[0021]Having faith

Podcards

Mar 4 2022 • 2 mins


There is a certain power in faith—not just a faith in God, or love, or science, but faith in the human spirit—that drives and sustains us. Of the Buddha’s Five Strengths, pañcabalāni (Sanskrit: पञ्चबलानि), a faith or conviction that your actions do matter comes first. And because your actions impact all things around you, you must exercise them with care or you’ll end up creating a lot of suffering for yourself and for those around you. Faith in yourself and others gives you hope and optimism so that you can pursue with eagerness those processes of life that challenge or consternate without falling into the black pit of depression and despair. Faith is what sustains humanity’s progress right from individual accomplishments through to advancements in the sciences. We do not know, we can only guess, and our guesses are guided by faith in laws. Einstein believed in what he called a cosmic religion—to him, less a religion than a "rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection." Faith in a benevolent God or universe rather than an authoritarian figure or punitive force actually suppresses your impulse to get angry or frightened by stimulating a tiny area at the front of your brain called the anterior cingulate. When you choose to believe in a loving divinity, kindness, compassion, and understanding prevail in the active centres of your brain. Conversely, the belief in a punitive, vindictive, and authoritarian God evokes feelings of fear and retribution, priming the brain for fighting. So choose to have more faith in humanity and yourself and you’ll find a kinder and more forgiving world around you.

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