Examining the nature of beliefs in turbulent times
One view of the world’s current situation is that we are living through a time when the collision of beliefs and ideologies is playing out on the world stage at a scale never seen before in history.
Information technology empowers billions of ‘selfs’ to participate in this melee of colliding dreams and visions of disparate futures. Our beliefs, conspiracy theories, and ideologies are powered by inviolable emotions. They are often assertions of truths that should guide and apply to all. The world, of course, would be a better place if everyone just got on-board with mine.
Where do beliefs come from and what is the relationship between belief and truth?
The etymology of belief includes this: conviction of the truth of a proposition or alleged fact without knowledge.
Are you a prisoner of beliefs?
In the Diamond Approach, we constantly confront (come face to face with) and examine our beliefs. We deeply inquire into beliefs to reveal misunderstandings, false assumptions, and ‘truths we were given’ to see what remains.
In June of 1981, A. H. Almaas gave a teaching to students of the Diamond Approach on beliefs. Here are excerpts from that teaching:
Beliefs are substitutes for direct knowledge. When you don’t know, or don’t have the knowledge of what is really true about something, then you make up beliefs about it. When you’ve heard it someplace or somewhere before and you still attach it to the present, instead of a direct experience giving you the direct knowledge about the matter, you have beliefs about that. So beliefs are for people who don’t know.
Beliefs are not always bad. They are approximations to the truth, to knowledge, so you have a certain belief that will take you from point A to Point B – supposing knowledge is at Point B. You have one belief that will take you from here to here.
But, the belief will not take you further, so you have to get rid of it at some point and have another belief that will take you from Point B to Point C and then another belief, until the last belief will take you to the knowledge itself, then you have to drop all your beliefs.
In our work, there is no need for belief or faith. Here, direct experience is possible, and all that is necessary is understanding. You don’t need to believe anything. I don’t ask you to have faith in anything. Trust what you see. It is of your own perception.
Don’t get hijacked by beliefs
There is no need here for faith, there is no need for belief – you need to throw all your beliefs away. You need to trust with your own direct experience and perception, your own understanding of what’s happening.
You need to focus on the beliefs to see them and understand them so that they won’t run you. Everybody is run by all kinds of beliefs: beliefs that came from previous experience, or reactions to previous experience, or something they’ve heard or read someplace.
It is true that beliefs usually stand in the way of the truth as the beliefs are still not yet the truth. Some of them might be the truth — that might be true – but they also might not be true. Some of them were true at some other time in the past, but they are not true anymore.
Personality and beliefs
Our false personality essentially consists of many beliefs. Some of them were true, but are not true anymore, while some of them were never true; but a lot of them were true. It was true once, but it is not true anymore–it’s a belief now.
Some of the beliefs were never true, and some of the beliefs are distorted truths: there is some grain of truth in them but it is mixed with other things.
As I said, here what we need to do is to see through beliefs. Truth is what we want here, direct, as direct as it can be; direct perception, direct taste. As they say, “He who tastes, knows, he who tastes not, knows not.” That’s it! It’s precise. Nobody says, “He who believes knows”, it’s “He who tastes,” direct taste.
He who tastes the bread knows about the bread. He who tastes not the bread, knows not of the bread.
For more insight on exploring beliefs:
Chapter 1, “Why Inquire?” in Spacecruiser Inquiry
Chapter 4, “Faith and Commitment” in Diamond Heart Book 1 by A. H. Almaas.