Practice: Resting In the Comfort of Your Faith | iHanuman


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Practice: Resting In the Comfort of Your Faith

Many of us say we have faith in God. We say we believe in prayer, we believe that God loves us and has a plan for our lives. But do we actually walk through the day feeling comforted, protected, and secure in those beliefs? Do we go to sleep at night knowing God is with us and is guiding us? Jesus said, "Take comfort and be of good cheer. I am with you always." Notice the two verbs, "take" and "be," suggesting that it is up to us. We must take comfort from His presence, not wait for it or hope for it. He is delivering the good news to our doorstep, but it is clearly up to us to open the door and let it in. So this practice is to take comfort in an active way.
One of my students told me she goes to sleep every night feeling confused and fretful. I asked her whether she believed that God knows and cares. She said yes. I asked her whether she believes her Guru knows and cares. She said yes. I asked her whether she believes that I know and care about her. She said yes. I said, "Well then, when you go to bed each night, why do you not feel as safe and protected and guided as a little child in a loving home? You have God, guru and teacher, you have these powerful forces watching over your life and your spiritual progress, why are you not enjoying them? If you go to bed each night feeling alone and confused, then what is the difference between having spiritual guides and not having them?"
It had not occurred to her that feeling comforted and safe was up to her. I made it clear that I was not talking about a guilt-driven sense of gratitude like "Oh, I know I should be happy for all I have been given." No, no. That's a concept. I don't care about concepts. I'm talking about snuggling up to your pillow feeling the comfort and good cheer of one who knows he or she is being watched over with great tenderness, even though many of our trials and tribulations may seem harsh.
So the practice emerged from that conversation. The practice is for night-time at first.
When you go to bed, calm yourself with a few deep breaths, and then feel the smile creep over your face, the security, the protection and guidance that you believe you have. If you are a Christian, then it is Christ's promises and presence you smile over, realizing you are never alone, even in that moment. If you are a Buddhist, it may be the Triple Refuge you smile over, or your confidence in your Buddha-mind awakening. Whatever faith tradition you revolve around, the smile is the same. You are on a path and you are known and loved. Enjoy it! Not conceptually, but right here and now. Every night, go to sleep feeling cared for and confident of your path or your faith.
This is a subtle and often difficult practice, because it may seem too simple or even silly. But it is not. You may have to call your own bluff about whether you really have faith in anything or not. If you do, then you should feel better when you go to sleep than someone with no faith in anything, shouldn't you? Well, then, why don't you? It is up to you to begin allowing yourself to "rest in the comfort" of whatever you believe in. Don't neglect this important component of the spiritual path - resting in your faith.
If you begin to go to sleep each night doing this practice, you will notice a big difference in your energy and attitudes. You will not feel so isolated, even if you're in a lockdown cell twenty-four and seven. You will be taking time each day to feel, to enjoy, the companionship you sincerely believe you have. What good does it to do to "know" you're not alone, and yet not enjoy the company? Like Wang Yang Ming said thousands of years ago, "To know and not to do is in fact not to know." I encourage you to try this deceptively simple practice and learn what it means to take comfort and good cheer. When it becomes easier to go to sleep every night feeling guided and cared for, then you will be able to extend the practice into the day as well.

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