Continued from June Newsletter
Sometimes in yoga we use another word instead of faith; we say devotion, love. Why does love generate faith? This is the question. As you know when you love a person, during the time of love, there is also faith. If you have, let's say, a teacher and if you have love and devotion toward the teacher, together with the love and devotion there will be very powerful faith. When this faith is there the other person has a great capacity to help us because of our faith. We have heard about the placebo effect. They give you a bottle of real medicine and you take it and it can cure disease. Then they give you a bottle that only contains water but they tell you that in that bottle there is medicine and that medicine will cure a certain disease. Experiments done regarding the placebo effect show that sometimes water that has no medicine in it has the capacity to cure disease. Just because you believe in it, your disease is cured.
The placebo effect is telling us about the power of faith. When we have faith in something, even if objectively that something does not have the capacity to cure disease, but because we have faith in it, the faith itself will cure the disease. The whole issue about the placebo effect, in fact, is a teaching about the power of faith, which in fact is one of the strongest types of medicine. There are many good things that simply will not work without faith and with faith they will work. Faith is a secret ingredient which empowers things that are otherwise ineffective.
These are three methods to remove doubt: through reason, which requires training; or through direct experience, which requires the practice of meditation; or through faith, which requires love and devotion which is directed toward a spiritual teacher or spiritual friend or spiritual brother or sister or another human being. That faith is necessary. Without that faith, the other human being will not be able to help us to remove the doubt. It will be very difficult.
Then of course you may ask: How can I develop faith? You develop faith by learning to trust others. We have become very suspicious due to the fact that we have experienced lots of pain in the past in relation to other people who betrayed our trust so we lost trust. Because we lost trust something very precious which is called faith was also lost or weakened. We lost a treasure due to the fact that we lost trust. People who have lost trust in other people, eventually will also lose their trust in their spiritual teacher. They will lose their faith in their spiritual teacher. They will not trust God. They will lose their faith in God and it's all because of past painful experiences. We were betrayed in the past, therefore, due to this betrayal, we have this samskara, these vasanas, these deep impressions of the mind that we should not trust because trust is dangerous. Trust causes pain. This is the logic. Trust is the cause of pain. Now, this is faulty logic.
Trust and faith are always the cause of happiness while evil actions, evil deeds are the cause of pain. We know it from yoga. Negative actions are the cause of pain. Faith can never be the cause of pain. Trust can never be the cause of pain, the opposite. We need to develop again the trust in our fellow being with the lucid awareness, with a clear understanding that, "Yes, we will trust other people and, yes, although we trust them, we will also experience betrayal and pain." But this is a very good deal. That pain that we have, that's the payment. That pain has nothing to do with the trust but it is attached. This is called failure of the intellect. The intellect attaches the pain to the trust in a wrong way but it doesn't matter. Even if we have to pay the payment of pain, it's worth it, because we develop something which is precious to an unlimited degree. We will develop again that quality of trust and faith. This is something very precious. It's the key for many, many things.
So slowly, slowly with wisdom and understanding we should develop again the quality of trust. We need to meditate on it. We need to meditate and understand what are the consequences of not having trust? Am I happier because of it? What are the consequences of not having faith? Am I happier? The long term consequences, are they good consequences? No, even if due to it I become very rich but on a mental level I suffer from anguish. No. So we need to understand these things. So we meditate on the consequences of not having trust and faith and then we meditate on the consequences of having trust and of having faith. Then we meditate on the lack of trust and unfaith. We simulate situations in our meditation of not having trust and not having faith and we experience the pain which is attached to it and vice versa. We simulate the situation of faith, and trust and the great joy and happiness which is the long term outcome of it.
In the Bhagavad Gita, doubt is considered to be one of the greatest enemies of the yogi because doubt is a state of the mind. There is no such thing as factual doubt; it's a state of an obscured mind, a restless mind, a mind that does not have the capacity to choose properly, does not have that clarity which shows us what is a real choice, a choice that we can follow. So in order to purify our mind and in order to sow seeds for future happiness we need to remove that enemy of the human being which is called doubt.
Return to June 2011 Newsletter