Apr 16 2014

Tracey Jackson

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DREAMS, Faith, Goodness

I BELIEVE IN BELIEF

I BELIEVE IN BELIEF

This week is the trifecta of Holy Days in the Judea Christian world.

We started with Monday and Tuesday being devoted to Passover, the holiest of holy holidays in the Jewish religion. And we end the week with Good Friday and Easter, the high holy days of Christianity.

Being somewhat of a spiritual mutt myself I celebrate everything.  I took off my cross, replaced it with my Hamsa and attended a Seder Monday evening.  I will do something to celebrate Easter, though I’m not sure what. Born a Jew, raised a Christian, I tend to nosh from the smorgasbord of most religions.

Here at Gratitude and Trust we encourage faith.  Faith in anything. We don’t care what it is.

Our second affirmation is ~

I Don’t Know How To Do This But Something Inside Me Does.

Which simply means, just go with something. Hand it over. If you do have an organized faith group you are a member of that is great. If you don’t, there is redemptive relief in being able to say – something outside of me knows more than I do. Someone, somewhere is watching over me. I am not alone in this. Whatever this is.

I can sum up my personal spiritual philosophy very succinctly – I believe in belief.

I’m not so crazy for fundamentalism, or trying to convert others.  But I believe in the power of belief. And nothing has quite the impact of collective belief. Thousands of hearts beating in spiritual harmony is a very powerful sound.

So whenever I travel I am drawn to Churches, Mosques, Temples, any house of worship where I can witness belief in action.

I just believe in believing.

Several weeks ago I was in Mexico City with my husband.  As always I sought out every Church I could.

We were there on a Sunday and made our way to Villa de Guadalupe. It is the holiest Roman Catholic Shrine in Latin America. And it also gets the most visitors of any  Catholic Church in the world outside of the Vatican.

It is the Catholic Church that is totally devoted to the Virgin Mary.

It is far from the prettiest religious complex I have ever seen. In fact the Nueva Basilica that was built in 1976 looks like something that might exist in Arkansas. But without question outside of India I have never been surrounded by so much pure religious veneration in one space. Two hundred and fifty thousand people go there on  a typical Sunday. I can only imagine how many will show up this Sunday to celebrate Easter.

It’s pulsating with faith, belief, sadness, poverty and exaltation. At one point I stood in the middle of the square and cried from the sheer power of all that love: The pure love and belief  these people have for the Virgin Mary.

Personally, that is not my belief. It is perhaps the biggest problem I have with embracing Christianity. But that is irrelevant – I believe in belief. And when I am enveloped by it, I let its power overwhelm me.

Whatever you believe – for many this your week.  Love. Pray. Cry. Laugh. Feast. Rejoice. And then take that feeling with you, try and bottle it up, or tuck it deep in your heart.  And then on those days when one is not celebrating major religious holidays you can draw on it.  Take a sip from your belief cup.  Draw on that belief for sustenance love, and strength.  Give back, Be grateful. Trust. Because belief in any form is just that – trust.

Happy Easter. Happy Passover a few days late.  Happy Belief.

The old Basilica. People tend not to go now as it's slopping as you can see. They ironically don't believe t will not fall down.

The old Basilica. People tend not to go now as it’s slopping as you can see. They ironically don’t believe t will not fall down.

The newer structure that packs them in. It sits directly across from the older one.

The newer structure that packs them in. It sits directly across from the older one.

 

There are the more traditional believers.

There are the more traditional believers.

And those who believe bears have a unique power too.

And those who believe bears have a unique power too.

There are those who come from the mountains bridging their own symbols of their devotion to the Virgin Mary.

There are those who come from the mountains bridging their own symbols of their devotion to the Virgin Mary.

There are those who show their belief and devotion by walking on there knees in hopes their prayers will be answered sooner.

There are those who show their belief and devotion by walking on there knees in hopes their prayers will be answered sooner.

There is childhood belief. Or ways to get your kids to believe with you.

There is childhood belief. Or ways to get your kids to believe with you.

There are groups who come together all united in their belief.

There are groups who come together all united in their belief.

There are thousands of candles - the burning fire of belief.

There are thousands of candles – the burning fire of belief.

 

There are the tens of thousand packed into the new Church taking part in the service.

There are the tens of thousand packed into the new Church taking part in the service.

There is the symbol of the Cross, marked with the date that Columbus brought Christianity to this part of the world.

There is the symbol of the Cross, marked with the date that Columbus brought Christianity to this part of the world.

 

There are the thousands of people wandering around the grounds just basking in belief.

There are the thousands of people wandering around the grounds just basking in belief.

 

Dressed up and dancing to show their belief.

Dressed up and dancing to show their belief.

What the hundreds of millions of Catholics believe in - The Virgin Mary.

What the hundreds of millions of Catholics believe in – The Virgin Mary. This is who they come here to see.

 

Tracey Jackson

Tracey Jackson is a screenwriter and blogger at traceyjacksononline.com. Her book Gratitude and Trust is now available.

  • Michael Gullickson

    There is a beautiful church in Zuni New Mexico where the inside walls are decorated with a mural devoted to the ceremonies of the Zuni tribe. There are so many paintings that when the final section is done, the first section begins to fade and the cycle must begin again. It is worth going out of your way for… the nearest city is Gallup. Mother Theresa went to visit as did Jackie Onassis. It also has an angel staircase that has no visible means of support. When you go up it you have a view of the church which is remarkable. It is a holy place of our countries history. A few miles further is a spot called inscription Rock which has messages left behind carved into it from the wagon trains that passed by and just above it remnants of an old village. It’s worth the pilgrimage, as is this journey we are all taking together…

    • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

      I will remember that. I think there is something to be seen and savored in most houses of worship.
      Blessings to you Michael

  • Elissa Bell-Bassett

    Tracey, This is a wonderful posting and more in keeping with my beliefs.It does feel liberating as well as somehow safe and peaceful to believe I’m not going through everything here on Earth alone.I can join like this, and gather with others at places where there is an abundance of faith, or sit quietly and see it in nature.All I know is that for me personally, I’m free to drink from the many cups of faith and that nourishes my soul, my whole being.Take care and thanks to you and Paul for creating this unique place to come and share something else – gratitude and trust others are in this search for serenity with us.Much peace, Elissa…

    • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

      At their core most religions are about the same things. It is belief. It is right action. It is giving back. They are just handled in different ways. I think drinking from many cups of faith is nourishing for some and others need their drink of choice. Acceptance and tolerance at the core.
      Have a blessed Good Friday.

      • Elissa Bell-Bassett

        I couldn’t have put it better ,Tracey. My cup runneth over in so many ways…Have a great weekend everyone here! !

        • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

          What a lovely thing to say. We are all blessed in many different ways.
          Enjoy this weekend, whatever your belief may be.

  • Steppie Royes

    One of my favorite lessons, in the religion college course I’ve taken, was about discovering the numerous paths to God. Each way is different and no way is wrong or right. This is one of the many things I love about G&T. It offers an open-mindfulness that allows us to share our personal views and beliefs without the fear of being judged. Great blog, Tracey!

    • http://www.traceyjacksononline.com/ Tracey Jackson

      Thank you Steppie. I love that each way is different and no way right or wrong. If the world cold embrace that it would be a much nicer place for us all. Don’t ya think? You are never judged here. No way. No how.

  • Bryan Castner

    So sorry to be responding so late on this topic, Tracey. I guess in the grand scheme of things, time is not so important, maybe…

    My parents lived in Mexico City for much of the ’70’s, but I never got to see the villa de guadalupe during any visits. I did see the great pyramids of Teotihuacan, which were magnificent. Being face to face with the remains of an ancient culture’s core beliefs, in fact, their existence, was beyond description.

    After climbing to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and then making our way back to the car, I wandered off the promenade to a partially-buried door I spotted – it looked like an old cellar door – and, of course, tried to open it. It was locked, but as I started to walk away, the door opened. An older man poked his head out and asked us (in Spanish) if we would like to come down and see the chamber! We did. Climbed down a ladder. The walls were covered with images, which the workers were in the process of restoring. I’d always hoped that those underground chambers, located along the mall between the two major pyramids, would eventually be opened to the public.

    I too participate in the smorgasbord of religion. The more I learn about people’s beliefs in supreme beings and higher powers, the more fascinating and mysterious the world becomes to me.

    I’ve always found the work of Joseph Campbell to be captivating, particularly The Power of Myth. How cool must it have been to spend your life learning about and teaching folks the religions of the world? One of Campell’s postulates was that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. I realized that first hand when I had taken an anatomy and physiology class: When we got to cell biology, I was in awe of what goes on in each and every cell in every living thing. That stuff can’t be made up! Who did that? Who designed that?

    It seems to me that however far science takes us, whatever the farthest reaches of current science may be, there one would necessarily find God. Even the evolutionary thread has to lead to something.

    It’ s the greatest mystery we have and I love it.

    So while it may be a good thing to separate church and state, church and science seem to be inseparable. Could it be that science and religion, in their purest forms, validate each other?

    For me, that makes belief very easy.

    I hope you enjoyed Mexico City.