Beliefs are tricky, especially in times of uncertainty. They can be a source of inspiration or a heavy chain around your neck. They can uplift you into possibility or weigh you down, keeping you from open-hearted expansion. Historically, beliefs have been the cause of cycles of planetary polarization: renaissances and wars, connection and separation, coming together and tearing apart, hope and despair. Humans have yet to reach the evolutionary tipping point of being present in experience without filters of any kind. Maybe now is the time to let go and see everything as light, including ourselves and our beliefs.
Growing up, we are taught to identify with our beliefs, that they are the “truth” of our experience. Social groups band together around certain values and perceptions, and identification with those views causes any differences to be seen as a threat. Very early in our lives, a sense of “other” is cultivated, as well as an emotional investment in one’s own view of the world. Mine vs. yours; us vs. them. Cliques, clubs, religious groups, sports teams, states, nations. The ubiquitous “they” follows us through our lives, fostering suspicion and stubbornness. This life view becomes an overlay to your inner light-filled soul self who only sees commonality and unity.
Even when you or I embark upon a spiritual path that encourages opening into the oneness of all life, those old tendencies can interrupt the flow of our soul’s journey on Earth. The personality self, or ego, still holds onto past stories and mental habits, which often center on beliefs. It can take years of conscious practice and commitment to awakening for a deeper awareness to break through the rigidity of belief itself. Eventually, the journey becomes about letting go of everything so that life can move through us unimpeded. This is where we are now on this planet.
Is there a place for belief within complete letting go and acceptance? Personally, I’m still coming into balance with this. I find open, expansive beliefs arising from kindness and inclusion to be inspiring and enlivening. My core belief in a divine loving Presence in the universe and within all beings connects me to others and to life itself. But if I go one step further and attach that core belief to a particular teaching or an expectation about how things should unfold, then I can slip into inflexibility and rigidity without even noticing it. If I look at someone else’s behavior or beliefs and judge them in any way, I have lost the thread of connection.
Perhaps it becomes a balancing dance in which we hold a belief so lightly that it can slip away easily when we open our hearts completely to the present moment and to those we share it with. When we relax into Presence fully, nothing else exists except a love that is both endless and wordless. No separation, no need to differentiate or articulate. There is a freedom in that, as well as a profound sense of connection to everything in the universe. Who would want to give that up in order to hang onto a belief of any kind? This may be our collective direction as a species and as a planet: to hold all of life lightly—with light, as light—and to see our own light-filled reflection in all we perceive. After all, we are just spirits passing through, part of a vast oneness beyond believing or not believing.
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