A Leap of FaithAug 31, 2021
There are times in our life that require us to leave behind the old and familiar and step into the unknown. And when this call comes, we have two choices: we listen and follow it or deny it and learn to live with the regret it leaves behind buried deep within our souls.
Leaps of faith are exactly what their names suggests: they are huge jumps that take us forward in a way nothing else can. There’s nothing wrong with gradual advancements of our desires and plans but when a leap takes place it will push you forward with the combined force of years of slow advancements.
And they require faith because the results of these leaps are never guaranteed. It would be far too easy if they were. Everybody would take them all the time. But the beauty of a leap of faith is that it will always give you the feeling that you are jumping into the unknown. Move to a new country? Change of careers? Quitting your job to follow a dream? Plunge into a new passion? Fall in love? All these are leaps of faith.
But what if a leap of faith sometimes proves to be just a leap into illusion? What if it does not bring us anything good but it brings us undesired things instead? What if the relationship does not work out, the new job proves worse than the old one and the move to the other side of the world ends up in a premature return? How do we know the difference between a real leap of faith and a fake one?
Here’s my take on it: there are no fake leaps of faith. Anything that we do with the intention to take a big jump forward on our path will do exactly this: it will push us forward. Sometimes it will show us our illusions and it will shatter them. Some other times it will show us the wrong decisions we have taken in life or the wrong directions we have pursued. And other times it will cast light on some uncomfortable truth about ourselves and the people around us showing us things that we tried had and long enough not to see. It may feel hard, it may feel disappointing, and it may even feel wrong. But it never is wrong. The beauty of a leap of faith is that it will always – always - bring us closer to who we are deep down, our authentic self.
So, if it’s all good for us anyway, what stops us from taking leaps of faith in our day to day life? First of all, a culture of safety. We have lived for so long in a ‘safe’ environment and have worshipped this notion for so long that we can hardly imagine how it would be to leave this safety behind. And yet this safety is only an illusion. Life is not designed to be safe. If we stop and think, nothing is really safe in the world, safety is just a man-made notion that is designed to silence an even deeper enemy: fear.
Fear is primordial, ancestral and has always been with us humans. Fear is what kept our ancestors alive and what still keeps many animals alive out there, in the wilderness. But that fear had a purpose: it alerted us to danger. And once the danger passed we could relax for a while. But today, in our artificially 'safe' world, fear has no longer a clear purpose and therefore it never goes away. It lurks under the surface as anxieties and unspoken terrors. It comes up in our nightmares and we’re desperately trying to deal with it by making sure we abide by the rules of ‘safety’.
It tells us things like these.
“Don’t leave that job! What are you going to do if it goes wrong?”
“Don’t move to another part of the world! What are you going to do if you don’t like it?”
“Don’t divorce, you might regret it.”
“Don’t follow your passions, things may not work out.”
Stay in the safe job, the safe marriage and the safe home. Don’t take risks. This is what modern society with its constant obsession of ‘safety’ tries to teach us.
And yet our heart – that old untamed part of us, the part of us that still remembers who we are - pushes us do things differently.
“Take risks” it says. “Go discover what’s out there. Take life with both hands. Fulfil your dreams. Live your passions.”
And there’s only one thing that keeps these two roads apart: that fake concept of safety.
But what happens when you don’t take these leaps of faith? When you hear the call, when a leap of faith shows up and you shy away from it? Initially, nothing happens. Your life will carry on exactly as it did before. You may even congratulate yourself that you did well, you chose safely. But a part of your soul, that part that brought the leap of faith your way, will close up and depart together with the untaken opportunity. In order to carry on with your life you will need to cut away and hide this part of yourself, so that it can never remind you of the leap you have not had the courage to take. And this is what causes real pain.
I have taken many leaps of faith in my life. Some of them made me feel good. Some others didn’t. Some of them took me exactly where I wished to go. Some other plunged me into uncharted territory. Some turned out good and others even better. One thing is for sure: there was no leap of faith I ever took that I truly regret. There was none that took me away from myself, that took me back on the path of my own evolution. They all pushed me forward.
So here’s the one thing I have learned in my life about leaps of faith: when they come, follow their call. It’s far easier than dealing with the consequences of not doing so.
And now, as I get ready to take yet another leap of faith that life has brought my way, I cannot stop but wonder – where is this one going to take me?
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