Ten days ago I was happily unemployed. Being a Type A personality, I was not, however, idle. Since being laid off in April 2016, I wrote a book, Faith without Labels — A Guide to Eclectic Spirituality, and sent query letters to every New Age publisher listed in the Writer’s Market. I also created and built an online presence, including this blog, a Twitter account and an Eclectic Spirituality Facebook group, to promote the premise of my book. My days were filled with book-related tasks, exercise, hobbies, home life and pets, and I had never been more content.
Alas, being unemployed isn’t very profitable. So, when a friend asked me to fill a temporary position in her company, I said yes. On Monday I went from making my own hours and doing what I wanted when I wanted to being on a schedule and doing what someone else needed. Though the job is interesting and my manager and coworkers are lovely, the abrupt change felt like culture shock.
Also, due to a medical procedure and a change in my medication, my migraines were more intense and long lasting than usual this week. I muscled my way through each workday, learning a new job in a new industry, being as pleasant and professional as possible while masking the fact that I was dizzy, nauseous, in pain and utterly wiped out.
The workweek ended, as they always do. Last night I did a little research on the Internet and learned that one of my medications was probably responsible for the dizziness, nausea and exhaustion. I skipped the offending med this morning and, hours later, I feel better than I have in at least a week.
Which all leads me to believe that the old adage, “This, too, shall pass,” is true.
The question is, how do I, as a person of faith, believe that while in the midst of a tough time?
According to Dictionary.com, faith is:
While I have no proof that “This, too, shall pass,” experience tells me that this is so. A well known saying, the origins of which are open to debate, is that “The only constant is change.” In Buddhism, this fact is called the law of impermanence. People change: We are born, age and die. Our personalities, faces, bodies, opinions and outlooks change. Relationships change: People fall in and out of love, children grow up and leave their parent’s home to start families of their own… Our health changes: We get sick, we get better, age settles into our bones, our vision and hearing fail…
This “experiential faith” seems to be at odds with the second definition of faith above. But, in a sense, it’s not. The financial industry often includes the phrase, “past performance is no guarantee of future results” as a caveat in promotional pieces. Experiential faith is akin to that phrase. We can assume that a bad or uncomfortable situation will pass because they always have in the past. But we don’t know that they will. Change may be inevitable, but we fear that it may not happen during our lifetime, which essentially means that it may not change for us.
This brings me to what I consider to be faith’s sibling, equanimity, which can be defined as, “
Faith and equanimity as I’ve described them here have nothing to do with “faith” as it is commonly used in Western culture. It’s not about believing in a deity, miracles or life after death, though faith is certainly necessary for all of these beliefs. It’s about facing whatever life throws our way with grace and the knowledge that, no matter what happens, we will be OK.