Being alive necessarily means uncertainty and risk, times of going into the unknown. If we withdraw from the flow of life, our hearts contract. We hold back so much that we feel separate from our own bodies and minds, separate from other people, even people we really care about. In the grip of other intense emotions, like grief and jealousy, we might feel anguish, but fear shuts us down, arrests the life-force. To be driven by fear is like dying inside. When the suffering is overwhelming, we may try to recoil from how bad it feels by numbing our reactions. Many of us survived childhood in just this way. But, ultimately, cutting ourselves off from what is happening locks us into fear and makes us unable to see that we might find another way to respond outside the small section delineated by the dots, defined by our assumptions.
Faith, in contrast, reminds us of the ever-changing flow of life, with all its movement and possibility. Faith is the capacity of the heart that allows us to draw close to the present and find there the underlying thread connecting the moment’s experience to the fabric of all of life. It opens us to a bigger sense of who we are and what we are capable of doing.
Sharon Salzberg, Faith