When faith and hope are firmly rooted in daily devotional practices, one begins to grow in inspiration and joy. A widely-recognized symbol of faith is the mustard seed: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed … nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
The mustard seed itself is believed to have originated in India. The seed is small yet, when nourished and taken care of, this herb carries within the ability to grow into a 15-20 foot tree/ bush that protects God’s creatures within the shadow of it.
The parable of the mustard seed is used in East Asia as well, by Buddha in the 5th Century, in a lesson about doing away with the attachment that causes grief, in order to lead one to a better quality of life and, as a first step on the path to spiritual wisdom.
In the Upanishads there is a line: “Made of mind, bodies in breath, shaped in light, real of purpose, ethereal of soul, all-working, all-desiring, all-smelling, all-tasting, grasping this All, speaking naught, heeding naught - this is my Self within my heart, smaller than a rice-corn, or a barley-corn, or a mustard-seed, or a canary-seed, or the pulp of a canary-seed — this is my Self within my heart, greater than earth, greater than sky, greater than heaven, greater than these worlds.”
Destiny and all things work toward the greater good, as the mustard seed becomes a framework for receiving a spiritual teaching about overcoming obstacles and the importance of growing in faith and hope.
What kind of faith? It has been termed “a seed-like faith,” as a deep spiritual trust in the basic goodness of life. Master Jesus demonstrated this great love, a dauntless faith and a profound trust in God through teachings delivered in story and parable.
Focus is on a vital faith, where good comes before spiritual, and patience is a part of the training. The challenge is to accept the contradiction: Greatness flowing with the intention of benefit, as described in the metaphor “water of life,” even though its source may have been imperfect. It is said to be found at the edge:
“When you have come to the edge, of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly” (- P. Overton)
Grow wherever planted? Spiritual intentions need to be planted in the correct environment. Growth takes hold within the human experience of a soul, in similarity to the mustard seed realization of its potential as the tree. There is promotion of harmony between inner and outer worlds of existence, as disturbances are addressed to restore the natural equilibrium.
Awareness related to faith and hope is beneficial for body and mind, as well as one’s spiritual life. For example, the basis of the teachings about the centers of energy (chakras) is found in the ancient Vedas, with specific mention of technique for activation in the Upanishads. The chakras speak to the root of one’s existence, as place to do the internal work with openness of heart and a willingness to embrace the changes that lead to greater levels of awareness and vibratory states of being.
Affirmations are a gentle way of unfoldment, as they use the power of language to effect changes. It is a process of planting a seed in the unconscious that can produce a rich harvest in way of thinking, and eventually the whole attitude toward life.
- “I trust in the power of life, and I feel at home in my body."
- "I speak from and give/ receive unconditional love with an open heart, as I let truth be my guide."
- "I listen to my inner voice of intuition, while I am fully aware – in my body, thoughts and feelings."
- "The essence of my being is light and peace, as I open myself to the infinite power of God.”
Hope is greater when strength comes from kindness, as based on forgiveness and acceptance of faith. The inherent responsibility is to balance the material (body) and the emotional (soul), so that (pure in heart) spirit can manifest its wisdom and long-lasting happiness.
“Faith strips the mask from the world and reveals God in everything. It makes nothing impossible and renders meaningless such words as anxiety, danger, and fear, so that the believer goes through life calmly and peacefully, with profound joy – like a child hand in hand with his mother.” (- Charles de Foucauld)
Making oneself available to be of use in the hands of God/Creator; this is where realization of a soul’s true potential is remembered, and then shared forward as a sanctuary of stability and support.