"Expecting things to change without putting in any effort is like waiting for a ship at the airport." I don't know who came up with that statement, but as I read it on a social media feed, I thought it's an excellent way to describe an essential element of faith. Many people think faith means to have absolute belief in something … mostly God. If we have enough faith in God, God will show up, answer our prayers, solve our problems and meet our needs.
However, faith is a spiritual faculty that is already within us; it is whole and complete. We have all the faith we're ever going to have or need. The question is, "Where are we going to direct this faith energy?" Then we must ask, "What action will it take to give my faith legs?" As the saying goes, "Faith without works is dead."
Taking massive action is ideal. But, doing what we can with what we have can also make all the difference in the world. That's because when we take action to manifest what we have directed our faith towards, the Universe often responds in ways we could not have foreseen. A tale from Eastern philosophy and Buddhism illustrates this point.
The story is about a great forest fire. A parrot was able to get out of the fire and fly away. He was deeply concerned, however, for his friends on the ground he had left behind. So, he found a little rag and began to dip the rag into the river. He flew back into the fire and shook a few drops of water from the rag to try to save his animal friends by putting out the forest fire.
After some time, the Gods looked down because one of the God’s seat became very hot. The seat would heat up whenever something exciting or unusual began to take place on earth. So, this particular God said, "What is this silly bird doing, thinking he could put out a whole forest fire like that?" He became interested in this, and because of his interest, he turned into an eagle.
The God, who had now shapeshifted into an eagle, flew down alongside the parrot and said, "Whatcha doing?" And the parrot said, "I'm trying to help my friends who are surrounded by a big fire." And the eagle said, "Well, you're just a little bird. You can't put out that fire." The little parrot looked at him and said, "Look, at a time like this, I don't need advice, okay? If you want to help, that's cool. But otherwise, fly away and do whatever you do."
The parrot then dipped himself in the river and got more drops of water, singeing his wings as he flew through the fire. As the parrot flew down to his friends - mice, rabbits, and other animals in the forest - the eagle watched in amazement. The eagle saw how much love this little bird had toward the other creatures. The eagle's heart broke open, and it began to weep.
According to legend, when the Gods weep, what follows is a tremendous thunderstorm. The clouds opened up, and the tears of compassion for this particular bird and the animals in the forest turned into rain. The rain put out the whole fire. The animals were free. That little parrot took, what was for him, massive action. He did all he could with what he had. He moved in the direction of his faith, and the whole Universe supported him.
We, like that parrot, can do the same. We can move toward the direction of our faith, with whatever we have, doing all that we can, knowing unseen forces will support us.
Peace and Blessings,