on bright faith and why falling in love is totally uncool
The Buddhists have a term for a particular flavor of faith: bright faith. This is not the bedrock kind of faith that grounds your psychology, spirituality, or devotion. It’s not the assurance/insurance kind of faith where we hope/trust that life will come through for us.
It’s the Holy wow, I’m standing at the beginning of something that is so insanely ripe with potential that I wanna get naked and roll all over it right now, while singing rock opera…kind of faith. It makes you grin and do uncharacteristically impulsive and obsessive things. Bright faith chugs downs exhilaration at every pit stop.
“This is a state of love-filled delight in possibilities and eager joy at the prospect of actualizing them. Bright faith goes beyond merely claiming that possibility for oneself to immersing oneself in it. With bright faith, we are lifted out of our normal sense of insignificance, thrilled as we no longer feel lost and alone. The enthusiasm, energy, and courage we need in order to leave the safe path, to stop aligning ourselves with the familiar and convenient, arise with bright faith.”
- Sharon Salzberg, Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience
Bright faith is primal to creativity.
Bright faith is essential to falling in love–with people, with causes, with your own unfolding self.
Bright faith can be unnerving, slightly embarrassing, and awkward. We are trained to resist it, and we do so at the cost of innovation and the passion we crave.
THE CLARITY THAT CRAZY BRINGS
Here’s a headline for a life resume: “Selectively, but wildly excitable.” I adore exclusively stoked people. They’re discerning — not everything is a great opportunity, in fact, golden ops are rare. But when they see something that glimmers with uniqueness, or resonates with their reason for being, they just they freak the fuck out. This is how brainstorming goes with brightly faithful people: “Hmmm. Uh huh. Nope. Nah. No. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Ooh. Ahh. Wait a second. Holy shit, yes yes, yes, oh my God, we could…and then we could…and it would be so…and Holy yes and…I’ll sell it all if I have to…and what am I going to wear when I accept the award?! Who will we invite to the wedding?! How big do you think we can build it? Excuse me while I make a phone call.” They go OFF.
It’s illogical, and grandiose, crazy, and most certainly romantic. It’s FAITH. But these are the essential ingredients for breaking through mediocrity and cynicism. Bright faith is a divine kind of madness. And what the Spocks of the world don’t quite get is that the chaotic sparks of bright faith actually burn a path to clarity of mind.
To create things of beauty — in form or between two people — it’s a passion first, discrimination second formula. And yep, it’s dangerous.
COOL IS DULL
If I have to choose between two service providers with similar skill and equal pricing, I’ll always go with the one who expresses their excitement. I did a gig recently with someone who said, “Oh my God, I’m so excited to work with you! I’m going to hang up the phone and do the happy dance.” She was so uncool about it all. No pretense, just joy and bright faith in how much fun we could have. So then I said, “Me too! Now I’m really stoked. I’ll do the happy dance when I hang up too. Let’s do this!”
My best strategic meetings have been the most uncool. Un-self-conscious. Everyone comes to the table with bright faith. They’re happy to be there and they say so.
Bright faith shows up at the beginning — that extremely precious and fractional space when you need as much light as you can to see which way you want to go. The more possibilities you let shine — the more you shine with possibility — the more lucid and discerning you can be.
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