FAITH


A true comprehension of that which is called Faith is of the utmost importance, especially if or when one is considering the subject of the Mind and its working - whether the subject is approached from the philosophical, religious or even the scientific viewpoint. If one might ask: why is that so, it is because (and the point will be expanded upon as we proceed further), Faith is the "vital element" which makes the power of thought a practical working asset, which Man may use in any area of his individual experience, instead of a mere paper theory.

One person actually commented that many authorities throughout history have often urged those who would listen to "have faith" in some particular creed, dogma or concept, but it is debatable how many of those same authorities actually helped their listeners to understand what Faith is, let alone guided them as to how to establish it.

A little investigation, which can be undertaken by virtually anyone, will reveal that this is no new revelation, but one that can be found - in one form, or another - in virtually every doctrine that has ever been recorded or expounded. Notwithstanding the various definitions and descriptions that exist, this can best be taken as a clear-cut indication, that the significance of Faith had been recognized thousands of years ago, and its significance is still valid, even at the present day.

As to what Faith is, there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of definitions, so that it would do little good to attempt to list them all. For the purpose of this discourse, the Author shall commence by stating perhaps the most basic description of what it is. Simply put, Faith is a Feeling or Emotion - albeit one of many such that all persons experience at one time or another.

If one goes a step further, one can even refer to one of the most widely-recognized definitions of Faith, irrespective of a person's religious or philosophical inclinations:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
- Hebrews 11:1, The Bible (King James Version)

This verse alone has been expressed in many varying forms, depending on the particular edition of the Bible from which it is taken, so that, no attempt will be made here to list all the various versions that exist. Instead, we shall, so-to-say, "walk-through" the particular version stated here, in order to come to a clearer understanding of the subject. If necessary, other references shall be drawn upon to complete the realization, but it is the Author's desire to express things in as simple a manner as possible.

Now, based upon one of its many definitions, "substance" constitutes that of which something is composed, or made. Similarly, to "hope for" a thing, is to exhibit the feeling of desire for that thing, together with some measure of confidence that it can be realized. Hence, it is possible to establish the argument that, if something that is hoped for exists, then it exists because the Faith or Belief in the existence of that thing is present. If the Faith is absent, the thing does not exist, and cannot come into being without it.

A little investigation will reveal that, even amongst the most ancient collections of knowledge that exist, which dealt with the subject of the Mind and its working, some (if not all) of the writers of those times, sooner or later came to the recognition and realization that, as stated before, Feelings or Emotions constituted the vital element that gave Thought or Mental Action its creative quality. Those wise individuals, each in their respective manner, deduced and recorded that Thought, when imbued or combined with Feeling, constituted an agency which would set the process of Creation into operation - both from the standpoint of the Original Creative Power (call it Spirit, Universal Mind, GOD, or any other name), as well as from the standpoint of Man - who, from all observations to date, is the only terrestrial lifeform capable of wielding and utilizing the Creative Power of Thought.

Dr. Joseph Murphy, recognized during his earthly life as a 20th-Century authority on the workings of the Mind, is generally credited with expressing that point in this manner:

"Thought fused with Feeling, becomes a Subjective Faith, or Belief. And according to your Belief, it is done unto you."

"Belief" may be defined as: confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. In passing, it is also noted that the terms "Faith" and "Belief" may be considered interchangeable, as, in a general sense, they both refer to a similar (if not the same) quality of feeling.

Another vital point is to note that the last part of Dr. Murphy's statement ("... according to your belief, it is done unto you."), which many might recognize from the New Testament (specifically, Chapter 9, verse 29, of the Gospel according to Matthew), is itself the concise statement of a universal principle, which may be generally defined as the Law Of Belief. In addition, and on the basis that the words Faith and Belief are interchangeable, that same phrase can be worded as "... according to your faith, etc.", yet conveying the same meaning. And if one turns to the Old Testament, it is also possible to find this principle stated therein (albeit in a different wording). Perhaps the most common version of the statement of this principle is the oft-quoted phrase: "As a man thinketh, so is he" - or, to be more accurate, one should refer to the complete version of that phrase:

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." - Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7 {King James version}

The significant portion of that phrase is "in his heart", which, as will be expounded upon further in another section, is not a reference to the organ which circulates blood throughout the body, but to that interior part of a person's mental constitution, known as the subconscious mind. Therefore, it is possible to equate "to think in one's heart", with the phrase: "to believe".

If it has not been considered previously, the visitor would do himself (or herself) well to grasp that Belief can actually work in both directions - either towards some outcome the person would deem desirable, or towards an undesirable outcome; of course, never in two opposing directions at the same time. This is because, as stated previously, the Creative Power of Thought is perpetually in operation, in accordance with the conditions that a person provides, which in turn determines the extent of the operation of the creative power - and the conditions referred to are the person's combined mental and emotional state, i.e., his or her Belief. Expressed another way, if a person's Belief is towards something deemed undesirable, then by the working of the Law of Belief, the conditions that inevitably show up in the person's life will correspond to that undesirable thing. And the converse is true, if the person's Belief is towards some desirable thing.

As to any proof or evidence to support any claims that have ever been made regarding the existence and working of the Law Of Belief, it is relatively easy in this Information Age to find countless examples of its operation in the lives of others. However, and as also mentioned elsewhere by this Author, the most satisfying proof for any inquirer is that which he or she discovers in his (or her) own experience, through introspection and self-analysis. Or, as expressed by another writer, who is today generally recognized as one of of those noted authorities on the subject:

"The reader can, if he so chooses, trace the actions of the laws of thought in his own mind and life, and until this is done, mere external facts cannot serve as a ground of reasoning."
- excerpted from "As A Man Thinketh" (c. 1902)


This, in the Author's opinion, leads us to the issue that often confuses those who are generally unacquainted with the subject of the working of the Mind - namely, how can a person acquire and keep Faith?

While there may indeed be numerous ways to answer that question, this Author shall offer the version stated hereunder, which was succinctly summed up by the phrase: "Faith comes by hearing,...", which is itself part of another quotation from the New Testament:

"So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
- Romans, chapter 10, verse 17, the Bible (World English Version)

That working of that phrase ("Faith comes by hearing,...") is actually something that each and every person can prove to be true is his or her own experience. Without stating any explicit examples, it is an established fact that, whatever we hear repeatedly, we inevitably come to believe (i.e., accept it as the truth), and we tend to hold onto that established belief, even if subsequently presented with evidence which challenges our belief. Expanding to the previous quotation (which will likely be expounded on further elsewhere), whatever thoughts or ideas we permit to reside in our minds (whether consciously or unconsciously), becomes our established beliefs.

And here, this Author shall interject a very vital point, regarding any endeavour to establish Belief towards any particular subject. Many of those same authorities - each in their own manner - caution the seeker that the establishing of Belief should be a conscious and deliberate exercise; for example, the Bible warns the reader against using "vain repetitions" (refer to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 6, verse 7). As an example of the correct methodology, Dr. Murphy often commented in his time that a person should know what they are doing and why they are doing it.

That the establishment of faith or belief can occur either consciously or unconsciously, also indicates another important point - namely, that a person can either operate on the basis of what can be called "blind" faith (i.e., he or she accepts and proceeds to act upon a thought or idea unquestionably), or they can establish faith through understanding. It is also of interest to take note of this point, concerning the above passage from the Book of Romans. Briefly, the word: "hear", as used in the Bible, does not strictly refer to the operation of hearing with the ear, but it can also be shown to mean: "to understand". To "understand" a subject means: to (mentally) grasp the idea which lies at the heart of that subject. Not surprisingly, this is also reflected from another quotation from the Bible - in this instance, out of the Old Testament:


"Yea, with all thy getting, get Understanding."
- excerpted from Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 7, The Bible (American Standard Version)

As will be expanded on in more detail elsewhere, it should be little or no surprise that the Bible (if and when the inner meaning of its contents is truly revealed) is one of the most excellent collections of wisdom and knowledge ever compiled. One authority even went so far as to describe it as "a handbook of instruction for the use of our Creative Power of Thought", and, in all fairness, a similar description might also apply to the sacred texts of other religions, once their inner meaning is fully comprehended. And it should also come as little or no surprise that most if not all of these sacred texts place a relatively high value on the importance of Faith.

And that is certainly something worth contemplating.



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Chapter 2 ("FAITH") of THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill


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