I Don’t Believe in Beliefs

How interesting that we can never know what is true. We can only know what “seems” to be true. Because at any moment any one of us can be deluded. This seems to be true. And when we “know” something is true because we feel it so deeply, even that might be untrue. I like to question everything and at the same time stay open to all possiilities. I think its dangerous to believe too firmly in concepts. Its a form of “attachment”. For example, you might believe in Jesus. He is your hope, your salvation, your guide, and your love. You love everything that is known about Jesus, how he stood by his principles, how he resisted temptation, his sacrifice, his message of love. No matter how dire your situation, you can always appeal to Him. You imagine that He loves you and will protect you. And perhaps your mother would cry tears when she prayed to Jesus and you watched her as a little girl or boy and it seems a betrayal if you didn’t honor your mother by loving Jesus just as ardently. These could be some of the underlying dynamics that enstrengthen one’s faith. But what if it all was just a product of one’s imagination? What if it might be just another illusion? One must be courageous enough to recognize this possibility if one wishes to be honest with oneself. And what I say about Jesus is the same for Allah, for Krishna, for all religious beliefs.

Can you go through life without beliefs? I believe that there is an intelligence to the Universe that might be called “God”. The smell of a rose is so fine, that it makes me believe that its creator must be fine and benevolent and that there is hope for all of us. But I remain aware, that though it seems so, it may not be so, that this is always a possibility if I wish to be honest with myself, which I do, always. I don’t wish to make the mistake of fooling myself, because I believe that if I do, I will end up having to pay for it.

How is it that some people become addicted to heroin? Everyone knows it is addictive, so why would anyone do it often enough to become addicted? Is it possible that the contented feeling one derives from it, makes the person forget about all the horrible consequences if one becomes addicted to it? This seems so immature, to not be concerned about the consequences of one’s actions, does it not? After a short time there is little satisfaction from taking the drug, one needs it only to avoid being terribly sick and the only way to quit the habit is to be terribly sick for some days, and this is very hard for most to endure. So in hindsight, it was very foolish to igore the consequenses of one’s actions just for the immediate relief it supplied. Yet millions do this.

The game of life might be like this. You have to pay for your mistakes, usually the payment is in pain. If you are attached to beliefs that are not “real”, you will have to pay for this mistake in one way or another, it seems. It could be subtle, like the quality of your life is minimalized, you are “unhappy”. You never reach your potential, you never even gave it a chance. Everything is mediocre, your friends and relations, your food, your living quarters, your health, your work, it could be something like this.

Recently, in our pueblo, a man murdered another man viciously with a knife, because he believed that people were trying to poison him. He had stomach pains frequently and he reasoned that it was due to toxics that people were putting in his food and drinks. His beliefs led him to murder and now is in prison. He was walking free on our streets even after he had knifed and hospitalized a woman in his hostel. Such is the “law” in Ecuador. We might call him a paranoid schizophrenic, but probably it isn’t so important what we call him. It is a sad example of how our beliefs can destroy our lives.

It is therefore seemingly clear that your beliefs color your experience. A simple example, if you believe that everyone is good, maybe you will easily be deceived. Or if you believe everyone is bad, maybe you will be isolated. But this idea goes much further than these examples. It could be that our beliefs play a huge part in our perception of “reality” and make the likelihood of error even greater. For all these reasons, I believe that it is not a good idea to be attached to any beliefs, but to always be open to the possibility that it might not be true. And so, obviously, even this belief of mine could be wrong.

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