Choosing between Faith & Fear
The biggest gift that existence or God has given us is the power of choice or free will. We are always free to choose every moment, our path. But in order to maintain order and continuity, certain laws have been put into place, like the law of gravity and the law of cause and effect. Free will comes with its own price tag, and comes under the purview of the law of karma or the law of cause and effect. Take what you want from life, but pay the price for it.
The river of life flows between two banks----faith and fear. Whichever bank you choose to travel on, you will eventually reach the destination, where the river of life empties into the ocean of life. This journey can be very short or very long, depending on the law of cause and effect from our previous ventures on earth. If you were to choose faith, your vehicle is designed and driven by God himself. After getting into the vehicle, you can sit back, put your feet up, relax and enjoy the journey. If you choose the other bank, you are on your own. You design your own vehicle, or take one designed by other human beings like you, and sit in the driverís seat. Till the journey's end, you are in charge, and you will have to be alert and awake, do all the hard work or driving, filling up fuel and air, keep your eyes on the road, and manage all the problems that come your way---bad roads, poor weather conditions, competitive drivers, animals straying on to the road, toll booths, traffic policemen, and many such hurdles. You can do it, but with lots of stress and strain and not a moment of rest.
Obviously, common sense tells us to choose the vehicle standing on the bank of faith, and it would appear that the vehicle on the fear side would always be empty and available. Surprisingly, it is the other way around. Very few climb onto the faith vehicle; most would rather sit in the driverís seat and take responsibility than let God be the driver. And who or what is it that makes this decision? It is our own mind. As we think about boarding the faith vehicle, our mind is filled with doubts and questions. What if there is no God? Are we being foolish in getting into an unknown vehicle? Will the vehicle move at all? And will it take us to our destination? Will we suffer? Will we get food and drink on the way? Will we enjoy the journey? Most often, the mind answers us with a big NO. No, says the mind, donít take a chance. Why not become responsible? You can trust yourself, because you know yourself. You donít know anything about God. How can you put your trust in the unknown?
So, more often than not, we listen to our mind, our thoughts, and we decide that we will avoid the faith vehicle. But having zoomed off in the fear vehicle, we run into plenty of rough weather. And then we remember that we could have taken the other vehicle. So, we pray to God to save us. The beauty of the river of life is that at any moment, with just a thought, a person can shift from his own self driven vehicle to that driven by divinity. So, in our moment of worry, fear, anxiety, suffering, loss, guilt or greed, we make the shift and find ourselves in the faith vehicle.And temporarily, we feel relieved. But soon, we feel that the faith vehicle is moving too slowly, and that it is often going nowhere. We also find out that we just cannot control the faith vehicle, it has an agenda of its own, which we often don't understand, and which doesn't always seem to favour us. We exit and go back to our fear vehicle. And life continues in this fashion, till all of us reach the end of our respective journeys.
If we could completely let go, surrender and give ourselves up to God and his ways, life would be immediately filled with immense peace, harmony, love and happiness. Even the effects of bad karma from the past could be mitigated or reduced. But then we are no longer the doers and things will only happen to us and through us. But the mind and ego have no work if we are not doers. They convince us to take charge, to become something or somebody, to clamor for money, assets, name, fame and praise. Since these might or might not happen when we are non-doers, we let go of our let go, and jump back into doer-ship. The sansar Ďchakraí or the wheel of existence keeps moving, in this fashion.
Think about it. The choice is always open till the last moment. Where do you want to be----with faith or with fear? When the journey ends, it might not matter which vehicle you choose, but the journey itself will matter. And at the end of your journey, God will not be bothered whether you choose faith or fear, as long as you reach your destination. It is for your own sake that you must make the right choice. It is my belief that when you choose faith, even the irrefutable law of karma has a reduced or little effect on you. It is effective only for the doer, not for the non-doer. This is also the essence of one of the greatest texts of the world, The Bhagwad Geeta.
Source : P V Vaidyanathan