I recently spent several days in the hospital. I had a severe bronchitis that caused a six day asthma attack. I discovered just how deep my faith is during that time.
I had my husband bring my book of travel altars to the hospital. It has an altar for White Tara. Tara is a female Buddha who helps us when we are sick or depressed. She represents the ability of the body to heal. Tara vowed to remain in female form to show women that they too could achieve Enlightenment. She is also known as the "Mother of All Buddhas."
I found myself repeating her mantra over and over when I was in the hospital. It brought me some comfort. I think everyone looks to their faith when they have some difficulty. The question is which one? Do we turn to the faith of our childhood? The one we were born into? Or do we turn to the one we have chosen?
It would have been so easy to turn to the Christian God of my Grandparents, one who would heal me without question. One who would do all the work, I just had to lay back and let Him heal me. Instead, I turned to Tara, not to heal my sickness, but to give me the strength to heal myself.
Sometimes, we follow a faith, but aren't sure just how deep that faith is. We think we are one faith, like Buddhist, but it's under difficult circumstances that we really learn what faith we follow. Sometimes that childhood faith comes to the surface when we are in difficulty. You find yourself calling to the God and faith of your childhood. It's like it has remained buried and only rises when we are in need. Then we call out to the God of that faith in hopes we can be relieved of the suffering we are facing. And sometimes we call out to the new faith, the one we have chosen.
Faith is a funny thing, we think we know what it is and then realize that it's something entirely different. Difficult times brings out our true faith just as it brings out our true personality and buried fears.
Where do we turn in difficult times? Who do we call out to? Who do we lean on for strength and courage and comfort? That's how we find out just what faith we truly follow and believe in.