Belief - A Terrible Tyrant Or An Empowering Servant

To Believe Or Not To Believe - That Is The Question


Belief - A Terrible Tyrant Or An Empowering Servant. To Believe Or Not To Believe - That Is The Question. Image of a neon sign.

The Tyranny Of Beliefs

Beliefs have been a source of great division and distress in my life.

I can recall standing in the living room at my widowed Mother's house, shortly after my Father's death, and my Mother who held deeply felt conservative Christian views shouting at me:

"Stephen, but you do belief in the Virgin Birth, the resurrection of Christ and the Holy Trinity don't you..?"

The argument raged backwards and forward, and eventually I shouted back at her:

"Mother I am a 51 year old man, I am intelligent and well educated, and knowledgeable about Christian theology and church history...I am entitled to my own opinions!!"

"But you DO believe, don't you...? She implored me.

"Mother", I said, "whether I say that I do or do not agree with these things doesn't matter...

...what does matter to me is my inner spiritual experience and at that level you and I are on common ground...

...we are divided in our heads but united in our hearts."

This incident crystallised a lifetime of dissent and division in my family over questions of faith and definition of belief, and as I looked at her anguished face and felt my anger and frustration I realised in a very personal way the tyranny of beliefs. 

[The post-script to this anecdote is that a few weeks later, we made our peace and never again discussed matters of religious belief for the remaining 15 years of her life, and we enjoyed many happy times together.]






3 Beliefs About Belief

[1] A belief is something that you accept and believe to be true

That you believe it to be true does not necessarily mean that it can be proven to be true.

This is most applicable to conditioned beliefs, which are the thinking patterns developed at a young age and are based on the beliefs of your primary care-givers.

Some of these beliefs can be unconscious.

These conditioned beliefs become the foundation for your future beliefs and form the basis of your decision-making and problem-solving.







[2] Nothing has inflicted more suffering on humanity than its beliefs and dogmas...

Over the past century, countless millions have been killed and genocides have been committed in the name of various political beliefs: the Maoist and Stalinist purges, the killing fields of Cambodia, Armenia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the thousands of lynchings by the Klu Klux Klan in the southern States of the US.

In previous centuries the religious persecution by state supported majorities over non believing minorities such the persecution of the Cathars by the Catholic church and the burning of Catholics by Protestants and vice versa.

At time of writing, the beliefs that have motivated the military aggression and violence perpetrated by Russia against the  neighbouring sovereign state of Ukraine.

The religious and cultural beliefs that sanction and allow or impose suppression and subjugation of women's rights, the persecution of minorities, the criminalisation and killing of gay people, female genital mutilation, child marriage, honour killings... the list is endless and in all cases:

Believing themselves to be right, clinging to their beliefs, to the point of killing to defend their view of the rightness of their position.






 

[3] Contrary to what is claimed, no belief tradition of any persuasion (whether religious, political, cultural or any other) has a monopoly on the truth

"Dogmas – religious, political, scientific – arise out of the erroneous belief that thought can encapsulate reality or the truth.

Dogmas are collective conceptual prisons. And the strange things is that people love their prison cells because they give them a sense of security and a false sense of 'I know'. [Eckhart Tolle]

The limitations of language and the very structure of our language causes us to identify with "my view" and reinforces the sense that our concept of what is real is real, when it isn’t.

Families and societies have been divided, countless wars have been fought, millions of lives have been lost, over the meaning and interpretation of words.







Challenging Your Beliefs



1. Is it true?

Take any belief that you feel strongly about and apply first principles thinking to it.

Test inherent assumptions and take the belief apart then reconstruct it so that you see what it really is, and then ask yourself:

“Is this fit for purpose?”



2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Apply second order thinking to your belief to uncover the unintended consequences.

Consider all of the impacts of your belief and especially the impact on other who do not share your belief.

Question everything.

Involve others.

Think long term.

Restate your belief and ask “And then what?”



3. Who would you be without that belief?

Questioning conditioned beliefs is a hard process.

This may bring you into opposition with your friends, family and community.

However, consider this: group think [following the herd]  can be unhelpful, or even a bad thing, when the outcome of your decision  affects your health, wealth or peace of mind.

Can you wear your beliefs lightly?



    Can you reverse the conventional perspective that a belief is regarded as an immutable certainty, and test it against your personal experience?

    Can you accept that all beliefs are there to serve a purpose and can be released when that purpose is served?








Changing Your Beliefs



[1] Where are you most resistant to changing a belief

Take any belief you wish to change and look very closely at where you experience resistance to changing it.  

Look very closely at the root of your resistance to uncover the opposing unconscious belief that was originally installed to keep you safe.

This is what you need to overcome.


[2] Reframe it

Reframe this opposing unconscious belief so that the emotional association of the revised phrasing of the belief feels supportive.


[3] Check your body's reaction

Check your progress and ask yourself: "How would I feel if I believed….?"

Check your body's reaction to it and as this will always give a truthful reflection of what you truly feel.

If you still feel resistance repeat steps 1 and 2 until your body feels relaxed and at peace with it.








    You may have been brought up with a belief that has been presented to you as an immutable certainty.

    Reframe that as a guidance and not a certainty.

    Regard your beliefs as there to serve a purpose and to be released when that purpose is served.







Next Article:

Herd Mentality And How To Avoid It

Return from: "Beliefs"

to: Walking The Talk


Contact me




English Chinese (Traditional) Russian French German Italian Spanish Vietnamese


LATEST ARTICLES

  1. Situational Communication - Different Strokes For Different Folks

    Situational communication is about taking account of 3 often ignored factors about the other person. You are a situational communicator when you recognise that effective communication is not an event…

    Read More

  2. How To Influence Without Authority - 6 Key Tips

    The secret to how to influence without authority is that you get what you really want by giving other people what they really want. We live in an interconnected world and knowing how to influence with…

    Read More

  3. Change Questions To Change Your Outcomes

    Asking The Right Questions Is Critical For A Successful Change. Every time we initiate a significant change - whether in our personal life or in an organisation - we will most likely over-estimate our…

    Read More

  4. Group Culture - The Invisible Software That Rules Your Life

    Group culture is: "How we do things round here". We like to see ourselves as free agents making our own choices and living authentically but the reality is that The Matrix has many layers and we are u…

    Read More

  5. Why Getting From A to B Is Not Aways A Straight Line

    In circumstances of significant change, the progress from A to B will not be in a straight line. We run our lives largely on auto-pilot. In most circumstances your experience of getting from A to B is…

    Read More

  6. The Art Of Persuasion Planning For Success - Here's How To Do It!

    To be successful in the art of persuasion you must ensure that certain things happen. To be successful in the art of persuasion you must establish a framework of what has to happen to get you to that…

    Read More

  7. The Art Of Persuasion Advanced Communication Skills - Gaining Buyin

    Create The Environment Where They Want To Buyin to Your Proposal In order to build the win-win you have to uncover what it is that the other person really wants or needs, and to do that you have to as…

    Read More

  8. The Art Of Persuasion The One Fundamental Principle - Create A Win-Win

    The art of persuasion is based on the simple idea that you get what you want by enabling the other party to get what they want. Being a nice friendly person with good inter-personal skills may be a go…

    Read More

  9. Communication Persuasion And Change - Key Skills To Survive & Succeed

    It's not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but those who are most responsive to change, the most persuasive, and the best communicators. We are living in an age of unprecedented ch…

    Read More

  10. The Eisenhower Box - What Is Important Is Seldom Urgent

    What Is Important Is Seldom Urgent And What Is Urgent Is Seldom Important. The Eisenhower Box is a time management and decision-making model devised by President Dwight Eisenhower to help him prioriti…

    Read More

  11. Zen Enlightenment [Satori] - The Stink Of Zen

    Lost In Our Delusions About Enlightenment. There is something in human nature - a desire to glamorise, sanctify, objectify and idolise – that elevates people who have offered deep insights to the huma…

    Read More

  12. 5 Zen Mindsets For Mastery - In Any Area Of Your Life

    The Wisdom Of A Person Who Masters In Any Art Is Reflected In Their Every Attitude. The state and quality of your mind has a very large bearing on the quality of your performance in any area of life t…

    Read More

  13. Dealing With The Toxicity Of Online Dating - 6 Key Tips From A Clinical Psychologist

    Toxicity Is The Price Tag Of Accessibility. In the early days of online dating, users were vetted and had to go through a registration process and agree to comply with a code of conduct designed to en…

    Read More

  14. Why Understanding Ergodicity Is Critical To Your Long Term Survival

    How Not To Be Fooled By Randomness. Ergodicity is an ugly word from the world of mathematics. It is an umbrella term for two sets of conditions of probability and outcome. These two conditions form th…

    Read More

  15. Dealing With Imposter Syndrome - Ego Is The Enemy

    How You Frame A Situation Has A Profound Impact On How You Respond To It Emotionally. Imposter syndrome is a psycho-emotional experience of a fear of being found out as incompetent despite ongoing evi…

    Read More

  16. The Challenges Of The Road Less Traveled

    Issues You'll Face When Playing The Long Game. The challenges of the road less traveled is loosely based around the phrase popularised by M.Scott Peck with his book "The Road Less Traveled". This arti…

    Read More

  17. How To Benefit From the Unseen Margins - 5 Key Tips For Success

    These Unseen Margins Can Have A Very Dramatic Impact On Your Life. To understand how to benefit from the unseen margins we need to start by understanding what they are and where we find them. In this…

    Read More

  18. The Art Of Thinking Clearly - How To Do More Than Just Survive And Reproduce

    3 Key Tips The art of thinking clearly starts with the sobering realisation that our brains are designed to achieve two things: Survival and Reproduction! 98% of our thinking is unconscious, automatic…

    Read More

  19. Algorithms to Live By - 5 Useful Rules Of Thumb

    5 Useful Heuristics From Algorithms To Live By The thesis of the book "Algorithms to Live By" is that algorithms developed for computers can be used by people in everyday life in a wide range of situa…

    Read More

  20. Finding Signal In The Noise - How To Avoid The Noise Bottleneck

    The Art Of Being Wise Is The Art Of Knowing What To Overlook. We are blessed and cursed to live in the digital age. We have access to more information than we can possibly handle yet we struggle to fi…

    Read More

  21. The Checklist Manifesto - Your Personal Safety Net

    A Checklist Is A Safety Net That Encourages Better Results And Prevents Avoidable Mistakes. The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correc…

    Read More

  22. How Not To Be Stupid - 4 Key Tips

    How To Avoid The 7 Causes Of Everyday Stupidity. We are all capable of everyday stupidity as we undertake routine tasks in our business and working lives and also in our personal lives. This is not ab…

    Read More

  23. Beginners Mind And The Voice Of Experience

    Only The Experts Survived Evolution. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." These are the famous words of Shunryu Suzuki in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Min…

    Read More

  24. The Art Of Being Alone Is A Skill

    Let's Make Today A Good Day. You may not have chosen the condition of being alone, and it may have been imposed upon you by circumstances beyond your control, but your response to the situation is wit…

    Read More

  25. Intuition & Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Calling Here?

    How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety. How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety? We all struggle with these inner voices…

    Read More

  26. Like A Prayer - Life Is A Mystery

    It Isn't The Process Of Prayer That’s The Problem, It’s The Way It’s Framed. Regardless of what we feel about Madonna or her song the topic of prayer often arouses strong reactions. Usually, it is som…

    Read More

  27. Fear Of Missing Out - "I'll Have What She's Having!"

    We Follow The Herd - We Mimic Other People's Choices. Fear of missing out - or FOMO as it is popularly referred to - is the feeling that everyone else in your peer group is having much more fun than y…

    Read More

  28. Free - Self Improvement Resources

    Exercising Balance and Discernment. I have just updated these self improvement resources with a number of additional sources of material that are practical and can help you change your life. Check it…

    Read More

  29. Your Higher Self - Your Hardwired Portal To The Universe

    This Is The You That Is Beyond Your Thinking Mind. This is the big you, the transcendent you, the you that is often referred to as your higher consciousness or higher self. This is the you that acts a…

    Read More

  30. The Power Of Gratitude - It's Good For You!

    Gratitude And Attitude Are Not Challenges, They Are Choices. The power of gratitude quite simply is that it is good for you! Many of us were raised by parents who instilled in us the social niceties o…

    Read More



Get new posts by email:









Zen-Tools.Net





Support This Site