Our Sacred Attention, Part 2a of 10: Unity and Faith
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
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Our Sacred Attention (Part 2a of 10): Faith and Unity
It’s tricky business even talking about faith, these days. For a long time, this concept has been so commonly confused with the word, “belief” that it’s almost terminally infected.
Belief is, after all, only a tiny, pre-school part of faith. It’s merely a seed. Yet, this is largely where humanity has remained for a couple of thousand years now, at least in the western world. The upshot is that the concept that was once said to “move mountains” has become just another excuse to cease the courageous exploration of truth. Instead, many simply follow the lemming masses that believe in ways similar to themselves. This may be easy and feel good, but it’s ineffective if we're talking about faith or attention. Faith in particular, when it's limited this way, has only a passing connection to its potential power. But that’s only part of the challenge when it comes to this booklet, which is on the subject of Our Sacred Attention.
Suffice it to say that our collective and personal faith needs to make a leap in understanding. Without a change, we will be incapable of creating a healthy and sustainable future for all the beings on this miraculous planet. Shifting our understanding and use of faith is a basic key to this eventuality, and we'll talk about why that's true. I submit that without it, we’re unable to move from a powerless state into one of transformational power, including the power to shift our personal assumptions, standards, and being-ness. I mean this both collectively and individually.
In short, there's a lot to consider.
We can start with this: The concept to know and work with is simple: faith is a principle of power. As with any power, we have to learn to use it properly in order for it to work for us. Otherwise, we're like a three-year-old in the cockpit of a dragster; the “driver” is in her seat, but that doesn’t mean she can take advantage of the power at her fingertips. Attempting to do so "*may result in injury and/or death."
But that's not the only issue, here. The wise and skillful use of faith is also a function of the vehicle - the container in which we place our faith. Continuing the analogy of the dragster, we can have a competent driver and a mechanically-sound dragster, but if the machine is parked on a dirt road in the Rockies, it's not going to do anyone much good. Simply put, the vehicle is inappropriate for the terrain. This is like having faith in incorrect ideas, otherwise known as "misplaced faith." The point I'm trying to make is that misplaced faith is not only ultimately limiting, but frustrating in that it can mislead us regarding the application of faith. After all, any driver, no matter how skilled, can only do so much with a dragster on a mountain road. In this case, the vehicle, not the driver, represents the majority of the limitation.
More on that in the next installment (which will be labeled 2b). For now, we'll concern ourselves with the driver.
The Tale of Ken the Pumpkin Farmer
Forget the religious definition of the principle of faith for now. It can be helpful to an extent, but at this point in the evolution of human spirituality, we need more specific instruction. We could use the Biblical definition if we wanted to, but we've already explored it, at least collectively. For instance, one of the most commonly quoted verses in the Bible about faith defines it thus: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This is found in Hebrews 11, in the New Testament. However, it’s pretty obtuse, isn’t it? No wonder we don't know how to operate the dragster, huh? Instead, for our purposes - and in order to wrest the concept from the halls of religious dogma - we’ll define faith as “a principle of power that is the cause and effect of any action that aligns with any truth.”
For now, let's concentrate on faith as the main cause of any action we take, "spiritual" or otherwise. We could explore the argument that everything is spiritual. We could also make an argument that nothing is spiritual, and both might be correct. Either way, let's now consider the tale of Ken, the Pumpkin Farmer, and his adventure with faith.
Ken has been farming pumpkins for most of his life. He knows that if he wants to harvest pumpkins in October, he needs to plant them no later than the first part of May. Furthermore, he needs to make sure the soil is right for the crop, that he has appropriate water resources, available labor to harvest, and a market for his product.
Now, he can say he knows all this, and he may. It's always worked for him. We might say that, as such, this knowledge is part of his "belief system." We might, if we didn't know better, even say that he has faith that these things are true. But if he doesn’t make the effort to get out of bed to actually plant pumpkin seeds in the fertile soil, he may get a crop but it won’t be a crop of pumpkins. Weeds, maybe. In fact, if he wants pumpkins, there is actually a very narrow band of actions that will work for him at all. He can't, for instance, choose just any kind of seed. He has to choose pumpkin seeds. Kale seeds won't do for growing pumpkins, right? Specific water, specific soils, etc. are likewise all necessary components of this project.
Also, Ken's belief alone that he has everything in order is of no effect if he doesn’t act on the knowledge. Nor will ignorance spare him from its effects, should he fall short. "I didn't know I was planting kale" might work at the pearly gates. He might be forgiven there, but not in this life. At least not according to Natural Law. According to that Law, we get what we plant. Nor can “getting to work” include painting his barn. Sure, painting a barn is work, but it’s not the kind that grows a field of pumpkins, right?
Again, it's a narrow band of actions that will allow Ken the Pumpkin Farmer to properly, wisely, and skillfully apply his knowledge. Which is another way of saying, to exercise his faith.
Not to beat the point to death, but if our actions are not in alignment with the truth with which we want to engage (that which brings a certain result), it’s even worse than not getting out of bed at all. Why? Because we still worked; the work just didn't get us what we wanted. Maybe we planted kale seeds when we didn't really want kale. (Actually, no one does. We just eat it because it tastes bad and it's good for us.) Or we painted our barns instead of planting pumpkins. This means we didn't work with skill, which is another way of saying we didn't work with wisdom. The paint on the barn may have been skillfully applied, and the kale seeds correctly planted. But these are still unwise actions, considering Ken's desire which is a field of pumpkins in October. So, the terms "unskilled" and "unwise" can apply even if the work is good. It simply means we worked in accordance to natural law, but not the law that brings the desired result.
Along these lines, there’s an “opportunity cost” to our actions. Suffice it to say that Ken the Pumpkin Farmer might have a neatly painted barn or a pantry full of kale, but he won’t have a crop of pumpkins in addition to these because his time is limited. After all, he can only do so much in a day, week, month, year, and lifetime. What he neglects when he chooses one activity over another is called the "opportunity cost" of the activity. The cost may be acceptable or unacceptable, but given our view of time as a linear construct, it's always present.
Now let's forget kale and barns and constructs and remind ourselves that even without these, Ken is welcome to try other methods of growing pumpkins. He can choose to believe for instance that with proper concentration and belief, pumpkins will manifest in his field in time for the harvest. Maybe he can believe this and will concentrate on this while he paints his barn, thus negating the opportunity cost? After all, Ken says he knows of a teacher who not only claims it can happen but that he does it every year. This guy teaches that “mind planting” pumpkin seeds work for anyone willing to try his patented process. Enter, “Pumpkin Pete.”
This man, Pumpkin Pete, is a great orator. Furthermore, he’s brutally handsome, and his wife is terminally pretty (yes, they inspired the Eagles song, “Life in the Fast Lane.”). In the offseason, he lives with her and their 2.6 kids in a huge house near Malibu. By all appearances, he seems to live an idyllic life. When Ken tunes into Pumpkin Pete's Podcast, he begins to feel that he may have been working too hard. Over time, Ken comes to believe that all he really needs is a mindset change. And Pumpkin Pete is just the man to teach him.
“You simply need more faith! You can just lie in bed and imagine yourself planting seeds,” Pumpkin Pete declares. “In the quantum world, the crop already exists, after all. If they don’t show up right away, just learn to get out of your own way and increase your faith. If you need a better method of doing that, sign up for my workshop. I’ll teach you my guaranteed ways to mind-plant anything you want!”
Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? Like New Age, except with squash? Or maybe like some aspects of most religions? More importantly, can you see the point?
Now, what was Pete up to? Is he a complete charlatan? Well, not exactly. But he's not being exactly forthcoming, either. What he doesn’t tell people is that the field he bought, the one he doesn’t plant but that miraculously produces orbs of orange in the autumn, is itself an abandoned pumpkin field. It has diminishing returns, but no one ever asks about that. Additionally, as part of his business, he’s taken to selling the seeds from this sparse pumpkin patch. Mainly, these are sold to those who can't seem to master his mind-planting techniques - which is pretty much everyone. These unfortunates can distribute Pete's seeds in their fields, using yet another “patented method.” (Basically, this means planting Pumpkin Pete seeds rather than another brand.) It turns out that Pete’s business consists mostly of marketing his classes and selling his own brand of seeds, which have made him a wealthy man.
Pete mostly believes what he’s teaching – the quantum this and that – but ... you know... who really understands that stuff, anyway? He rationalizes his integrity indiscretions by reasoning that he IS teaching truth; truth that his victims, er, clients, can use in all areas of their lives. The quantum field is a scientific reality, after all. What can be understood, anyway.
“The pumpkins were a metaphor,” Pete tells his attorney when the lawsuits start coming in. “My teachings were never meant to be taken literally." Then he adds, "Clean this stuff up, man. I got people to serve.” Pumpkin Pete is a mixed bag, apparently.
So much for Pete. But what about the real costs of Ken’s misplaced “faith?” It manifests in these ways:
· A failed crop;
· Doubt in general about the power of “faith,” and in himself;
· Financial problems;
· Marital problems;
· And a very nicely painted barn (with a bunch of kale to store in it).
Speaking of the barn, the opportunity cost of misplaced faith often includes some positive things (this does not apply to the kale, which is itself the devil's lettuce). After all, misplaced belief or not, his barn looks great and will last longer with a new coat of paint. But the time he spent painting it is the time that he needed to be planting pumpkin seeds. As we've established, doing both was not an option. He chose a good task, but not one that would give him what he really needed or wanted. He’d hoped he could shortcut his way to avoiding any opportunity cost at all. He wanted a painted barn and a planted field. But the nature of our lives includes the reality of choice, which is also fundamental to the power of faith. This is also something we’ll explore later in the next installment.
So, here are a few questions.
Which task would have been more beneficial in Ken’s life, specifically in the month of May: painting his barn or planting his pumpkins?
Had he chosen skillfully, what other choices might he have made?
Put yet another way, did actually Ken act in faith? (Answer: In some ways, he did, but they were not in accordance with the laws that would have brought him what he wanted. So, whether he acted in faith or not is arguable.)
Finally, where did Ken place his sacred attention, and how did this serve him?
And finally... what does this have to do with us?
Stay Tuned for Part 2B, “The Role of Law Applied to Faith: Why Faith in Unity Consciousness is the Way”
For several thousand years now, we’ve been living according to certain laws…
Part 3: Ten Practices That Help Dissolve the Idea of Separation
Part 4: The Role of Focus in Creation
Part 5: Not Done Yet: Why We(‘ve) Plateau(d) / Breaking Barriers
Part 6: Friend of the Devil: The Role of the Shadow
Part 7: Approaching the Snake: Preparing for Experience and Choosing A Method
Part 8: In Ceremony: Rules of Engagement
Part 9: Integration, or “Avoiding the Ceremony Cycle”
Part 10: Back to Square One: The Upward Spiral