Beliefs and Big Picture Belief Criteria
Set some criteria for selecting what you are going to choose to believe. Remember that you may never know what is really true, but that what you choose to believe is what will affect how you make decisions, how you will feel in your life, how you treat others, where you choose to head in your life and basically affects everything about you. We're talking major stuff here.
We all realize that as children we held beliefs that seemed to be true and worked for us at the time. As we grew up, we became aware that there was a world out there that functioned very differently than the world we knew in terms of our neighborhood, friends and family. Our awareness expanded and a different picture emerged. The beliefs we held changed as our awareness of a bigger picture developed.
Likewise, when we are seeking to understand our lives by evaluating the world as it appears before us, we would be wise to remind ourselves that there even larger perspectives we will likely experience. Beliefs shape how we interpret these new vistas. Understanding our own values gives us a means of shaping our own beliefs in a way that will serve ourselves and others. Living in harmony with the true nature of reality is living with the current versus against it.
I have developed what I consider to be my own fundamental guidelines of assessing the ideas that come to mind that might later become beliefs. Creeks flow into rivers, which flow into lakes, which flow again into creeks and rivers, and ultimately flow into the ocean. Though each creek, river and lake and ocean has it's own qualities. They all exist because of the existence of water. They have their own ways of behaving and yet that behavior is greatly affected by the behavior of water. They cannot defy the nature of water because water is what gives them life. If you misunderstand water, you will not understand creeks, rivers, lakes or oceans.
The same holds true for regarding our understanding the nature of life. Misunderstand that nature and you will misunderstand life in all its forms. Since the nature of life is infinite, understanding it all would be a rather big challenge. Yet if we have some understanding of that infinite nature of life, we will be better equipped to understand the creeks, rivers, lakes and oceans of our own lives.
I believe that for existence itself to continue, existence must be supportive of itself. As an individual, if we are not being supportive of ourselves, then we are self destructive. I see the universe under one guiding umbrella. Each bit that is in existence is part of that umbrella. That which supports the umbrella is supporting it's own nature. That which goes against the nature of that umbrella is therefore not supportive of the structure of its own existence. Cancerous cells lead to the death of the body that gives them life and therefore to their own destruction
How we approach life is a direct reflection of our beliefs. If our beliefs support life, then we are supporting what is eternal and in so doing, we are supporting ourselves. Now as I see it, this umbrella, this source of all existence, understands this very well. After all, one can see by the complexity of the universe, from the micro to the macro, that this source has been around for a long, long time. So if we want to understand life we need to form our beliefs so that they are consistent with a larger view of life.
My foundational belief is that there is one source behind all life. This source loves itself and therefore loves all life. This is clear to me. It's purely logical, is consistent with my personal experience and matches what I feel in my heart. From this premise I've come up with what we can call "Big Picture Belief Criteria". These are challenges to any belief that I may find myself looking into, talking about, or find already hidden within me that I've noticed. Any belief that I want to hold has to fit within the big picture as I currently see it. Here they are:
1. Is the belief supportive of all life?
Does it respect life? Does it respect others? Does it respect me? Would it cause all life to want to exist? Would it elevate each aspect of life that believed it too?
2. Would it be a good thing as I see it?
Would the belief, were it to be used against me, be a belief that I would still support and value?
3. Do I want this to be true? Why?
Why believe in something that you can't yet prove that you don't want to be true. Why form an interpretation that you don't want to be true. This is not avoidance. This is intelligence. Too often we believe in things that we don't want to be true but we fear are true. We can't prove it yet we see people defending ideas that they don't like that they can't prove. That is a case of working against ourselves.
Ask yourself "Do I want this to be true?" If not, then why am I choosing to believe it? If fear is part of the reason, then don't trust it. Remember, fear is a coercive motivator whose force is that of your own being. You decide what you will choose to let motivate you. Just remember that coercion is not a very respectful approach. Learn to trust those beautiful heartfelt dreams and aspirations. Learn to understand when fear is what is motivating you and ask yourself just how long you are willing to live taking directions from fear. A day? Week? Month? Year? 5 years? 25 years? 50 years? A lifetime? It's up to you to live as you choose. Choose to live conscious of you. That is the greatest of all gifts and yet perhaps the most under appreciated.
Remember to look for new
ways of seeing life so that when our own beliefs lead us into personal conflicts,
we can resolve them without ignoring them. We can't make a "bad" choice,
but we can repeat choices that have not gotten us what we really wanted in the
past. Eventually these repeated habitual choices wear us out until it's just
too painful to keep doing it the same way over and over. We try something new
and lo and behold, it works!
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