Have faith, the leaves will fall.
Today my daughter looked up into the sky and said "leaves are falling down!” She just turned two and this was a new discovery for her. As I explained that leaves dry up and fall off the trees this time of year and grow again in the spring, it struck me how her knowledge was unfolding in a way that is typical of all experience. All life, from the plant up to the human sees only a portion of the cosmic picture at any one time. And while there are occasions in the human experience when it seems that leaves are dying all around us, we may be participating in a larger sequence of events that is more about creating than we realize.
To see this point of view, it helps to start with a basic tenet common to most metaphysical/spiritual/religious systems. It says that all answers are out there, we just have to uncover them. It’s actually kind of paradoxical when you think about it. I mean, the universe is infinite, yet everything that ever was, is, or will be, is already out there---that sounds pretty finite to me. But that’s what happens when we start meditating on the big picture---contradictions like "the one and the many," and "infinite and all-knowing" start to merge and make sense. So all ideas are out there, but in day-to-day life, we’re not aware of all of them. My daughter sees the leaves falling from the trees but doesn’t know about the seasons and the cycles of the earth. So she asks questions about what is happening. I give her answers as best I can and she accepts some of my explanation. But the part of my story that is beyond her comprehension doesn’t seem to discourage her. She figures that if Mommy isn’t too upset by the leaves letting go then it’s probably OK. In a word, she has faith.
As adults, many of us look for the equivalent of Mommy or Daddy to tell us that everything is OK before we have faith. This is why for many people, finding faith can be elusive or misleading and disappointing. But true faith doesn’t come from another "authority," it comes from our ability to gain knowledge. As my daughter gets older, she will learn about the earth’s rotation around the sun and how the seasons occur and her faith will be replaced by knowledge. That knowledge will, in turn, supply the faith she needs to get through the next big mystery in her life, like "what is gravity?" or "will I ever get my driver’s license?" Faith is found through experience which, if we really pay attention, tells us that the universe has a logic, a reason or a pattern and things don’t happen purely by chance. And when we haven’t gone far enough yet to see the pattern we’re in, it’s faith in this very idea that carries us through and enables us to make the choices that will lead us where we need to go.
As the leaves are falling this season, practice faith. It’s easy to do and it will sharpen your skills so that the next time you really need guidance, faith will be there waiting for you.
Copyright © 2004, 2016 K. Weissman & T. Coyne