Belief and Faith – take a moment to look at these words and see what feelings occur. You may feel joy or peace, or perhaps sadness and loss. Remember that these are just words and the reactions are not related to the words themselves but to your experiences that elicit a reaction ‘to’ them. Ego (mind) ‘identifies’ with the words and attaches them to the understanding of who you are; the feeling experienced is in response to that. Looking at the words again, describe the emotion that comes to you through ‘sensation’ rather than more words, try this before you read on.
For me, feeling into these words, Faith is perceived as a deep abiding sense of ‘knowing’, it’s Trust, it’s acceptance, and it goes beyond beliefs, transcends mind and creates a connection to an absolute Divine Nature. When I consider the word ‘belief’ I immediately move my awareness to my mind, identity – beliefs seem to hover around Faith like atoms orbiting a bright nucleus.
Beliefs are mind-based. They develop from information collected over time. A sub-conscious structure is built around them to help us make sense of the world and our place in it. Beliefs can come from various sources, some are tribal, these are the ones that connect us to other people. They relate to family, friends, or any group-based belief systems we tap into such as religious denominations, political parties, even sporting teams, they give us a ‘sense’ of belonging to something larger than ourselves. Others are more personal, unique to the individual, formed from our own experiences.
As a society we are taught that a system of beliefs should never be challenged or questioned – this is what we think (believe) ‘Faith’ is – to hold steadfast to a belief system regardless of the evidence before us. Many will reject conflicting evidence because they believe (think) that to do otherwise would potentially break their world (identity) apart, and it probably would. When beliefs are held too tightly, the attachment can be too painful to release.
Faith (Divine Nature) never leaves; it resides deeply in the Heart and is gentle, patient. It never uses force. Beliefs are steppingstones (tools) to Self-Realisation, they should be organic and be allowed to grow with you. As new discoveries are made, beliefs can change, they evolve, they lead us to new levels of Awareness. Ego (mind) can hijack beliefs; a lot of time and energy is invested in attaching them to the sense of Self, that fear arises when we consider letting one go. When our beliefs are challenged, a defensive posture often arises, an attempt to hold onto the ‘mind-based’ Self that the ego has created for us.
Beliefs should not stop us from growing into our own Awareness, and they should be regularly reassessed, re-evaluated, and challenged. It is categorically your right to change your belief, your opinion, your mind, anytime that is appropriate for you – and to allow and support others to do the same. Beliefs are fluctuating and adaptable, while Faith is enduring and persistent. Beliefs should enhance and support your sense of Faith, rather than your sense of identity.
This is a follow on from a recent blog, you may like to read it for context: ”Bliss of Buoyant Beliefs”