Hide and Seek: The Power of Awareness
Once upon a time in a small village, there lived a wise old woman named Granny Willow. She was known far and wide for her wisdom and the magical aura that surrounded her. One sunny day, a curious young boy named Timmy approached her and asked, “Granny Willow, what’s the secret to your magical powers?”
Granny Willow smiled kindly at Timmy and handed him a shiny red apple. She said, “Timmy, this apple holds a secret. If you believe with all your heart that it can make your wishes come true, it will.”
Timmy believed her and decided to give it a try. He closed his eyes, held the apple tightly, and made a wish. Lo and behold, the apple started to glow, and a shower of golden coins rained down from it!
As time passed, Granny Willow explained to Timmy, “The true magic wasn’t in the apple, but in the belief that it held the power to make wishes come true. It’s the power of our beliefs that can create the most wonderful magic in our lives.”
Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) imparted four fundamental insights regarding the nature of belief:
- “Your beliefs are the blueprint for your life; choose them wisely.”
- “In belief, we find the key to unlock the doors of limitless possibilities.”
- “Faith is not just a feeling; it’s a force that can move mountains when grounded in belief.”
- “Belief is the starting point of all transformation and manifestation.”
A belief is our acceptance that something is true. We ‘accept’ it. We take it in, assimilate it and it becomes us. By endorsing its veracity, we bestow upon it a formidable power, a force that underpins our reality and propels our lives forward.
Yet how many of our beliefs reflect true reality? How many of our beliefs are based on misperceptions and mis-identifications? As we have seen, much of what we believe and how we view our reality reflects delusion, ignorance, misunderstanding, forgetting. Mr. Holmes admonishes us to, “choose them wisely.”
Our most intense beliefs form around our conditioning and what we identify with.
What limited perceptions and understandings form the structure of our beliefs?
- Almost all of us misperceive we are separate individuals, tethered to the limited identity of our body and thoughts. Most damagingly, we perceive we are not sufficient. We accept we are the limited, constructed identity we have created.
- Many of us adhere to the misunderstanding that inner happiness is contingent upon and sourced though outward people, places, things and circumstances. We earnestly hold onto the conviction that our ceaseless desires will ultimately yield permanent happiness when we get the outcome we are attached to.
- The majority among us subscribe to the misperception that if we fight the darkness we will get light, if we resist the evil we will get good, and if we fight the war we will get peace.
Our culture places strong emphasis upon celebrating and defending our individuality. We instruct our children that happiness lies in acquiring the education, the house, the car, the partner and the accolades. Social media incessantly reinforces the belief that when we get the acceptance and approval we will be worthy and find contentment. We support politicians, clergy, and teachers who tell us we must fight the war, oppose the sin and fix who we are. Destroy the bad, stamp out the evil, fix the sinner. This pervading cultural ethos serves as the crucible from which our beliefs are forged. This ethos is not right, wrong, real or delusional. It is an evolving understanding, an evolving reality, an evolving view. It is limited.
Beliefs are rooted in our experience and understanding, which in turn are dependent upon and outgrowths of our state of consciousness.
Beliefs wield profound influence, shaping the mental lenses through which we perceive life. When our beliefs are steeped in ego, they often cultivate a mindset of resistance and judgment. In the rigidity of unwavering convictions, anger can surge when others dare to challenge our viewpoints. We may perceive those with differing beliefs as wrong, inferior, or simply ignorant, thereby accentuating the chasm of separation and division. Many of our fears and narrative-driven beliefs manifest as judgments that create rifts or distinctions between us and others. These beliefs transform into unyielding perspectives, fostering a sense of self-righteousness that invariably casts others as in the wrong.
The ego exerts a potent influence over our beliefs, leading us to proclaim, “My religion is the only true faith, and yours is nothing but falsehood. Your path leads to damnation, while mine is the sure route to salvation.” It nudges us to declare, “My political affiliation is the righteous one, while yours is fraught with error. Your ideas seem irrational, while mine are undeniably rational. My convictions are firmly grounded, while yours appear ill-informed.” Throughout this process, we tend to categorize anyone who opposes our steadfast beliefs as a potential threat or as being of lesser worth.
Our beliefs serve as the foundation upon which the path of our lives is paved. When we subscribe to the illusion of stark separation, live in the feeling of ego, and relentlessly seek enduring happiness in a realm characterized by fleeting moments of pleasure and pain, we relinquish our capacity for calm and composed responses, succumbing instead to reactivity.
We need not completely discard our beliefs; rather, it’s valuable to acknowledge their limitations and their roots. Transitioning from viewing beliefs as unyielding truths to perceiving them as evolving understandings and perspectives can be liberating. Embracing this shift in perspective invites ease, inclusivity of others, and a departure from judgment. It enables us to see the world and others as our teachers. It paves the way for connection, compassion, and a journey towards inner peace, neutrality, and acceptance.
A closer examination of our fear-based and story-driven beliefs often reveals the egoic foundation that sustains them. Treating beliefs as viewpoints or personal supports, rather than inflexible truths, can foster understanding of why others hold opposing beliefs. When beliefs are seen as absolute truths, they tend to create attachments to specific outcomes and can isolate us from those who differ in belief. However, considering them as viewpoints allows for greater empathy and connection. As our misperceptions dissolve and we become less attached to our mis-identifications, our beliefs will naturally evolve, broaden and become more inclusive. As realization, revelation, remembrance and recognition grow, our beliefs will reflect that progression.