When we experience a heartbreak of a lost relationship or even lose a loved one, our hearts bleed and we mourn. When our friends try to comfort us, we know that they mean well but it is an almost impossible endeavour for them to ease our pain. All they can do is to listen to our suffering which we may mask with sorrow, anger, frustration, false happiness, bewilderment or even forced nonchalance.

Ash Phoenix

If they are good friends, they can see our pain as our eyes often tell a different story while we try to put on a brave face. ‘Let it all out. It is ok to feel sad,’ they may say. ‘I am fine,’ we often reply as we are in denial and supress our emotions. Maybe, we simply have to understand the following: every one of us has their unique path. Similarly, we have to go through our own pain in order to heal. Although it is comforting to talk to someone, we can only heal on our own. I call it hermit mode. It is a lonely path but it is necessary.

My dear reader, you may ask why I talk about lost love or the loss of a loved one if my topic is faith. Am I on the wrong track this time? I do not think so. I admit that this article on faith is the most difficult article in this series. It can only be my personal account of what I believe that faith is or what it could be. I do not want to talk about religion. We all have our own faith – we are Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Gnostics or Atheists. Most of us believe in some form of higher authority and even if that is not the case, this non-belief is also a belief in itself.

FAITH, even in its form of a non-belief, is strongly related to important topics in our lives: love, hope, death, trust, will, truth, creation and attachments. My dear reader, I would like you to visualise the Vortex in Riambel. As I started to meditate intensely while I was writing my novel, I learned a lot about chakras, energy in a spiritual sense as well as the expressions of shadow and light in our lives. I think that we can have similar experiences when we pray.

When considering the notion of faith, most of us can agree that faith means different things to each of us, depending on our own religion. If we see faith, however, in a broader sense – somehow as a moral value system that encourages us to strive to become better human beings, then we may find a common denominator.

Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher formulated the Categorical Imperative in a strictly rational sense. It reflects a maxim that can be found in all religions in similar words: ‘Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will [want] that it should become a universal law.’ Kant formulated this maxim as a positive belief in humanity but I think it goes beyond. By finding the good in ourselves, we can also find the good in others. Strictly speaking, Kant wants us to be on the good side, not being tempted by the shadows in our lives like greed, anger, hate and many more. As a philosopher, he wants us to fight the evil in ourselves and embrace the good. Or formulated differently: do not do something to another human being that you do not want them to do to you.

In every expression of faith or religion, we have the eternal fight between good and evil as the main topic. The Vortex in Riambel has a sign post that urges us to release seven shadows which are fear, guilt, anger, sorrow, lies, illusions and attachments and to embrace the positive values that are trust, creativity, will, love, truth, light and letting go. I believe that it is an expression of the universal force of good and a reminder to act compassionately. In the same way, we can find these thoughts in the Pater Noster (Lord’s Prayer), the Jummah prayer and the Law of Dharma.

By acting compassionately towards others, we may also receive compassion – even if it is not from the same person but from another human being. I believe that we have a moral compass in us. Whether one believes in a soul or not – in my view there is a universal force guiding us. It is inherent in most of us that we want to belong to the good side. We do not always achieve to treat others in a way that we should treat them but we should at least strive to become better every day.

The seed of the good is in all of us. Sometimes, we only have to look for it. So I want to say to you: search for the light in you and do not give up to find it. Accept your shortcomings and those of others and push forward to become a better human being every day. Do not give up on yourself but also do not give up on others. Acknowledge your own limits and those of other human beings. Have faith in yourself and in others to do good, to be good and maybe just to become good. Understand yourself as a limitless being that can every day start anew and become kinder, warmer and more loving. HAVE FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE and never lose those three virtues.

Ash Phoenix is the author of the fiction novel The Chronicles of the Tiny Island, available at Bookcourt. You can visit her website www.ash-phoenix.com and her blog Faith, Hope and Love at https://ash-phoenix.org.