Assumptions we make – is it faith?

In my last post I talked about one of the dimensions of faith – a dimension which is based on experience and analysis, a dimension where I see what me believe and hence each such experience makes me stronger. As I delved in on this idea, I discovered some more dimensions of faith.

At numerous occasions in my day to day life I believe in different people / situations without any proof or logic.

For example, I am not feeling well and I go to a doctor. The doctor diagnoses and writes a prescription, even though I neither completely understand the diagnosis nor understand a single damn thing written in the prescription, I still believe in my doctor and take the medicine. I do not ask for logic of how the medicine would affect different parts of my body, what change would it bring different glands in the body and how the anomaly in my body will be cured. Is it not an unwarranted assumption that I would be just fine?

I travel by airplane or train but I hardly bother questioning who is really driving the airplane? I mean, I would never have perfect judgment whether the pilot has enough flying experience so that I can trust him. I just somehow assume that I would have a safe journey. Why then I do not ask about the logic and proof of having a safe journey?

This earth is moving at tremendous velocity around its own axis and at the same time it’s orbiting around the sun, on top of that hundreds of earth like planets are present in the galaxy and they are related to each other with an unknown equation. The slightest of error in that equation can result in complete destruction of the Earth, still every night I sleep with one assumption that I will get up tomorrow morning alive. Why do I not ask for logic in this case?

In pithy, unconsciously, I come across myriad situations in my life in which I make unwarranted assumptions. 

As I am becoming aware of reality with Vipassana, I am becoming aware of the these assumptions and as a result I am becoming increasingly compassionate of every thing that is offered to me. I am becoming aware of the things that are by default available to me.

So, when I get up the morning. I am aware and thankful to an unknown (some people call it God but as a Vipassana students its still an unknown energy to me) that I am still alive.

When I eat, I am thankful to hundreds of people who contributed to giving this food to me – this includes the farmer who sowed the grain to the trader from whom I bought the grain to my wife who made that food for me and so on. I am becoming more generous to the things offered to me.

I came across this dimension of faith – a dimension in which I was living in complete faith but still I was not aware of it. I believe this awareness developed through Vipassana has made me more generous, more compassionate. Now, I am not taking things for granted but am duly thankful to every person who contributed in making that thing happening for me. My mind is filled with generosity and munificence.

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6 Responses to Assumptions we make – is it faith?

  1. Anonymous says:

    This biggest assumption is I AM. I am this or that. I was bad, I am bad, oh wait, I am getting better, compassionate, … Uh, what am I?

  2. Lisa Griffiths says:

    Mhm, it’s quite amazing how much we trust the unknown! in psychology there’s a name for this logical short-cutting, it’s called heuristics or bounded rationalism.

    I still can’t believe I feel safe riding in the passenger seat a car, but I do! 🙂

  3. John Eden says:

    One of the three pillars of Buddhism is Great Faith – but according to the Buddha, faith is where you start and why you start. You begin on the path because you have some degree of faith in what you have seen and heard, so you are willing to try it. But, Buddha says, then you find out for yourself what the teachings and the practice do for you and you move from faith into insight, understanding, and eventually knowing through direct experience what is true for you, so you no longer need faith. It’s the boat that helps you across the river. When you get to the other side, you leave the boat and go on.

    • Ryan Shelton says:

      I have trouble with these types of lessons because I inevitably start craving or intellectualizing. When I read the Buddha’s thoughts on faith I feel like I should rush across the river and get rid of the boat. With this practice being so new to us I think we forget about the time scale of these journeys. It could take 3 lifetimes for me to experience the other shore and that’s okay. That’s the natural process. I need and currently embrace my faith in this practice and I’ll just have to observe with equanimity how this will change with time. Interesting topic!

      • John Eden says:

        I think you’re right – it’s highly variable, and we to some extent are always relying on the faith that the process is going to continue to develop as it has… of course, there are the other two pillars, Great Doubt and Great Effort, which kinda balance it out and help avoid the craving for certainty. The Great Doubt part is that healthy skepticism of not just relying on the word of others but to test it out for yourself. The Great Effort we know all about, right?!! It’s never easy, this path.

  4. Sanket Mali says:

    Nice to see the post has stirred some intellectual discussions. Keep posting, I am still thinking about these comments and soon my post my views.

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