What do I really believe?
I've decided to talk about what I really believe, versus what I am choosing to believe. They are different for me. When I choose what I want to believe, I really don't have sufficient experience to base any beliefs on. I reach an intellectual crossroad where it is clear to me that I have only my mind's reasoning abilities to rely upon. I can see that if I don't make a conscious choice about what I will choose to believe, I am in effect not in control of my own life, which is OK, because I already have the belief that the universe loves me and is guiding me always. I prefer to have control because then I am navigating this vessel Duane versus making the universe have to figure out what to do with me. I trust the universe, but years ago I had a great sense that while the universe wants to guide me, it also wants me to learn to choose for myself. If you were god, would you want to do the thinking for everyone? In a way, that's already the way it is, at least that's how I see it.

I already choose for myself, but the lessons continue in new areas where my understanding is still very limited, so I still get confused and reach points where I have no idea what to do or what kind of philosophy to apply. Those are times when I really feel that universe says to me, "OK Duane, make your choice, you always have choices. Make yours however you best can and don't worry about the philosophy behind it to support your decision. Concern yourself with whether or not you really trust that the universe really loves you and whether or not you trust how the universe is going to handle what comes next." Those are times I have to choose what to believe when I don't really have much experience to lean on other than that of having the universe seem to always come through for me, eventually. Since in these moments I don't know what to base a choice on, I base my choice on what I want to believe using my normal criteria for such times. <Foundational Beliefs and Belief Criteria> These are beliefs that I am choosing to believe.

All beliefs are a choice, but some beliefs we not only like believing, but our experience supports them too. We've applied those beliefs before and they have worked out to our satisfaction. If such beliefs work for me, that's great. I remain open to revising them if they should cause conflicts with other beliefs I have or if they end up causing pain that serves no purpose for anyone or if I begin to see that they violate my general criteria for beliefs, that are really a law in my opinion. I say law because if I violate them, I am violating myself, which makes no sense to me.

Then there are beliefs that I just deeply believe. I really want to believe them, but the great part is that I really do believe them. I already challenge all my beliefs, and I do mean all. Why? Because I don't want to believe things that satisfy me somehow and then find out I was mistaken and caused unnecessary pain somewhere in the universe. There's enough pain without my adding to it. Any belief that is really worth believing will hold up to all, yes all, challenges or else it just isn't worthy of believing. Don't forget, the subject of this piece of writing was what I really believed. Don't believe like I do. Look at it and take what you like and leave the rest.

What I believe now I have reflected on and challenged for years. I came to a point where I realized that I was continuing to challenge certain beliefs because I feared believing what so many others have a hard time believing. I know factually that many who are the most challenging have few if any of the experiences I've had. So it's important to also look at why we are challenging our beliefs. One need not abandon one's beliefs in order to remain open to challenges to them. When challenges to beliefs I hold come up, I look at them. This is not the same as looking for evidence to challenge one's beliefs. I think that's an important distinction. One approach remains open to change, the other is more a reflection of self doubt.

Some of what I believe is just so beautifully majestic, loving and wise and serves all life equally. Why would I want to continuing challenging ideas that? Why would I even question something that supports everyone in what they believe and do? Why would I question something that creates for me an avenue of wisdom I have never known? Why would I question something that creates for me an understanding and love for others, regardless of how messed up they may seem to be or how much pain they have inflicted on others? Why would I question something that fills my heart so fully that it overflows with tears of love? I don't. I do remain open to being shown that it is a false belief. I don't believe it can be shown to be false because it's just one of those things that logically relies on faith and can't really be proven. It can be experienced, just not proven.

What is it I believe? I believe that I am one with the universe and that everything is a reflection of me. That if I lived the life of anyone else, I would be doing what they do. It's easy to say, "I wouldn't do that" because we are not them. Let that sink in. We are not them. What that means is that we do not have the memories of that person, the experiences of that person, the history of decisions and ideas that make them who they are and not us. I also believe that we get to experience what we judge without understanding. Why do I believe that? Because I get to live my life that way now. I try to watch what I say. Things said out of frustration and anger, even if just to myself, like "I just don't understand why they do that. It's so wrong. I would never do that." are very loaded. You can bet that if I say that, I'll get to have experiences that will show me how I might be influenced to do such things and in the process, reach an understanding that fills my heart with love.

When my mom was dying, I sat in her bedroom with her and asked the universe to tell me something wise. The message essentially was that love is created by understanding. I believe that very much, because it is part of my experience. It also makes logical sense, is a beautiful idea, fits my belief test, and gives a very real way to find love. We all experience this, but sometimes we just don't notice how our lives operate.

I'm done for now. Saying much else right now would feel like I'm just writing to write. What I've said above, comes right from my heart and I fully believe that it's really good stuff. It's not my stuff. It's our stuff. It's like looking at the sunset and describing it to someone. It may be a reflection of how I think and see, but the sunset isn't mine, it's ours. They may be my words and convey something that might help someone see that sunset through new eyes, but the sunset is no more mine than yours. The description wouldn't even exist were there no sunset. Everyone sees the same sunset differently, but some descriptions are worth keeping in mind. Who made the sunset? We can all ponder that one, but I'd say we did.


See also, Letter to Robert

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