Beliefs, like relationships, are very complicated things.
Many people experience a degree of comfort in ‘shared beliefs.’ Some may even feel a sense of belonging to a recognized and accepted group norm often found in religious or cultural beliefs—where they may feel the welcoming support of their fellow members—welcoming, that is, as long as they abide by the rules of membership to be in the group.
As we are all aware, the world is full of numerous organized religions with specific belief systems of “do’s” and “don’t” for being considered a true believer of that group. The ruling structure of the unified group may even determine that group members should focus on trying to convert non-believers to their group’s particular belief system. Some group ‘converters’ might consider that task their ‘purpose in life,’ or some may simply call it their job to ‘spread the word,’ whatever that group’s particular WORD might be.
Being too numerous to even list here, each known religious group has their own particular perspective on life in general and on the “WHY” of everything in existence: past, present and future. Some groups are similar in basic beliefs and some are quite different. (Check out that fantastic graph about The Evolutionary Tree of Religion from my post “Searching for Life’s Meaning” – December 22, 2019)
But even among those who adhere to some form of shared communal-beliefs, whether religious or cultural, every individual still maintains their own personal beliefs that may vary slightly from their neighbor’s beliefs, or even from their other family member’s beliefs, because when it comes down to what drives our individual being forward from day to day, it depends on what we personally believe about the world around us and believe about how we do or should function within that world that we share.
And what I most want to convey here is that our BELIEFS naturally evolve as WE evolve in awareness and understanding of the complexity of the world in which we reside.
- As children we were likely told certain things to help us adapt into the belief systems of our parents or of our religious community (or of our society in general).
- As adolescents we may have begun questioning some of those beliefs because they either didn’t make sense to our growing comprehension abilities or they may have countered what we felt in our own hearts.
- As adults we may have come into full-scale rebellion on attempts to restrict us to the beliefs of childhood because as we matured, the world didn’t appear quite so ‘one-sided’ as we were earlier led to believe. We learned that the world wasn’t so much the extreme polarity of black to white or right to wrong, but that it encompassed an entire spectrum of gray variations with nuances of rightness and wrongness to most every aspect that we encountered. Even religious institutions that frequently advocated LOVE and COMPASSION, at times demonstrated the opposite of it, spewing hate language and condemnation of others. How could that be?
But even when that BELIEF rebellion first began within us, we felt that we still needed to believe in something, but we just didn’t know what that something might be. This was likely when you first began trying to find your own truth.
This was when you first recognized that from your own perspective, the ‘truth for you’ didn’t necessarily feel like the same truth you were once told from your parent’s viewpoint or from the earlier religious-group perspective.
You may have even noticed feeling prickly when around others who tried to tell you what to think or do because you knew deep inside that this ‘BELIEF-thing’ was something that you had to define for yourself.
And considering the larger composition of our lives, I think we can acknowledge that ‘believing something specific’ about LIFE in general is comforting to us psychologically, because if you don’t believe in anything, then how do you frame your world? How do you view your life? What is the purpose for doing much of anything?
That’s why we relentlessly search for something to believe in, because when we don’t have something specific that assures us that we are here for a reason, then it makes it that much harder to make any sense of our lives.
Beliefs keep us from feeling pointless.
I think we all have a deep psychological need to BELIEVE in some type of system of existence and purpose for our being here—for doing whatever it is that we are doing with our lives. And as long as we recognize that our NEED for BELIEF is often what defines our life perspective, then I think we maintain a healthy view of our existence in general because we know that we tend to feel better about ourselves if we believe in SOMETHING, rather than having a deep, dark hole inside where the ‘meaning of our lives’ should instead be sitting.
My own beliefs have certainly evolved over the years. At present what I believe has more to do with what I personally experience and perceive about the world around me rather than what anyone else “tells me” is the truth about our shared life experience. I’ve read a bunch of comparative religions, philosophy, and psychology books. I’ve studied Hinduism, Buddhism, Animism, Shamanism, and had various meditative and spiritual-journeying personal experiences, along with having slowly developed a few psychic-perception skills over the years; and what I know for certain is that what we think that we know of this world that we all share is minuscule compared to what may actually be occurring to us on all levels of our being, because we exist beyond this plane/dimension of existence—that has been proven to me many times. I have seen it for myself.
But these are the some of the core issues that you need to determine for yourselves. You need to define your own beliefs—which means, you need to find your own truths.
You certainly don’t have to buy into any beliefs that I may share here in this blog—no matter how hard I’ve fought to make sense of all the personal experiences that I’ve had to date.
Just be willing to fight for your own beliefs—to see life as only YOU can see it. Then share your discoveries with the rest of us to help ALL of us see that LIFE is far more than we often give it credit for being.
So by all means, do your own thing. But do it with intention! Then at least you’ll be aware of what it is that you are continually searching for—which is your own truth.