Do we need to experience something directly to have faith in it?
I was listening to something yesterday, when it dawned on me that many of us have believe in the existence of things that we may not have directly heard, seen, touched, smelt or tasted. Although we lack the direct experience of it, we believe in the effect it can have.
Let’s take poison as an example.
Have you ever seen it?
Have you ever tasted it?
Have you ever smelt it?
Have you ever touched it?
I have complete faith in the fact that poison exists and that I shouldn’t touch it, smell it or taste it. This stems from the belief and fear that these direct experiences may be enough to harm me, or kill me. I have this firm belief even though I’ve not encountered it firsthand.
How do I know?
- It’s been a popular way of killing people in films
- It’s been referred to in trials that are not fictional
- Books have been written about it
- Scientists have discussed types of poisons and how they effect the body
Still…I haven’t experienced it, in any way, myself.
So how about another example?
I haven’t seen Karma, yet I believe that I bind it through my thoughts, intentions, speech and conduct.
I can’t smell, taste or touch it but I know when I’ve experienced a sense of dislike towards someone. Often, when that arises, I may say something which isn’t kind or fair. I believe that this binds Karma.
When I love someone, I am often too blind to see their flaws; or I am more tolerant of them. You can imagine the problems that this could cause.
I am aware that when I feel hurt, I may lash out and want to hurt that person back. I am sure that this adds to my Karmic bondage.
What makes poison and Karma different?
I haven’t directly experienced the consequence of poison, yet I believe it exists. I am unable to recall or firmly link previous actions to any Karma I’ve bound, yet I am certain it exists. So in a way…they’re both the same.
Why do I steer clear of one thing and not another?
So why don’t I completely, wholeheartedly believe in what the scriptures say about Karma and why don’t I fear the consequences of this bondage, in the same way that I fear the impact that poison can have? After all, every ounce of Karma needs to go before we can attain Moksha/Nirvana.
I believe it, so why don’t I have enough faith to purify my thoughts, speech and behaviour?
Some possible reasons:-
- I’m not alert for long enough to keep all thoughts, and all that follows, pure
- I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to put the effort in, that’s needed to purify my behaviour
- This way of being is a habit that’s hard to break
- I am not scared of the consequences and therefore, I don’t do what’s needed
- I am tricked by my mind into only fully accepting things that I can understand through the senses, which can be processed in the mind, rather than, accepting something that’s based on faith – of course unless it’s some sort of poison and I think it will harm this body
- When it comes to a choice between self improvement and improving my possessions, wealth, relationships etc., I’m drawn towards the latter
Should I just give in and give up?
When I’ve been alert, observed, been silent and protected my peace of mind, the results have been fruitful. So I know that I can attain freedom from this poison, which is in the form of Karma. I just need to keep striving for it.