There's this snippet of a poem by William Wordsworth that floats around: Faith is a passionate intuition.
It's slightly altered from the original words in his autobiographical poem (written over the course of forty years), a work where he celebrates and describes how the imagination is truly the paramount faculty, able to manipulate reason as well as senses.
Here's a larger portion:
"So did he speak: The words he uttered shall not pass away
Dispersed, like music that the wind takes up
By snatches, and lets fall, to be forgotten;
No--they sank into me, the bounteous gift
Of one whom time and nature had made wise,
Gracing his doctrine with authority
Which hostile spirits silently allow;
Of one accustomed to desires that feed
On fruitage gathered from the tree of life;
To hopes on knowledge and experience built;
Of one in whom persuasion and belief
Had ripened into faith, and faith become
A passionate intuition; whence the Soul,
Though bound to earth by ties of pity and love,
From all injurious servitude was free."
What's most fascinating to consider here is to recognize a key point.
When Persuasion and Belief "ripen" into faith, then we are guided by that. It's an intuition based on beliefs which we have deemed as truth.
Why is this important to distinguish?
Simply put, if I am persuaded to believe that even the most outrageous thing—the earth is flat or the moon landing was a hoax or This Race And That Gender is 'out to get me'—then my intuition, my "gut feeling" will support that.
People around the country, around the world, are tuning into TV and Web shows and listening to pundits and politicians who persuasively feed beliefs into their brains. Once a belief sets hold, we then feel that "passionate intuition," and our 'faith' convinces us that it's correct.
"Maybe you don't believe," people will shout, "but we KNOW this is the truth!" Such is the potency of our imagination.
On a personal level, this also sways us. We may have a "gut feeling" that we're not good people based on conditioning from our childhood. An unacknowledged belief that we're not worthy of love or won't ever find success or are doomed to a life of ill health, struggle, or misery, can also feel like truth. Those "gut feelings" can indeed lead us astray if a hidden belief still has us in its grasp.So how do we turn that around?
One way is to write it out. You can pick out keywords as a prompt, such as health, wealth, friendship, love, career, trust, success. Write the keyword and then write "I believe.." and let the words flow. You can also utilize, "I am..." to uncover what your unconscious beliefs might be.
When we seize the power to pluck out unproductive beliefs and replace them, we also retrain our intuition. When we do that, our Passionate Intuition reflects our new and improved perspective. Then even if we dredge up a old, no-longer-useful-but-still-lingering belief, it's easy to say, "Wait a minute. That's not what I believe!" and then realign with the belief You Choose.
Over the years, I've developed a gorgeous belief that "People are so nice." Sure, I encounter some abrasive folks on social media, and my heart has broken from time to time. I've felt the sting of betrayal and the shame of abandonment. Frustration with even the most minor issues can trigger old, discarded beliefs.
A couple of days ago, I'd spent a couple of hours struggling to resolve an email issue with my internet provider. Customer service was outsourced and it was pretty clear (even after I asked for a supervisor) that these folks didn't have a clue how to help me, they were simply reading from a script. Having worked at Harry and David during their worst year (long story) I vividly remember their desperation to keep up with the growing number of calls, and how instead of weeks of training, new hires were given thirty-minutes and a script.
Later, I'd pulled into a store to grab some groceries and a stranger did something annoying and I found myself thinking, "People are so weird."
I heard that thought and it stopped me cold. What?!? I immediately replaced it quite firmly with, "People are So Nice," and took a deep breath. While it's easy to let a frustrating incident color my world, that's a choice I don't have to make.
People ARE nice, and I have plenty of proof of that, thanks to my Passionate Intuition. Faith springs from a sense of knowing, which likewise springs from beliefs. Let's remember that, both when we're interacting with people who have been manipulated into believing false stories, and when we personally are replacing our own unproductive beliefs with a faith that serves us beautifully.