Most people think of faith as something you have in a deity. However, faith applies to all areas of our lives. One can have faith in other people, in the future, nature or in technology. We can even have faith in our routines and the routines of others who interact with us in our daily lives. More often than not, we don't even think about our faith in such things as long as it isn't shattered by some event. The lack of faith in many of the aforementioned things, incidentally, results in cynicism.
For a person who has grown up under far less than optimal circumstances (i.e., me), sometimes it's very difficult to have faith in anything. Lately, I've been trying to build faith in some things in order to calm my all too frequent fears about the future. One of the things I want to have faith in is the idea that my financial life is going to be fine. When you grow up poor, it's easy to fear financial ruin, especially when your parents were constantly living at the brink of ruin and made no effort to hide their anxiety about money when you were too young to rationalize that anxiety and could only internalize it on a pure emotional level.
Since the nature of my work situation is unpredictable, I have to actively work at keeping my faith in financial security alive. I try to boost this idea with an underlying faith in two other things. One is that karma will eventually repay me for the kindness and generosity that I extend to others. The other, much greater faith I'm trying to nurture is in the idea that there is "enough" work, money, opportunity, etc. for everyone and that, if one does not try and grab more than one's necessary share of such things, these things will naturally flow one's way. I try to see jobs as a river that sometimes flows hard and strong my way and sometimes weak and slow, but I want to have faith that there will never be less than I need. However, I also have to be careful not to confuse what I "need" with what I "want".
Recently, I referred someone to my former company who I knew without a shred of doubt would be good at the job. Before making this referral, I had the nagging idea that doing so might end up resulting in my getting less freelance work because I had benefited in the past from the fact that my successors had been troublesome employees. However, the person I was referring deserved the security and my former boss deserved to work with someone who I knew would be a delight to work with. Initially, it looked as if setting aside my fears and doing "the right thing" was also going to end up rewarding me as I was told I'd be asked to do a lot more work than usual. In fact, one of the Japanese staff members and my former boss came by my apartment and this appeal was made in person.
Over the last several days, changes to the plan have been made due to the ambitions of a particular Japanese staff member. Most, if not all, of the work that seemed to be on the horizon is evaporating rapidly and it is somewhat depressing. To cope with this (very likely) letdown, I've been trying to convince myself that I may have merely wanted this work rather than needed it and that things are coming together as they are to make sure more important needs than mine are being met. That is, possibly the new staff that were hired needed the jobs they're getting more than I needed the extra income. Still, my faith that good acts go rewarded and in the ebb and flow of that river of opportunity have been rattled a bit. However, I was incapable of making any other choice. My values would not allow me to protect my own interests at the expense of another and I still have faith that those who do so ultimately do not prosper.
Sometimes I wonder if my attitude about taking as much as I need rather than as much as I want and making the choices which are "right" rather than selfish is what separates me from people who society views as truly successful. That is, if I were the type of person who protected my own interests first and foremost, I might have been wealthier and/or risen to a higher position in my work. I'm sure that one element of ambition, besides a need for status and the approval of others, is a certain drive which compels you to get as much as you can, even when it is far more than you actually need.
The CH has often said that we should live our lives bearing in mind what the world would be like if everyone lived the way that we do. If everyone grabbed as much work as possible so they could be a little more financially comfortable and others had less opportunity than they needed because of that person's desire, then the world would be an imbalanced place. Of course, this applies to all thing from material possessions to food to energy to work. When we take what we need rather than what we want, we leave more for others to take what they need as well. If everyone lived that way, I'm sure the world would be a better place. I have pretty solid faith in that idea.