How is Your Faith
I was watching Crown season 3 episode 7 ‘Moondust’, and I was awestruck by the brilliance of the story, direction and the acting of Matt Smith — the actor who played Prince Phillip. But what resounded with me more than any of that was the perspective that was shared by him.
He, in his capacity as the Prince, literally has everything or at least can get everything at his disposal or so you think. But then they show you, not everything really — he asks for a 15 minutes private meeting with the three astronauts and the manager very reluctantly agrees.
The beauty of perspective
He is in awe of the three astronauts who have just created history by landing on the moon and in his fan sort of appreciation has followed every second of that story. But later during his brief conversation, he realizes that these are no gods or superhumans.
With all due respect for their fantastic feat and historic achievement, they lacked the personality or the inspiration or wisdom that Prince Phillip was looking for in these young men.
And when he realizes they might have achieved this astounding success and written history but they are still some young astronauts who just delivered the mission successfully. When he realizes this, he confronts a group of middle-aged religious men and confesses to them that he has indeed lost his faith. The one person who made him realize that, was his mother who asked him a simple question — ‘How is your faith?’
What is Faith or Faithlessness?
Faith is that belief in your thoughts, your words, your emotions and the impact you create in the world.
As a kid, I used to wonder what is the meaning of this life if we all have to die eventually. Why not just live to exist but then within 5 minutes I would be distracted by my favourite TV show or a friend who would call me.
Now when I think about it, that little act of being part of the ecosystem shows I care about what’s happening around me, I want to laugh, cry, feel, jump, swim, write, paint, act. I want to live. I don’t want to merely exist. And that is faith. You believe in the larger good. You believe in the good and the bad. You believe in the give and take. You believe in creating and consuming. Faith is that belief in your thoughts, your words, your emotions and the impact you create in the world.
What happens when we lose this faith?
Lack of belief in anything
The solution to our problems lies in not having faith in what we do, what we achieve, or just who we are as people. Not having faith means not having full trust or confidence in someone or something.
“The loneliness, the emptiness and the anti-climax of going all the way to the moon and finding nothing but haunting desolation and gloom — that is what faithlessness is”
That happens because we don’t fully believe in the work that we do or believe that makes a remarkable difference to someone or add any value to the world. When even those words have little to no impact, all thoughts and actions prove futile. When a prince with all his resources and prowess can feel this utter lack of a sense of accomplishment, who are we — just some commoners with limited means.
Meaning of profoundness
Faith is that belief in your values, culture and tradition that defines you at a more profound social level.
I will give you another example. I am a Hindu by birth, but I lost all faith in religion because of witnessing Hindu- Muslim riots, consistent effort by our Government to communalise people and win vote-banks. I have read about how wars, genocides and some extreme atrocities that were committed to humanity all because of religion — this belief in a godly superpower whom we haven’t seen, heard or felt.
Again I am not an atheist fully. However, I don’t want to believe in a particular religion. I still want to be associated with Hinduism — that’s the religion I was born into as I am still part of the much larger community, society — culture, norms, traditions and everything that gives us a sense of belongingness. Yes, that’s all there is to it. I want to have a sense of identity and belongingness — I want to be part of the ‘Holi’ Parties at the beach and wear ‘Sari’ on Diwali, devour those ‘Gulab Jamuns’ and savour the ‘Pani Puri’. But that’s all to it. I would equally enjoy a Biryani at a Muslim household and sing Christmas carols with my Catholic friends.
In summary, we all have some deep-rooted beliefs and values that help us steer through various phases of life and make all of those zillion decisions every day. It helps us to forge a bond and connect with people at a deeper level.
Just like politics, to say you are apolitical doesn’t make you one, to say you don’t have faith in this world, doesn’t make you any less of a believer.
You have only lost that faith temporarily (if you ever do), you shall get it back as soon as you find meaning in the work you do and the value you add to the world.