What’s in your heart these days? If you could articulate your heart’s message right now, what would it say? What words? What colors? What textures? What shapes would it take?
Where do you place your heart? Who do you offer it to? What are you dedicated to?
In Sanskrit, Shraddha is the word for Faith. It literally translates as; Where you place your heart.
I love that, because it takes away the need to believe, and offers, instead, the invitation to devote ourselves to the things we care about. It calls for investment in feeling. It directs us away from certainty and into vulnerability. It asks us to consider what matters to us, what turns us on, what sparks our light, what burns us bright, what makes us love, what draws us into presence, what inspires our dedication. It generates deep engagement in what is meaningful to us.
Sharddha anchors us in closeness, in intimacy. If we think of faith as trust, then this snuggles into the eye of the needle – trust, usually, needs to be established in a certain level of intimacy. Even the beauty of believing in oneself, emerges from the complex tangles of closeness within. Blind faith is not responsible. Trust needs to be grounded in proof. It needs to be contained within boundaries. It needs to be cultivated.
Sharddha invites us into the process of choosing what we make life about. Where you place your heart, what you do with your gifts, who you choose to be, how you show up, where you direct your attention… Shraddha is an empowering endeavour.
You hear me say this a lot; I’m not a faith based person.
And if you are, please know that I respect that! We all see things, feel things, and move through things in different ways. Our needs are different. Our perspectives are different. YAY for that!
I love astrology, but I don’t “believe” in it. It’s a beautiful journey through archetypes, and nature, myths, and some super interesting ideas. It opens up possibilities for us to understand ourselves and the world. But I have to remind myself that the universe has been here way before we humans arrived on the map, and that this intergalactic extravaganzic organization of the cosmos was invented by people. Those connections are made by humans. The constellations are seen by humans. Some of them were seen in different shapes than the ones we know today (Leo, for example, was seen as a bear in ancient Egyptian times). They’re not facts. They’re beautiful stories.
I really enjoy learning about Tarot these days. But I don’t believe that the cards that I pick have supernatural powers. I do enjoy interpreting, exploring, learning, and co-creating with them. They teach me about me, about others, about life. They are evocative. They are like art. They’re not facts. They’re not false either. They don’t give me answers, they open up channels of conversation.
Instead of faith, I lean into myth, metaphor, interpretation. Life is artwork – to receive, and to create. Every story, every experience, every archetype, every tree, every conversation, every sensation, or emotion – everything becomes a teaching, an invocation, a reflection, a rich anchor in the cultivation of self, and of relationship with environment, a doorway into expression.
Growing up in Israel, I’ve seen what faith can do – how it creates war, how it can devalue human life, how – to use my mom’s words – it makes stones more important than people. War over land, over structures, over the rights to, and ownership of an imaginary friend in the sky.
I grew up in an atheist household. Jewish, atheist home. That’s a topic for a different conversation, but yeah, while Judaism is a religion, it’s also no longer its only definition. It’s an ethnicity, a culture, a story. It makes some people spin, because it breaks out of the boxes they so comfortably put the world in. But yes, you can be an atheist jew.
And… Being an atheist is also a form of faith.
Sometimes I feel as though beliefs close off possibilities. If someone believes in something, the conversation can’t go much further. How can you argue with someone’s faith?
It is belief that stands behind racism, sexism, xenophobia, and prejudice perspectives. Faith stands as a pillar that supports the structures of oppression, injustice, and inequality in our society.
Swimming in the murky waters of the Wellness Industry for nearly two decades, where you hear people refer to “their truth” with a capital T as something that is more credible than facts, has made me realize again and again – it is impossible to argue with faith, because when it comes to faith, facts no longer apply.
It has shown itself as particularly dangerous in the last four years, coming into climatic proportions during this last year, culminating with the QAnon Shaman with his belief system, his infamous horns, and his out of touch with reality participation in the insurrection at the capitol last month.
We each have our experiences. We have an inner compass. We are entitled to have opinions. It is healthy to have a society with a multitude of perspectives, wide range of opinion, and diversity of thoughts, cultures, and ideas. It is actually quite beautiful when different faiths come together to work for common goals of justice and equality, and to celebrate progress.
But often, faith puts a limit on progress. When belief comes into the conversation, reason leaves. Faith has an end game, an answer, and a solution. Faith tells the person they know better than the experts.
Now, I am ALL FOR us checking with our bodies, listening to what our inner wisdom says, and trusting our voice, our gut, and making choices informed by that.
But what ever happened to facts? To the weight and reliability that comes with proof? We live in an age where you can show someone numbers and pictures, and they can reply with “Well, I don’t believe in it.” Where is there to go from here?
Where you place your heart, however, drops you into the core of what matters to you, into the wider, or tighter places, into wiser spaces, into the depth of desire and the expanse of love. It is less about outcome, and more about process. It allows for the conversation to continue. It pulls you into a continuous revolution of self, and pushes you towards the evolution of a collective.
Where do you place your heart?