Faith vs. Certainty

by Michael Maciel

Faith is not necessarily the same as certainty. It is, rather, more like the expectation that there is more to reality than we can perceive and that that reality is somehow supportive of the one we can see, touch, and feel.

Certainty and expectation aren’t the same. 

I live in a house that’s surrounded on all sides by the huge ranch it sits on. At night, it’s easy to forget how isolated it is. The inside is comfortable, well-lighted, and has everything I need for daily life.

It’s easy, when I’m focused on my work, to forget about the wider world. When the blinds are closed, the interior space of the house becomes, in a sense, all there is. My mind ends at the walls that separate me from the wildly natural world that stretches out for miles a few feet from where I sit. 

In the daytime, it’s entirely different. The blinds are open, and the hills, pastures, and vineyards (I live in Northern California) are right there, reminding me that I’m in Earth and not the cave of my living and dining rooms. The landscape I see is real—it’s unmistakably real. I’m in here and it’s out there, but the walls are transparent to the world, so it’s impossible to forget where I am.

But just as the walls at night seem to be the borders of reality itself, isn’t the world that I can so plainly see during the day just another kind of wall, just another kind of border? What if there were a greater daylight, one brighter than the visible sun, that would cause me to open a different kind of blinds, ones that would reveal that which is normally hidden from normal eyes?

Would that not substantiate my faith in higher worlds? Would it not prove that every limit of my experience is just another border, just another wall with just another set of blinds?

I would be a liar if I said that I have not seen what’s on the other side. But I would also be a liar if I claimed to know what’s on the other side of the other side. Oh, I’ve glimpsed it, but that hardly qualifies as knowing. And who knows how far that goes? How many other sides are there?

So, without the luxury of certainty about such things, I still expect that they’re there. And I expect that they all somehow work together, but I’m not so certain that I will ever understand completely how they do. 

And here I sit, nested within multiple walls, multiple borders, with only a limited perspective of what’s really out there and whether it ever ends, something I doubt I can know. So it’s useless to speculate about it. But as long as it all works together, that’s fine by me. I’m okay with that, no matter how big or how far it goes. 

Is that too much to expect? I don’t think it is.