As a child, when I discovered that Timbuktu was a real place – that it actually existed – I was delighted. For me, that put paid to the fallacy of urban myths and legends. I grew inclined to listen to them all because in part each one tells a truth. There is always comfort in the truth, no matter what the cost. The truth IS what brings inner peace – eventually. Before peace comes the inevitable facing of facts and figures, the empirical equation-solving. If you are an empiricist, yippee for you. I, fortunately, am not one of those. My truths come hard, and fast, and I assimilate them quickly. You can do that when you trust yourself implicitly.
If you should find yourself in a predicament, not knowing which way to head except Timbuktu, it is helpful to remember that Timbuktu is absolutely the arse end of nowhere. It may take the longest time to get there but when you do, you will understand why it takes such a long time to arrive. Timbuktu is home to a great many wayward pilgrims. It is the resting place of the brave. And ‘resting’ in my world is not synonymous with ‘dead’. It means repose. Reflection. Ultimately, contentment.
I think the houses in Timbuktu are probably invisible. Like its people. That is why Timbuktu became an urban legend – because no one ever got there before, or saw it. It decided it would one day become real, like a town on a map.
And that – is actualisation.
The bottom line is that it does not matter what you have faith in, as long as you do have faith in something. Perhaps in these fractured times the only thing you feel comfortable having faith in, is yourself. If that is the case, know that that is enough. When you believe in what you can do – in your individual capacity, and as part of a collective – you harness a power that will surprise you with where it can take you, and others. Should you wish to believe in a power higher than yourself (which is all relative, for what you find in yourself is what has existed for centuries in all of the gods, God, Allah, Dreamtime, Nature, etc, feel justified in doing so. You are a reflection of what you find admirable in your chosen deity/deities.) You can believe in more than one deity, if you so choose. All the ‘good’ characteristics that you try to adopt, emulate, exist inside of you already so it matters not which ‘good’ you ultimately choose to follow, it is all the same thing, really. That should be a comforting thought.
Faith means dedication. It means understanding and application. Simply believing in something and trusting its say-so is not enough, you need to do something with your faith. Make it work for you. That is what it is for. Faith is not there to subjugate you, to cripple your progress, so if what you choose to believe in makes you lesser rather than greater as a human being, then perhaps you need to shuffle your belief systems a little, or change your faith.
Faith is a symbol of hope. It keeps you striving for better, going forwards. Faith should have no boundaries, no restrictions. Nor should a person’s faith receive criticism or judgement from another person. You should be able to open wide to the understanding that placing your implicit trust in something is not a weakness. It is a strength. For one reason or another, humans go far further in life when they believe they are supported somehow, by something, in this world. Perhaps what you believe in is not ‘of’ this world, technically, but faith means you know it is out there and it makes a difference to your everyday, the knowing. Faith has extraordinary power, and this power – when properly directed – can change an entire existence.