Over the last month, the importance of having faith has been coming up again and again for me. Not religious faith, but faith in life. Faith in myself and in the knowledge that I will be able to handle the hurdles of life as they come.
In our contemporary culture, we often undervalue intuitive knowledge. We are expected to quantify everything, and anything that cannot be translated into a number – dollars earned, pounds lost, etc. – is not considered valuable. This has an extremely detrimental impact upon our ability to trust ourselves. When making decisions in life, analysis will only get us so far. We may write down all the positives and negatives of a particular decision but still find ourselves at a loss.
This is where faith comes in. When making decisions in life – whether it’s choosing what career path to follow, what city to live in, or whom to let into our hearts – informing ourselves is important. But after we have analyzed all of the facts, the final choice often comes down to intuition – a rather indefinable feeling that emanates somewhere in our gut. We each have a higher wisdom that knows what is right for us, but we are often too afraid to listen to it.
Faith cannot be quantified, so we are often afraid of appearing foolish for making a decision simply because it feels right. But more often than not (though not always, of course) listening to that feeling is the most sensible course of action.
It is easy to misunderstand faith. Listening to that feeling in your gut doesn’t mean just acting on an uninformed impulse. In fact, intuition is the opposite of impulsiveness. Intuition is a wisdom that includes but also transcends the quantifiable, whereas impulsiveness is the act of making a decision without thinking it through or listening to any kind of wisdom. Intuitive knowledge sometimes comes to us more quickly than quantifiable knowledge, however, so it is often confused with impulsiveness.
In a society that values the concrete and easily defined, it is not always easy to have faith in our intuitive knowledge. But it is imperative that we do so if we hope to lead lives of authenticity.