What Is Faith?

By Rev. Robert Brumet
What Is Faith?

Faith, like wholeness itself, is a divine idea. A divine idea exists beyond the domain of time and space. We cannot describe it, define it or conceptualize it. A divine idea has infinite possibilities for expressing itself within the realm of time and space. As with any divine idea, we can know faith only through direct experience. It is like the wind; we can see its effect but we cannot see the thing itself.

Faith can be expressed as a so-called miracle, and faith can be expressed in the quiet workings of nature. Its true character is a mystery. Its manifestations may be mysterious or commonplace. Faith is the power to see a possibility, and it is the power to realize that possibility.

Faith is the power to make the possible real. The object of our faith becomes real for us. Our very sense of reality depends on faith. It is the power that realizes (that is, makes real) images held in the mind.

Faith is intrinsic within the mind of every human being. It operates within each of us. We are often admonished to “have faith,” but actually we cannot not have faith! Faith is fundamental to our nature. To have faith usually means to focus our faith in a particular direction. Yet faith is always operating in our consciousness, no matter how doubtful or fearful we may feel.

Fear is faith turned inside out. Fear is having faith in certain images created by the mind rather than having faith in the creative power of the mind itself. Our fearsome mental images may have their origin in prior personal experiences, or they may be the result of cultural conditioning. These memories may be filled with strong emotions. If we do not discharge this emotional energy from the body, these images will continue to haunt the mind. As we put our faith in these images, we make our fear real and thus we give it power over us. (The word fear can be used as an acronym for false evidence appearing real.) A story from the East tells of an artist who painted a large picture of a tiger on the wall of his house. He was a very good artist and the pictured appeared so real that he became afraid to enter his own house! So we, too, may frighten ourselves with our own imaginings when we imbue them with reality.

In a sense, we choose our reality because we, knowingly or unknowingly, choose where we place our faith. Very early in life we develop the perceptions that create our sense of reality. The choice of where we place our faith soon becomes habitual and unconscious. By the time we become adults, these habituated perceptions are deeply entrenched in the subconscious.

What we perceive to be reality is the result of several factors. One of these factors is our human physiology. Our physical characteristics are largely the result of our biological evolution. The physical characteristics of our sense organs and brain cause us to perceive the external world as it appears to us.

According to Carl Jung, we also have certain innate mental characteristics that affect our perception of reality. He called these characteristics archetypes. These archetypes influence the way we perceive and interpret the experiences of our lives. Which particular archetypes may influence us and how they influence us are the results of many factors. Our stage of life is one factor. Our culture and our particular era of human history are also factors in determining our perception of reality.

We also know that our personal histories affect our perceptions of reality. The characteristics of our families or origin strongly impact the way we see ourselves and our world. Certain life experiences—especially if intense or traumatic—may also impact the way we see certain people or circumstances.

Faith is the power to create our reality by our perceptions, our beliefs and our interpretations. Seeing is believing, and yet believing is seeing. According to our faith, our world reveals itself to us and becomes real.


Excerpt from The Quest for Wholeness

Robert Brumet is the author of Birthing a Greater RealityFinding Yourself in Transition and The Quest for Wholeness. He is an ordinained Unity minister and taught courses in pastoral counseling, meditation and spiritual development at Unity Institute