Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wondering Wednesdays: The Leap Of Faith

“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard

“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
My love of Soren Kierkegaard's writing sucked me into philosophy many years ago. I was at that age where all in life felt possible, open, exciting and a little ponderous despair from time to time felt good and deep and honest and admirable and authentic. And even today, in my moments of fear and trembling, I still turn to him to grasp and accept the human condition that we all share but which we would rather avoid, ignore, push aside, bury away. But sometimes, our best efforts are no match for life. And then you notice something essentially important that has gone not quite right. Maybe you just catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of your mind - maybe you're not even sure what it it - but it burns into you - you can't shake the awareness you've worked so hard to hide from...
“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.”  ~ Soren Kierkegaard
You realize that you have become that (mythical?) frog, sitting, seemingly contented, in a pot of water as the temperature gradually goes higher and higher unaware that things have gone horribly wrong but it has happened so slowly that you hardly notice.
“The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
A leap of faith is what we take when we sign up for that first race, venture out on a run that is farther than we've ever run ourselves a "runner" for the first time. The leap of faith is when we stand, poised to make a move, entirely unsure that there is anything we can trust in, but believing that it will be okay.  And even if it is not okay, it's worth the risk. And as we pick up our foot and move our balance forward, as running is always falling and catching ourselves...falling and catching ourselves...and with each step that choice to act is irrevocable: it can not be undone. That is commitment: The step forward, The shift out of balance, where the action is done and we do not know if we will hit something solid when the next foot comes down.

What Kierkegaard means by the "leap of faith", so well illustrated in the clip above, is that there comes a time when we must commit (if we truly want to live), when our life depends on that commitment, even when every shred of reason and rationality screams "NO!!" vibrating inside your skull. In fact the "Leap of Faith" happens ONLY when it is taken on the basis of faith with no reasonable support - risking all you have to risk. We often look for comfort, support, justification - we want someone to back us up, tell us we're not crazy, that everything is going to be okay. But all those reassurances are false security.Don't fool yourself. The leap requires courage and faith only.
“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one's self.... And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one's self.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
This is not comfortable or pleasant. And I think runners are just good-crazy enough to understand, and occasionally embrace and welcome the leap.

I'm falling forward. I don't yet know if there is anything there to catch me, to stop me from falling into the abyss...

Throw caution to the wind. Tell that reasoning, rational, safe mind to shut up. Take a chance. Act on a feeling. Commit to that race...that run. Dare to be great. Doing so makes it so.
“It is very important in life to know when your cue comes.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard


  1. That's my favorite Indiana Jones movie! :^)

    Best of luck with your leap! I think it will work out as well as Indy's did.


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