Most religions are based on faith. We are told what to believe from a young age by our parents, close family member, our religious leaders. We are indoctrinated into set belief systems. It’s not just religion either – we have all kinds of beliefs about everything in life. Things we believe about ourselves, about other people, about the planet, about how things work. All of these beliefs collapse the potential for greater experience.
Beliefs limit how we see the world, and our abilities within the world. If someone believes that all they will ever be is a good accountant, that is what they will ever be. If another believes they will one day run the company, then that is a possibility for them – the potential exists and is not quelched. In walking the spiritual path, one of the greatest challenges is uncovering subconscious beliefs and setting them aside. In this way, we open up to all that is possible.
Ironically, it’s the same with science. Many scientists scoff at fundamentalist religious dogma, and yet they are just as dogmatic about their scientific hypotheses. Fledgling new ideas are ridiculed if they are not in line with mainstream scientific thinking. With careers at stake in academic institutions, many scientists keep their novel ideas and esoteric research to themselves. Max Plank said that science progresses one funeral at a time. When you are seeking truth, experience must replace beliefs.
The unrecognized problem most of us face is that we already have our assumptions, and we only look for confirmation of those beliefs – if we search at all. Anything else is filtered out. People just want their ideas to be validated and are often not open to broader thinking. That is how bubbles of homogenous ideas form in social media, for example. If we are truly seeking truth, then all pre-conceived beliefs must be set aside, and we need to be open to anything.
Ask yourself, what is at the root of any conflict? One person’s belief vs. another’s. Would this world look different if it was a planet of seekers instead of a planet of believers? And the beautiful thing is that seeking is a continual flowering and discovery whereas belief is static, there is no growth. That’s the difference between a believer and a seeker.
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