Beliefs and Ideas

sacred-book-animation-3The world as we experience it is shaped by our beliefs.  Whether you are religious or not, you still have beliefs.  According to St Germain (as channelled by Geoffrey Hoppe of the Crimson Circle) the average human being has millions of belief systems.  I’m not sure that I believe that, it sounds like a lot to me!

So what exactly is a belief?  Amongst the many available dictionary definitions, the most encompassing yet brief definition I found was in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary.  It defines belief as:

Assent to a proposition or affirmation, or the acceptance of a fact, opinion, or assertion as real or true, without immediate personal knowledge; reliance upon word or testimony; partial or full assurance without positive knowledge or absolute certainty; persuasion; conviction; confidence; as, belief of a witness; the belief of our senses.

This is a very broad definition. The first phrase could mean just having a vague idea of something.  So even an agnostic – who professes no religious beliefs –  could say something like ‘I lean towards the idea that the human experience ends completely at death’ and it is still considered a belief.  If this is the case, then it certainly might be possible that the numbers of our belief systems run into the millions.  Consider how many everyday expressions – such as the following – are actually statements of belief:

That’s just the way it is
You can’t always get what you want
God only knows
There’s 2 certainties in life – death and taxes
Life wasn’t meant to be easy
Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Each of us could come up with similar – and longer – lists.  We absorb so many of these kinds of beliefs in childhood, many of them we barely understand at the time, but together they form the filters through which we view and interpret the world around us.  They are the framework around which we build our habits, personality and identity. Our personal belief systems are our major influence on how we perceive our individual reality. And even more so, our collective belief systems shape the world that we live in, creating much of our concensus reality.  Only in times of crisis do many of us question just a few of these beliefs.

We are now in a period where many beliefs are being called into question. With the current economic, political and environmental upheavals, our beliefs about many of the instutions – such as governments, corporations and banks – that many of us have taken for granted, are being sorely tested at the moment.  It is a wake up call for all of us, even if we are relatively unaffected by the financial crisis.

Behind a lot of these beliefs are some of our deeper core beliefs, which will also need to be re-examined in the growing wave of higher consciousness. Much is happening in the spiritual realms for which the secondhand and outdated belief systems of world religions have no satisfactory answers.  It is time for each of us to dig deep into ourselves to discover our true deep feelings about who we are and why we are here.  Because that is where our strongest belief systems come from.   Despite the efforts of organised religion to encourage belief in the ‘facts’ of their sacred texts, our major belief systems are born from our deepest feelings.  They have much more to do with what is in our hearts than what is in our minds.

Many of us may not be aware of what we believe.  One of the better tools to help us examine our beliefs is meditation.  By allowing ourselves to step out of ordinary life and concensus reality for even just a few minutes, and to take a step back within ourselves just to listen to and observe the myriad of beliefs that our mind begins to regurgitate, we begin to get an idea of the substance of our beliefs.  It is amazing how much of these beliefs we have simply absorbed and accepted from our parents, teachers, friends and other role models.  With increased awareness of our belief systems we can then begin to decide which beliefs serve us, and which belief systems require us to serve them.

Many believers believe that their beliefs should be unshakeable, they should be strong enough to withstand doubt.  But as a strong tree is one that sways in the wind, I prefer to believe that a strong belief is one that bends and changes with each new experience.  A rigid belief system will collapse in the strong winds of change that are currently buffeting us.  Especially when it comes to those beliefs for which we have no absolute certainty.  I rather prefer to think of my beliefs as ideas, because ideas can be more easily adapted.

A belief’s a dangerous thing … People die for it. People kill for it … I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. Life is malleable and progressive; working from idea to idea permits that. Beliefs anchor you to certain points and limit growth; new ideas can’t generate. Life becomes stagnant.’

– Rufus, the black 13th apostle from the movie ‘Dogma‘ – screenplay by Kevin Smith

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