You took foundation meditation course, attend the weekly murli classes, visited Madhuban, Mount Abu! You were inspired, you felt genuinely changed by the experience. You returned home with an enthusiasm of new YOU! You are more aware of others, less reactive, more patient, more a listener and a less talker. A few days pass, you get into daily routine and you are back to your old self. And again you search for new ways to unleash your inner potential by attending a self-improvement course. So why do we find it so hard to change?
The Mind is Set by Belief: The answer can probably be encapsulated in the word ‘mindset’. Until our mindset changes, our thoughts and decisions, attitudes and actions, will not change significantly or lastingly. ‘Mindset’ means the beliefs we have assimilated and to which we are subconsciously attached. They shape our perceptions and our interpretations. They are the root cause of our consequent habits of thought and action.
Until we consciously do something about our programmed belief system nothing much is going to change in our life. But changing our mindset is NOT about casting out the old and assimilating, adopting and affirming a new set of beliefs. It can bring some short term results at a superficial level but the original beliefs are so entrenched in our subconscious that they sustain and nurture our habitual thoughts and behaviors. Thus there is always a ‘dualistic mental struggle’ between believing in the negative and believing in the positive.
Stop Trying to Change: So stop trying. Only then is it possible to rediscover the truth. Truth is not belief! Beliefs are a product of dualistic thinking as such, the beliefs have opposites, and hence the mental tension in the thinking, “Should I believe or not believe?” So what is truth? What is the truth that lies beyond right and wrong, beyond believing and disbelieving, way beyond faith and doubt, beyond positive and negative? It is consciousness itself.1 Remember your primary responsibility:After a lifetime of conditioning in which we learn to believe it’s ‘the other’ that makes you feel what you feel, and therefore think what you think, and do what you do, it’s not easy to remember ...no it’s not them, it’s me! Take responsibility for your own emotional state.
The Shift from Belief to Truth: It’s only when we fully ‘realize’ our true state, which is to realize and know your true nature, that all those beliefs, positive or negative, right or wrong, good or bad, become toast! Belief itself becomes redundant. When you are ‘in’ your true state of conscious awareness then the idea (belief) that you need to ‘believe in’ yourself, believe in the project, believe in the product, just sounds a bit silly!
Here are some examples of how the dualistic tension of beliefs can be dissolved by the singularity of truth i.e. by realizing and living from your true nature.
The Anger Beliefs: We tend to ‘learn to believe’ it’s OK to be angry at others, at the world, and even towards our self. Parents and managers may have even learned to use the emotion of anger to scare others into compliance. Then, when someone comes along and says anger is not a good idea, not a healthy emotion, they resist this belief and even argue for their anger! So the anger is good versus the anger is bad conversation gets underway! It’s only when the truth of our inner peace is felt and realized to be our natural state of being, a state that is always there, ‘prior to’ our thoughts and beliefs, that the ‘anger OK/not OK’ argument is seen to be futile and irrelevant! Why? Because hidden in the deep inner peace of our being is the awareness that we don’t depend on anyone else for our feelings of peace, happiness, contentment, joy! This realization of complete inner freedom kills one of the deepest beliefs that most of us learn, which is that we are dependent on others, on events, on the world, for what and how we feel!
The Belief in Loss: Similarly, fear arises from ‘the belief’ that we may lose something or someone in the future. Sadness arises when we ‘believe’ we have lost someone or something in the past. These beliefs and emotions then shape other reactive, defensive behaviors including withdrawal, avoidance and attack. Only when we truly, deeply realize that everything and everyone are simply passing energies that come and go, like wind and rain, sunlight and snowfall, can we be free of fear and sadness. Sometimes these realizations are called spiritual. They ‘happen’ within our consciousness which is within our spirit or soul.
Action: Initiate three discussions with three people you know well and practice letting g of belief and reaction and experience the feeling of not having to defend your belief.
Adapted from Mike George’s article “Are YOU a Believer or a Knower?” © 2012