Faith is not a religion or a system of beliefs, but rather the pure, rooted, direct experience of being consciously lived as Life Itself. The faith that Yeshua [Jesus] spoke of is not about blindly clinging to a collection of beliefs and memorized ideological programming and indoctrination. One of the questions that I often get asked is “What is your faith?” My response is always deeply heartfelt: “What does faith mean to YOU?” Faith means very different things to different people. Our modern thought process about the ancient Aramaic word for faith – hayyemanoota – has virtually vanished, buried under a chaotic theological hay pile of two thousand years of misunderstanding and a strong lack of attunement to the original first-century meaning of this experiential term that is one of the very core roots of Yeshua’s teachings.
Hayyemanoota is a combination of several Aramaic root sounds which, when calibrated and brought back together, reaffirm the very central essence of what the original teachings were communicating to those with “eyes that see and ears that hear”. Semitic languages, once understood as “building blocks” or “puzzle” tone poems, can be simple to comprehend on deeper levels. We must let go of the common, every day, widely acknowledged meanings of these ancient words from our modern perspective. Reading the words of Yeshua in ancient Aramaic reveals a deep experience of language full of infinitely layered meanings, contextual nuances, idioms, syntax and gorgeously intriguing Aramaic word play and poeticism that is often completely unseen in the Koine Greek or any subsequent translation of any kind.
The word hayyemanoota is built upon four basic root sounds – hayye, iman, oo and ta. Let’s go in reverse, from the end of the word back to the beginning. The ta sound points to a state of being, attitude or perception, which is feminine. Faith in the ancient Aramaic sense of the word is not a masculine noun, a “person”, “place” or “thing”, but rather a perception, an attitude, a state of being or a direct “spiritual” experience. If we add the oo sound, meaning “action” or “process” into the word, faith now blossoms not only as a state of being or belief but through our behavior and actions as well.
The primary root sound of the word hayyemanoota is the sound iman, which is still the word for “faith” in Arabic today. Iman is a sound that has been in the ancient Aramaic language as far back as around the 10th century BCE. This sound can also be found in Hebrew, Coptic Egyptian and possibly in Akkadian as well. The alef – mem – nun consonant sequence is also the root of the ancient Aramaic word Ahmeyn Amen, which we know more often in the west as “Amen”. The “a – m – n” letter root is derived from an ancient root sound meaning “from the fertile, rooted earth center”. To keep it simple, let’s just keep it simple and say, “from the center”.
The first sound in hayyemanoota is the sound hayye. Hayye is what Yeshua said he had “come to give us abundantly”. And what was that? Life Itself! Hayye is an incredibly rich word in Aramaic, meaning something closer to “essential life energy” at its root. Hayye can also mean conscious, as in “awareness”, as well as strength, power or will.
We have four root sounds meaning “conscious life”, “rooted center”, “action” or “behavior” and “attitude” or “being”. The ancient Aramaic meaning of faith – hayyemanoota – is closer to “consciously living from the rooted center of being.” In other words, one does not have faith in some THING – such as a religion, belief, ideology or concept – but rather that faith is the direct experience or state of being in which we are consciously being lived by Life Itself. If you are telling me that you “have faith in” some belief system or “faith that something will happen”, then you are already reveling in some “thing” or end outcome outside of you, which is in truth a lack of faith! That is nothing more than belief or trust, and it most definitely is NOT faith. You are telling about something that you do not have, realize or possess, and that is the opposite of faith, regardless of your belief in any specific outcome, effect or result.
We do not have faith in something – that is simply belief. Rather, we live consciously AS the faith of Life Itself – from the grounded, rooted center of all true Being. In the words of poet ee cummings, “the root of the root and the bud of the bud.” Faith is not about what we “believe in”, faith is who we are, at our deepest, most essential core, which is Life Itself. Faith is who we are being and living AS!
[excerpted in part from Dale’s book “Echoes of an Ancient Dream: Aramaic Toning on the Path of Light”]