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Faith To Enhance Quality Of Life
Ernest H. Rosenbaum, MD

Faith is an emotional feeling, reflecting a belief in a discipline or power. It is one of the strong beliefs that people share, which is inherent in everyone. As you go to sleep, you have the faith that you will awaken tomorrow. This is reflected in the poem,

Now, I lay me down to sleep:
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

     18th century child's prayer

There are many stories in both the Old and New Testaments concerning faith. For example, in the New Testament, physical healing by Jesus involved faith. It is known that faith can help heal the mind as well as the spirit. In the Twenty-Third Psalm, there is not only devotion and thanksgiving but also a trust in God. It ends, Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. That is because, the Lord is my Shepherd.

Faith is found in many forms. It is a harbor of refuge throughout our lives. Faith is found in all religions, such as the Golden Rule or in Galatians 5:22, 23, when Paul refers to the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. A person without faith or reverence for anything important lacks a moral compass and is adrift. It is an important element for social stability, as well as moral development. For those who feel insecure in their lives, faith can be a way of gaining and maintaining strength.

One of the most difficult tasks in life is that of self-discipline. We all try in so many ways to have good behavior patterns, control anger, envy, and attempt to be exemplary, and, yet, we have many frailties and fallacies. We frequently use the term getting off the wagon, which refers to the time around 1925 during the temperance movement in Boston, when the women of Boston had a wagon and horse they took around town and picked up all the drunks. Thus, the term, getting on the wagon was being thrown onto the wagon to sober up, and when they got off the wagon, they had sobered up and often went back to the bar.

Behavior patterns are often difficult to break or even modify. That is one of the major reasons, for example, that we have so many weight reducing and exercise centers in the United States, because people are always trying to improve their health, and they are willing to pay money and spend time losing weight, even though the success rate is, unfortunately, very small.

One of the best examples of self-discipline is that of Demosthenes, who was a contemporary of Aristotle. He wished to be a great orator but had a major speech defect. Because of his intensity to succeed despite his insufficiency, the story is told by Plutarch, His inarticulate and stammering pronunciation, he overcame and rendered more distinct by speaking with pebbles in his mouth.

Demosthenes disciplined himself by reciting speeches and verses when he was out of breath or while running a difficult pace. To keep himself studying without interruption, often for two or three months at a time, he would shave one half of his head so that ashamed, he could not go out in public, though he desired to very much.

This is certainly a challenge that each of us has to accept our own deficiencies, or our attempts to improve our way of life, lifestyle, or ourselves, as we keep faith in ourselves while trying to make major efforts in life.

The training of an opera singer, or the discipline of learning an intricate task, such as breaking a diamond (diamond cutting) or learning mathematics can be difficult and requires not only training and determination but great self-discipline.

Reprinted by permission

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