Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

The “Sweet Spot” of Faith-ing

Originally posted on November 22, 2012

It turns out that we are far from able to create our living completely. Humanity is as yet quite immature and in need of help from those angels (for want of a better word to call “them”)—forces, energy fields, guardian spirits, agents of the Great Creative Source, whatever—that are mysterious and yet incredibly capable. Those who have lived long enough and reflected on their experiences will be struck by the number of occasions in which “good luck” or “synchronicity” has played an important part in their fates.

My hope is that there may be something useful here for you, this “belief” or mythic way of expressing a sense that has been increasingly impress-ing itself on my consciousness—not without resistance —over the course of two decades: When things are “meant” to happen, they do. (Well, in retrospect, though I did not at all feel this way about it, this principle applies to my whole life—eight and a half decades!)

It’s not that simple, though: We participate in this as a co-creative process; our deeper beliefs, expectations, attitudes, also form this reality. (I know, this is a lot of new age positive thinking stuff, but there’s an old Christian hymn that has the lines, “I am persuaded….”  Innumerable contemporary witnesses to something like this approach—in books and such—have been written that support this emerging idea that we co-create our reality. It’s a long haul, going against the hubris of a couple of centuries—far from the mere superstitious surrender of will to those who presumed to speak for the self-styled official interpreters of the old-style father-god, yet finding the opposite, mere atheism, shallow. More is going on in the cosmos than either extreme of God does it all or God does nothing. This is sort of in-between.

I’ve found that if you step up to the plate 33%, do 1/3 of the work, really do it, the angels or helping forces will meet you. They want to help with your goals. If you do 25% or less, it’s too flabby, they can’t reach you; if you do 40% or more, you’re too over-controlling, and again they can’t reach you. Too much flack. The game is to give it your all while at the same time knowing that you need to surrender—at the right moment—and expecting and asking in your heart for help. Now puny humans who in their immaturity tend to think of all or nothing, control or let go, have difficulty realizing that it’s a mix, a balance. The game is to hit that “sweet spot” of optimal responsibility mixed with the right kind of surrender. In this sense, “faith” is a full willingness mixed with a spirit of humility. I find it useful to imagine angels who really love you and want to help you get what you want. They do have some bias towards the Tao, towards what’s meant to be. They can think a thousand times faster and in more clever and complex ways, so arranging for those events we call “coincidences” is no sweat for them. Knowing they work this way is good, but beware the temptation to expect them to do much before you’ve done what truly needs to be done.

What needs to be done includes really planning out what you want, identifying elements specifically, and going to work while in a way taking on full responsibility.  The balance is tricky in faith-ing, because if you don’t do your part fully, “they” can’t help. It’s not that they withhold because you’re naughty—it’s not a matter of approval or punishment. They really can’t help, can’t reach you, until you’ve pretty much done what you need to do.

When is it over-control? When you expect no help and flip over into worry, into doubt, into feeling hurried and annoyed by others who aren’t pulling their weight, when you are a bit stubbornly attached to your presuppositions that it has to be this way or else. We’ve all met such bull-headed-ness in others and have felt frustrated that we can’t get through to them. Life is more of a give and take, and delusions of righteousness don’t help things. But there is a difference between optimal confidence, good faith, and bull-headed-ness; yet I can’t put it into words. May it suffice to know that one should attend to this discrimination.

A similar lack of discrimination on the lax side can be seductive. We want to regress towards child-like-ness and want to avoid taking charge. We’re lazy and we don’t want to admit it, disguising it as phony faith. But really it’s laziness. This is tricky, because I’m affirming not no-faith, but full surrender-faith, asking for help, giving it over, taking refuge, while at the same time suggesting full engagement, stepping up to the plate, doing what you can. It’s a balance!

I confess that I am not great at this and sometimes get overly lax, and on occasion perhaps over-controlling. So I’m workin’ on it. But I’m pretty sure this is the way the game is played.

Metaphysically, this is a world-view change! I was raised in a materialistic age and if humanity doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. But I’ve become a bit despairing of the cumulative follies of my species and my contemplations of the many progressions we’ve made “by the skin of our teeth” has convinced me that there are movements in the cosmos that are working to help humanity evolve. I don’t guarantee that they’ll succeed, because folly can be intense and compound on itself, and if often does. Folly can be entrenched with doctrine and self-righteousness and if all else fails—and this threshold is lowered by easily available, easy-to-use, familiar, cheap weapons—violence. Of course, that only makes things worse, setting up eddies of revenge and all sorts of other bad karma. But that’s the world we’ve been living in so it’s not easy to proclaim this new understanding of metaphysics—of how it all works beyond our seemingly highly-sophisticated knowledge of physics.  But folks don’t get much support in recognizing that excessive cleverness can be misleading.

That has hampered philosophy in the last two hundred years: people have thought that we can figure it out—figure it ALL out. Ha ha haaa! Nope, no way.  It is and will remain mysterious and  truly, truly beyond us. But try telling a philosopher that! They’ll feel that you’re saying, “Forget it and let yourself go into flaccid, lax, loose, nothing-ish-ness. But that is not what we’re saying: We’re saying: Yes! Think! Think hard, think critically! 94% of human thought is illusion, folly! Most of that is self-destructive, so we need some good philosophy, we need better philosophy. Oops, not that much, that’s too much philosophy!

The idea that there can be too much philosophy, too much of an attempt to coordinate everything according to the rules of logic—this seems unreasonable. If some is good, more is better, right? That’s the point, though. There’s such a thing as too much. There’s the idea that too much logic and clear thinking can squeeze the humor, love, mercy, sweet aesthetics, human sensitivity, music, juice, and the like out of whatever is being though about.

Of course that goes against the rules of philosophy. I mean, isn’t philosophy harmless and good? But the Nazis thought that the good of the state, the collective, was the highest good. And indeed, most evil comes from the human assumption that they can know what is the highest good for everyone, not just what seems to work for them. Also, there’s this tendency towards not recognizing that idealizing a single “highest good” is a form of idolatry. What if there are lots of high goods for lots of folks and we need to let go of our over-controlling-ness about all this? In effect, I’m saying that there’s danger also in too much philosophy!

What then? An un-remitting obligation to be both responsible and, more importantly, to be kind. The faith slips in that juncture, a relaxed letting go. The kindness is a clue: Where in the process do you seem to be putting other people out, pushing them beyond their comfort levels? When are you doing this to yourself? It’s hard to express the idea of working out pretty well without yet getting to the point of acute discomfort. It is not “no pain, no gain.” But neither is it easy. That in-between point of optimal responsibility tempered by kindness.

That’s it for today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *