post is an overview of the idea of faith as the tapping into a realm of reality beyond the physical. It is an understanding that there is much more than the day to day reality that we tend to live in and a trusting in the information coming out of that reality instead of dismissing it—which is what we are often taught to do.
Faith in this context is believing in a reality that goes beyond the five sense and a trusting of that reality as equal to that which we understand through our five senses. It is not that you have to disregard everything that you experience in physical reality—physical reality is still reality too. It is just an understanding that there is also more than this reality and that when you incorporate information from more than one layer you have a greater understanding of the dynamics of life which changes how you negotiate and interpret your own experience. Faith can and often does incorporate taking certain actions based on the information provided beyond the five senses, but it starts with non-action. It starts with not acting on the impulse to dismiss the information that you can pick up from the overlays—with not dismissing things like hunches, timing, and imagination. By not immediately pushing thoughts and feelings that open you up to more than the physical reality before you, you open yourself up to a faith—an intangible expression that there is something else and acknowledgement of how little our knowledge is which opens you to learn more than you might have expected.
It’s a different way of not just thinking about life but experiencing it which puts strength into different concepts than those found only in physical reality. This experience of faith opens doors and makes impossibilities possible because it shows routes to things that cannot be found by looking only at the physical world and explores the system of relationships beyond what our senses perceive. It hints at things like purpose and fulfillment which cannot be found in the physical world alone. It is powerful and it life-changing, and for that reason it should be handled with care.
In all honesty, though, we all have faith and utilize it whether we realize it or not. Even if we choose to make decision in life based solely on physical consequences, we are showing that our faith is in the physical realm. In this sense faith is a description of what information we trust to guide our experiences and decisions as we move through life. Some of use will trust our physical senses, some of us will trust other people, some of us will trust our own instincts—realistically all of us will likely trust all these things to some degree. Every breath, every action and decision is an act of faith, but faith in the way it is used in spiritual/ religious context is largely trusting in the less tangible sources of information. Faith for me is trusting the information provided to me by the overlays, for someone else it could be trusting in the voice of God, the inner hunches, or a principle like the goodness of humanity. Reality is an illusive creature and yet we navigate it every day with hundreds of decisions based on something—those acts of negotiation are faith, the something upon which they are based is what you are placing your faith in.