Beliefs

WHAT IS A BELIEF?

A belief is merely a perception of reality. It is not reality itself. It is merely a perception of truth, but not truth itself. A belief is an unverified assumption, and may not necessarily be based on facts.

A belief is powerful. A belief that is accompanied by strong conviction of its apparent truth has the ability to affect how we view the world, how we perceive a person, thing or event, and thus how we react to it. The power of a belief is not necessarily based on the object of that belief. Rather, it is dependent on the intensity of that belief.

A belief is intimately linked to our emotions. The stronger the conviction, the more emotionally invested we are in the belief. This is where the power of belief comes from. This is also the reason why it is difficult to change a person’s belief. Once convinced, they are unlikely to listen to any rational reasonings.

A belief can be beneficial or harmful. It is beneficial when that belief leads to increasing love, compassion, joy and peace in the person holding that belief and also in the people around him. A belief becomes harmful when the reverse is true, that is to say, when it leads to increasing fear, hatred, unhappiness and destruction in the person holding that belief and also in the people around him.

HOW DOES A BELIEF WORK?

A belief does not have to take its root in facts. It can grow out of an assumption. It can even be suggested or implied to you, consciously or unconsciously.

However, once a belief has taken root, its mind will look for things to validate that belief. This helps to strengthen that initial belief. A belief can, therefore, lead to a tunnel-vision mentality where only selective “facts” are accepted and others discarded.

Herein lies the danger of a belief.

WHAT ARE ITS PITFALLS?

Since a belief can be suggested to you without your conscious awareness, it means that you may be holding a belief that you are not even aware of. This belief may be quietly taking root and growing in intensity without you knowing, until a person, thing or event triggered it and it explodes suddenly out in the open through an intense or emotional reaction.

Since a belief does not have to be based on facts, it also means that you may be basing your belief on falsehood. Any beliefs that are based on untruth cannot have a solid foundation, and therefore they are vulnerable and liable to blow up in your own face eventually. A false belief may work for a while but it is not sustainable in the long term.

Another way of saying this is that a belief that is closer to reality is more likely to be sustainable and healthier in the long run than one that is based on falsehood. One that is based on falsehood is unhealthy and more likely to blow up in your face sooner or later. A false belief may not just be harmful but may also be deadly.

Since a belief need not be based on facts, and it is emotionally charged, a belief can therefore be easily manipulated by others. This danger is very real and is seen in how people have been manipulated to kill in the name of religions.

HOW CAN WE USE IT BENEFICIALLY?

The way to see whether a belief is beneficial or harmful is to look at the outcome of the belief. In other words, look at what the belief leads to. If a belief leads to more love, compassion, joy and peace in you and your family, your friends and community, then it is a beneficial belief. On the other hand, if a belief leads to more fear, hatred, unhappiness and destruction in you, your family, friends and community, then it is a harmful belief.

This is how we should choose a belief.

Beliefs

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