Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A New Kind of Faith

I want to know about faith- the kind of faith that’s found after loss. 

When I was a young woman my health collapsed, and I lost the life and identity I had had. But I had faith that the chronic illness I had would be cured, and I would once again be able to do all the things “normal” people could. Oh, I wasn’t passive- I engaged in pretty much every physical, psychological and spiritual healing modality, I could find. I learned a lot and I had months, sometimes a year of remission, but the disease never totally disappeared. With the natural changes of aging it became more acute and. . . I lost faith that anything would ever make a difference. 

I prayed for healing, but what I wanted (understandably) was a cure.

And now, strangely, I have found a renewed faith in healing. Not in a cure, but in healing. Interestingly, it has taken me almost three decades to really get the difference. This new sense of what is possible and good comes only after a dark period in recent years of finding myself bereft, separated from the old faith, abandoned by the deal-making deity in whom I professed no belief even as I semi-consciously tried to negotiate a back-room deal to earn a cure with personal work, sacrifice, and faux-surrender. (It's not real surrender if you keep peeking to see if the hoped for outcome is arriving.)

I am not saying that cures are not desirable or possible, and I leave the door to that possiblity wide open. But healing, for me, has become more important. And no, I am not making virtue out of necessity, because I only have to look around at the world to know that even if all conditions, including my health, were exactly as I thought I wanted them to be, true joy and peace could remain elusive.

Healing is about how I live this day fully, content with what I can do. If that's lying with my head packed in ice to dull the pain, listening to quiet cello music, I have discovered that I can cultivate real contentment with that, can be at peace with not being able to do what I'd planned.  

And a new faith- a faith in what is- takes root.

When I allow this faith to take me consciously into my experience- no matter what thoughts, emotions or sensations are arising- I drop down into an awareness of the divine spark, the kiss of the Beloved that perpetually renews. Hard to describe that experience of the infinite movement and deep stillness that is the ground of our being, but the consistent quality is one of an all-inclusive spaciousness, room for everything- all aspects of self and the world- nothing left behind, all that is accepted and held tenderly.

And my faith deepens, and I am held in and filled with an abiding contentment.This contentment does not preclude acting to co-create change where it is needed and possible.This contentment is active, involved, willing to do what needs to be and can be done without rejecting what is or desperately grasping for things to be different than they are. 

This new faith is flowering in me. It heals my relationship to the moment and all it holds, whether that is joy or sorrow, physical ease or pain. And I am deeply grateful.

Oriah (c) 2012


  1. A deeply heartfelt thank you for your sharing today. I intend to apply "the spirit of healing" to all areas of my life...mind, body and spirit. I know it will take some constancy, but I'm determined to value each moment for its gift.

    Jan Myhre

  2. Hi Oriah; glad that things are looking up for you; much preferred it when you expressed your thoughts in poetic form; much more powerful.
    Best wishes

    1. David, criticism received. Have always written both prose and poetry and continue to do both as Spirit and the creative impulse direct.

  3. Thank you, Oriah. Your story is my story, almost to the tee, weird. I have been on the fast-track for years, trying to feel better, at a very high cost both financially and emotionally. About two years ago I just got too tired and simply gave up. So I love your idea about healing vs cure, it makes so much sense to me. Maybe the "giving up" is not "quitting" as I've believed over the years. Maybe surrender is feeling good, not feelling good. What is. Love reading your blog, just found it and am so grateful......Becky

    1. Thanks Becky- not easy to surrender sometimes - and when I still find it hard, now I try to just stay with experience of not wanting to surrender, feeling into the impulse to rail against what is with a kind of gentle curiosity, holding it tenderly and with a little mercy. Prayers for your healing on every level of being :-)

  4. Oriah,

    Thank you so much for your honesty. This is something I've been trying to come to terms with myself. I have a brain malformation called, Chiari I, that causes a great deal of pain and sensory abnormalities. What I thought was under control came screeching back into my life this past winter, and there have been many dark days, but also those filled with light as I come to see the value in accepting what is and allowing my spirit to heal,even if my body continues to struggle. Thanks for the inspiring words, and remaining open as you heal. <3

  5. Oriah,

    Someone sent me your poem "The Invitation" today in my email. It reached the deep recesses of my soul, in fact I posted it to my blog because you were "singing my song".

    I researched you and found out that in addition to being on the same pathway of the soul, we've also shared a similar physical path. I've had CFS for the past 23 years and came down with it when I was 27. I too left no stone unturned to seek healing. It's been a journey of acceptance and embracing life in all its joys and limitations.

    Thank you so much for your deep words and insights! I look forward to reading your books too!

    Anne Clay,

    1. Anne, so glad you are connecting here. Yes CFS/ME is agreat teacher of what we cannot control and must accept if we are to live with what is with some ease. Many blessings, oriah