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3. Faith

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Principle: Faith

Definition: Faith requires making a decision that will solve the problem.


In the Third Noble Truth the Buddha tells us desire ends when we let go of craving and attachment; the pain will dissolve. When we gain a deep understanding that all things in life are impermanent, unsatisfying and without eternal substance, we are ready to start letting go of our attachment to the conditions and our desire for change. We cannot experience Nirvana or bliss until we let go of our clinging nature.
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Step Three is an action step. Many analogies used to explain the 12 Steps describe Step One as the diagnosis, Step Two as the prescription, and Step Three as following the various steps prescribed by the physician in order to heal. This step requires a submission of one's will to follow directions and guidance from a source outside oneself. When we apply this analogy to our larger life, it means we surrender our need to control every last detail and allow ourselves to be guided by Divine will. In Christianity, this surrender is often called repentance. Repentance comes from the Latin word penser or ponder, meaning "to rethink." It requires us to rethink who is actually in charge of our lives, our destiny, our eternity.
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In an evolving universe everything is constantly in a state of flux; nothing is static, nothing remains the same. Science demonstrates this at a subatomic level everything is vibrational energy, however, our eyes and our minds trick us into believing it is constant because matter appears dense and static. This is precisely why we need faith. We need to trust in the unseen, the Mystery.
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Liberation (moksa) comes from living a life of right action by following the guidance of the scriptures. The Veda is considered to be the only source of valid knowledge. Liberation means liberation from one's body (sariratva). The individual soul must rely on the Lord who is the ultimate cause of all action. It requires one to surrender their conventional identity and to identify themselves wholly with Brahman. Liberation is another word for Brahman. Knowledge of Brahman is the removal of ignorance. Liberating knowledge is the insight that one truly is Brahman. Scripture teaches that Brahman is the light of consciousness that illumines the mind and therefore is the true Self; that knowledge is the cure for the disease of suffering caused by ignorance.
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Faith in Islam is called Iman. It requires complete submission to the will of God (Allah) which includes belief, profession, and full commitment to Allah's will. Iman has two aspects: recognizing and affirming that there is only one Creator of the universe and worshipping only this Creator. According to Islamic thought, this comes naturally because faith is an instinct of the human soul. The other aspect is willingness and a commitment to Allah and His prescriptions for living.
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Some people think faith in God comes easily. For Jews, belief in God is a struggle. We spend our lives trying to figure out the range and shape of that belief, what it means, and how it compels us to act. We start by making a decision to believe. You will have doubts, we all do. Throughout the Jewish calendar year we are given opportunities to start again, to make teshuvah, a turning toward God. Before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we get ready to shed our past and begin our journey toward personal repair. Scripture captures this time when fearfulness can be transformed: “When God began to create...the world was chaotic, without order. And so, God drew near to the chaos and brought light to the world in order to illumine the darkness.”
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Native American Spirituality

This Step focuses on seeking help and guidance from an Elder, a Medicine person, a sponsor, a mentor or a spiritual friend. Allow your eyes, ears and heart to guide you to the right person who can understand and support you.
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In the Taoist way, when we come to understand theat when we force an outcome we are going against the flow of life, and in doing so, we often encounter resistance, disappointment and often suffering. It often feels like we are pushing to no avail. When we surrender, we are letting go of the need to control everybody and everything around us. The need for control comes from fear; the fear of our own inability to handle what we are not ready or prepared for. There is a natural rhythm in the flow of life, and when we find it, we are able to effortlessly keep in step. Only then do we live our lives by letting go of stress, worries and fears, trusting in a power greater than ourselves.
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