Why faith in relationships is over-rated

The best way to have wonderful relationships is to do two things: never expect anything from it or from the other person and always respect the other person’s choice.
When we expect someone to be what we want them to be, we are not respecting the person as a special, unique individual. Where expectation comes, respect goes out, and agony comes in! Much of the problem in marital or personal relationships is because there is an expectation of faithfulness. While it is important that deceit or cheating must be avoided in any relationship – so honest, open conversations are always the best way forward in such situations – the nature of the expectation of faithfulness is an indicator that we have stopped respecting the other person. To be faithful cannot mean living someone else’s Life. Or you cannot insist that someone live their Life as you want them to for you to be able to call them faithful. To be faithful means to be true to yourself, first doing what you want to do as long as it will not harm anyone else. When all people in a relationship are true to themselves, and don’t harm each other, a harmonious environment is born that respects each individual in it. That’s when relationships become meaningful and stand the test of time.
Osho, the Master, argues this perspective immensely well: “Who are you to demand faith from anyone else? Demanding faith is like demanding slavery. There’s a misconception in people that love must be permanent. Only stones are permanent. To ask for faith is wrong. There was a season__the spring, the faith, the love arose in you. You did not create it. It was just a happening. Just like a breeze it comes and just like a breeze it goes. When it comes, rejoice. And when it goes, say good-bye. Millions of couples in the world know there’s no love between them anymore. But for the sake of society, reputation, for respectability, they go on pretending they love each other. This pretension is the real sin, the real crime.”
This is not to conclude however that love cannot be eternal between people. It can, as long as there is respect for the other person and there are no expectations, while being true to yourself first in the relationship.

Spike Fear, Embrace Uncertainty, Have Faith

To peacefully journey through Life you must understand uncertainty and let go of all that you fear.
Indeed, none of us knows what lies in store for us in each approaching moment and, most of the time, we are running scared of this uncertain, unknown, dark future. The way to nullify the impact of the lethal cocktail of fear and uncertainty in Life is to have faith. The faith that can remove fear and help you embrace uncertainty is not the faith that religion tries to dispense and that we all claim we profess. All religious faith is dogmatic, puerile and fanned by seeking to identify with a power that (we are made to believe) is outside of us. God, per all religions and their diktats, fatwas, gospels, is external. Which is why anyone who is deeply religious will still be plagued by worry, anxiety and fear. Whereas, true faith is having conviction in creation itself, in the Universe and its Master Plan. The same energy that powers you__and me__and keeps us alive also created the mountains, the trees, the gorges and the valleys, the petals and the fruits, the oceans and the drops of water. It is part of the Master Plan that the Earth goes around the Sun and not the other way round. It is the same Master Plan that divined you were born to the family that you call your own and were endowed with whatever faculties you had at the time of your creation! That Master Plan has no flaws.
Knowing this, feeling this and living this reality in wondrous amazement is faith. When there’s this real faith, no imposter__religion, dogma, beliefs, rituals, superstitions__can get anywhere close to you. Nor can fear and uncertainty torment you! Where people have true faith, no explanation is required and no amount of explanation works for those who don’t have faith!

Jaluddin Rumi, the 13th Century mystic Persian poet, described living in faith thus: “Do you think I know what I’m doing?…As much as a pen knows what it’s writing, or the ball can guess where it’s going next.” He compared himself to a flute, a wind instrument made from bamboo reed, that cannot create music, unless it is played by a master flautist. So are we, he said, played on by Life. Thinking that we have no song in us is letting fear and uncertainty get the better of us. Knowing that our lives will be music is faith. Spike the fear, embrace the uncertainty, keep the faith and you will live happily ever after! 

Walk in Faith – don’t worry about your clothes getting wet!

In Life’s most excruciatingly painful moments, keep the Faith – fundamentally in yourself. Know and believe that if you have been created (obviously, without your asking for it), you will be looked after, provided for and cared for.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836~1886) often used to tell the story of a milkmaid to awaken people to have faith in themselves. Let me share that story with you.
A farmer’s daughter’s duty was to carry fresh milk to customers in various villages. One of the customers was a priest. To reach his house, the milkmaid had to cross a stream by a sort of ferry raft, for a small fee.


One day the priest, who performed worship daily by offering fresh milk to God, finding that it arrived very late each day, scolded the milkmaid. “What can I do?” she lamented, “I started out early from my house, but I had to wait a long time for the boatman to come.”
The priest refused to accept her explanation. He barked at her: “What! People have even walked across the ocean, on the water, by repeating the name of God, and you can’t cross this small stream?” The milkmaid took his words very seriously. From then on she brought the priest’s order of milk punctually every morning. After a few weeks of the milkmaid’s improved, on-time delivery, he became curious about it and asked her how it was that she was never late anymore.
“I cross the river repeating the name of the Lord,” she replied, “just as you told me to do, without waiting for the ferry.” The priest was shocked. He didn’t believe her, and asked, “Can you show me this, how you cross the river on foot, how you walk on water?” So they went together to the stream and the milkmaid began to walk on water. Looking back, the young lady saw that the priest had started to follow her but he  was floundering in the water. He was refusing to move forward beyond a point.
“Sir!” she cried, “You are uttering the name of God, yet all the while you are holding up your clothes from getting wet. That is not trusting in God!”
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to sum up the moral of his story thus: “If you lose Faith you lose everything. Faith in ourselves, Faith in the God within, this is the secret to greatness. If you have Faith in all the three hundred and thirty million gods… but still have no Faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you!”

I relate totally to that perspective. Most of the time, most of us are like that priest – holding up our clothes from getting wet, while professing faith in all the religions around us and in an external God. And that’s precisely the reason why we often feel depressed, deprived and lost in the face of Life’s challenges. When we learn to walk in Faith, in ourselves, than by sight alone, we will have learned to cross the river of Life – peacefully and joyfully!