(The twelve vrittis, or tendencies, of the Anahata/Heart Chakra are: asha, chinta, chesta, mamata, dambha, viikalata, ahangkara, viveka, lolata, kapatata, vitarka, and anutapa. It is my intention to explore these tendencies as they relate to the practice of Love.)
Asha refers to the tendency of the mind to believe in something. It translates literally to “hope” and has a deeper spiritual meaning of “hope that comes from strong faith.” This meaning can only be achieved by doing the work of going deeper within yourself. Asha requires a self-inquiry that relies upon our ability to challenge personal beliefs through careful examination of experience. Asha is not blind faith, nor is it dogma passed on from one person to another. As a matter of fact, it is so personal to the individual that it cannot be adequately shared with another. If you consider the difficulty you would have trying to convey the depths and details of an elaborate nightmare you had the night before to your best friend, then you understand what it would be like attempting to give your deepest beliefs to another.
Asha is represented in the Bible: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
This type of knowing is unshakeable and yet flexible as a function of experience.
Whenever I talk about faith I like to use the example of sitting on chairs. You may enter a room that is completely empty except for one chair placed in the center. When you decide to sit upon that chair it would never cross your mind that it may not work, that it will not hold you up, that both you and it will crash to the ground in a heap of failure. You have faith, or Asha, that this chair will do what it is here to do.
You Trust it.
This kind of knowing is the result of your extensive experience with chairs. Their service has been so true, that nothing other than absolute servitude is expected. Even if you have literally had the “chair pulled” from under you in the past; or if you have actually sat in a chair that did not hold, you still carry an unshakable faith to the next experiences.
Imagine a Love that is powered by this kind of knowing. Could you love another person with this knowing? A religion? A philosophy?
“When Love speaks to you, believe Him” (The Prophet, p.11)
There is a positive correlation between Love and Trust. Indeed, Love is the fulfillment of Trust. As you become more trusting of Life/God/Nature your Love for the Perfect Manifestation also increases. This is a big difference between Asha and blind faith. Blind faith, because it is founded within the unknown, is positively correlated with fear. The more blind faith you have in something you love, the greater you are afraid of what it is capable of doing (and more accurately, what it is capable of doing to you).
New relationships are all about blind faith: “I’ve known you for about two months and that’s long enough to trust that you won’t hurt me.”
Mature relationships are Asha: “You have proven yourself over and over through my own direct experience; I know you will not hurt me.”
When Love, in the presence of Asha, speaks to you, it is easy to believe what It has to say.
Blind faith is the perfect starting place. From here, you can challenge the things you believe: do the research and live your faith. This way you will be able to discard beliefs that do not hold true in the light of reasonable inquiry; and you will be simultaneously exposed to new ways of thinking and new beliefs to challenge. To put it simply:
Identify your belief(s) >>>> Investigate the origin of your belief(s) >>>> Challenge your belief(s) by systematically applying them to current life situations >>>> Drop non-functional beliefs >>>> Identify new belief(s) >>>> Repeat.
Asha is the Dance of Faith.
And finally, our friend Rumi brings us back to ourselves:
A true Lover doesn’t follow any one religion,
be sure of that.
Since in the religion of Love,
there is no irreverence or faith.
When in Love,
body, mind, heart and soul don’t even exist.
fall in Love,
and you will not be separated again.
This serves as a reminder: There is no separation in Love.
He states “there is no irreverence” because he knows That which we Love and That which we Are is the same. And because we are the same, self-knowing replaces Faith. When you know Who You Are, belief becomes obsolete. A “true Lover” has gone beyond “body, mind, heart and soul” because, through the work of self-inquiry, they have reached an inevitable conclusion: These things are merely temporary states. There is only One thing happening, and you may name it God or Life or Allah or Atman. But there is just one thing happening and It is Love, It is Peace, It is Bliss, It is You, It is Me, and It is Eternal.