What happens when we have a crisis of faith? People often ask me how I do it…how I seem to maintain this fierce devotion and conviction I have in my priestly life, and in general as a spiritual practitioner. People look at the way I live…the beautiful shrines I maintain, the dazzling rituals I get to perform, the way I strive to maintain and restore the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) traditions…and people seem to feel that it is effortless, or that I have the direct line to text message the Gods!
The funny thing is that I have spent much of my life feeling that I fall very short of the kind of spiritual person I seek to be. The closer I get to the doorway of the Gods, the more I am disappointed in how I have maintained my relationship with Them. I pray constantly, I perform the rituals ordained by the historic record…I keep the cult images sacred and share the festival offerings. I try as hard as I can to live a good life, a life in Ma’at, the Truth, the Right Way. Still, I feel that I have not quite fit the part.
I think we all feel these things at times, but what do we do about it? There are times when I ache so badly to be united with the Netjeru that I feel a terrible loss and hole in my heart. I realized quite a while ago that I was born with this feeling of loss, this hole in my heart, this sadness. It occurred to me that the only way I could soothe it was through love, devotion, and service.
Some people tell me that worshiping or serving the Gods is a demure state of affairs, that being humble before any deity is too much like organized religion, that it debases humankind. How can LOVE debase or degrade? How can service make us demure? How can worship, an act of true love, bring us low? One thing the human heart cannot argue against is TRUE LOVE! And just what is true love?
True love is altruistic, it seeks to give without expectation of a reward or recompense of any kind. True love only gives, and receives only in an unselfish manner. When we give to the Gods without expectation, this service manifests the same response from the ones to whom it is given. This is not a subservient or demure act, but an act of strength and freewill. It is the most excellent form of action, worship and love of which the human condition is capable. When we master this in our relationship with the Gods, then we can turn this outward, beyond ourselves, in order to give it to others. This makes others our equals. It uplifts our personal relationships, our families, our communities. It is the root of all enlightened experience.
So, when I feel this darkness and emptiness, and I ask myself how I can become the better man I want to be, I remind myself that LOVE is the real answer…not an abstract principle or ideal, but the kind of love we can use every single day as we go about our lives. I remind myself that service to the Gods through altruistic love forges an unbreakable bond between me and the Netjeru (Gods). When my service and love are selfless, then my Self actually experiences the true nature of the Gods, of Ma’at, more fully and deeply. How then can I feel I have reached a crisis of faith?
All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa