Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
FaithingA Vision Alive and Present
© 2011 by Will
Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The word "faithing" does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, the widely accepted authority on the English language, and it is at the heart of our enterprise. First, a little background. Poet Khalil Gibran says, "Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking." Faith regularly refers to an unquestioning belief in God, religious dogma, rituals and tenets, and specifically a belief not requiring supportive evidence or proof. Faith also means complete confidence, reliability, trust and loyalty to one's beliefs. Ultimately faith is trust and loyalty to Divinity. Such trust and loyalty can only be freely offered when Divinity is truly known.
"Breaking faith" is equivalent to being disloyal and not constant to one's beliefs, values and principles, while "keeping faith" is equated with an opposite loyalty and constancy. Existentialists speak of "bad faith" as lying, duplicity, dishonesty, insincerity, untrustworthiness and lack of integrity. As little used as it is, "Good faith" is an allegiance to truth, honesty, sincerity, trustworthiness and integrity.
Is "faith" purely a stronger version of belief, one of heartier stock and not to be challenged? Is "faith" purely a noun to describe some "thing" human beings ascribe to and another "concept" that we place worth and value in? Or like the conceptualization called a belief is to the active act of believing, is faith merely a pale shadow of the active verb of "faithing"? Does "faithing" require proof, evidence, reasons, explanations, rational or logical support? How is faithing different than hope or optimism? Faith is what remains when all beliefs are seen through, fall away and are willing surrendered.
Hope and optimism, the first more emotionally loaded and the second almost entirely rooted in our expectations, refer to a positive stance toward the future that includes motivational, cognitive and emotional aspects. Hope and optimism, along with future-mindedness and future orientation that present what the person is required to do to get from the present to some desired future, have considerable overlay. Nonetheless each can be suspected to co-occur in practice. 1 Plans, goals, anticipation and scenarios are all intrinsically bound to a future orientation. All of these fairly synonymous ideas, attitudes and emotions are essentially beliefs imbued with expectations and hold the future as their frame of reference. This is in sharp contrast to the possibility of now that is wholly present oriented and transcends both belief and expectation. The one area of overlap is in evoking a feeling of confidence, specifically in regard to what is desired and envisioned.
Now we can return to "faithing," even without the legitimization of the Oxford English Dictionary for support. It is unclear when faithing stumbled into some reading long, long ago. Found "faithing" again, like an old friend, in the writing of John-Roger and Peter McWilliams:
"Faithing is trusting that everything will work out for the highest good of all concerned. Beyond that, faithing is realizing that everything already is working out for the highest good of all concerned. (. . . ) Faithing is actively setting aside our personal shoulds, musts, opinions and beliefs and moving into the flow of what's actually happening. With faithing, we put acceptance above opinion. (. . . ) Faithing works here and now. It acknowledges that there's a plan at work, and that the plan is unfolding perfectly." 2
Building upon this description, faithing can be further described as an affirmative stance pregnant with possibility, a fully formed and ever-evolving present-tense vision with a high likelihood of being realized in the relative world. Be with how you envision your life right now and see Being itself unfold in every moment's actions of doing. A Sufi tale by an unknown author beautifully depicts the possibility of faithing:
There was a terrible draught. After a long deliberation, the villagers decided to approach Nasrudin, who was known to work miracles on occasion and ask for his intervention in bringing rain. The whole community went over to Nasrudin's hut and the elders stated their request. "Sorry," said Nasrudin, "there will be no miracle. . . you have no faith". "But Nasrudin, how can you say that?" said the villagers, "after all, is it not our faith, that brought us to your door, begging for help?" "If you really had faith," said Nasrudin, "You would have come with umbrellas."
Faithing in this story is bringing the vision of rain here-and-now with complete confidence that you naturally bring umbrellas. Consider the "umbrella principle: If you are in a rainstorm and you happen to have an umbrella, it's O.K. to use it. Carrying umbrellas is equivalent to "betting on yourself and life" and completely trusting your present-tense vision of realizing the heart's Truth in each new unfolding moment.
"All we are given is possibilitiesto make ourselves one
thing or another."
The opening to "possibility," that which can be achieved and is already pregnant within, is beautifully epitomized in author Ray Bradbury's comment, "You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down." Faithing is akin to the wondrous, wide-eyed trust a baby imparts to its mother without knowing anything about her. Further, imagine a baby seeing all these big people walking about. The universal human experience of fearlessly beginning to crawl, face the challenge of balancing one's body's weight distribution to begin standing and then to start putting one foot in front of another in learning to walk and later to skip, run and frolic also beautifully serve as an illustration. Almost every one of us is inspired by the powerful examples of our parents and caregivers to develop a vision of our lives, in this case perambulation or walking.
Seeing life as active engagement, Buckminster Fuller once noted, "I seem to be a verb," alluding to everything that is unchanging and real is a verb. The experiencer and the experience are all real, true and alive in the relative world as experiencing, just as the knower and the known are equally revealed in the knowing. The holder of faith and the experience of holding faith are equally alive in the active action of the possibility of now. The active verb of faithing is precisely what invites and ushers in possibility right now. Presence in a being-filled vision is alive with possibility; without Presence in a preoccupation with doing with no vision there is no possibility. Faithing alone is alive with access to possibility now.
The ancient theologian Tertullian once wrote, "The state of faith allows no mention of impossibility." The possibility of now is synonymous with "Faithing," the active verb of faith. Faithing incorporates a tolerance for ambiguity, ambivalence, doubt and indeterminacy within a depthless humility and humanity that distorts nothing and reveals the truth of everything. Faithing is not constrained by a lack of facts or knowledge and listens to that innermost voice of truth-telling. Taking the stand of faithing is an unbridled trust-giving in a present-tense vision that life already is as it is, including being affirmative, trustworthy, dependable, workable and resolvable no matter how challenging any life situation, condition and circumstance may seem here-and-now.
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard famously said, "Truth is subjectivity." His "subjectivity" was not a convenient or easy one that aids feeling comfortable in avoiding change, but one that demands a fundamental reorientation of the self and acceptance of commitment that places demands upon us. Kierkegaard is well known for expressing this commitment in the leap of faith. When he wrote of truth acquired in the leap of faith it was, "An objective uncertainty, held fast through appropriation with the most passionate inwardness, is the truth, the highest truth there is for an existing person." [Concluding Unscientific Postscript] Given that faith rests upon possibility, Kierkegaard also noted, "It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it." Faithing is a present-tense possibility, a movement of the heart that is our true nature.
The ego knows nothing of faith and has no trust in the Divine given it is its own deity out-goding God. The truth is that there is no separation between knowledge, knower and knowing. Who we really are, Divinity, Joy, Peace, natural Happiness, Soul and Spirit equally are verbs. Faithing is the realm of possibility here-and-now, of trusting the truth of every moment lived inside Presence. Our True Self already knows and lives inside this wisdom while our ego minds scoff, criticize and speak cynically.
1. Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues: A handbook and Classification. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, page 570.
2. John-Roger and Peter McWilliams, You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought: A Book for People with Any Life-Threatening IllnessIncluding Life. Los Angeles, California: Prelude Press, Inc., 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, pages 239, 241.
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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