Saturday, June 19, 2010

The initial motivation for belief

When we look around at Systems Of Belief, there are many. Christianity, Buddhism, Tantra Yoga, Classical Yoga, Islam. Although quite different in method, all systems of belief must share one starting point. The initial motivation for belief comes from the feeling that things are unsatisfactory as they are. Belief systems will disagree on exactly what is unsatisfactory, but it comes down to one thing in the end. We die. We die, and we don't know what happens next, if anything. This is profoundly unsettling to us. We don't want to end, so we create a belief. Hold on. What is a belief? This is one description:

Existential claim - to claim belief in the existence of an entity or phenomenon with the implied need to justify its claim to existence. It is often used when the entity is not real, or its existence is in doubt. "He believes in witches and ghosts" or "many children believe in fairies" are typical examples.

O.K. So.... we have a "belief" when we don't know for sure. None of us would say "My belief system is that I have a head". The reason that sounds so silly is that we know we have a head. We don't have to affirm a belief in it. This is important.

So, now we have a "belief" that we go to heaven, we re-incarnate, we turn into a luminous being, and so on. If we knew this, we would not have to have a "belief". Would we? So, if we believe something happens after we die, do we individually create a belief in some sort of continuation after death, or do we adopt one that already exists? Which one did you adopt?

Coming back around to my initial point in writing this, it is my assertion that belief is motivated by the ego. It is our desire to continue in some form that creates the motivation to adopt a belief system. If is sounds true to you that our adoption of belief is ego-driven, then good luck transcending the ego through spiritual practice based on belief. Uh-oh.

So, if we want our spiritual lives - strike that - if we want our lives to be based in truth, we have to start from a place of truth, and that is knowing what is and what is not. If we could, for a change, get rid of the beliefs we have about things and simply observe reality and then have a chat about it, we'd be further ahead. There may very well be re-incarnation, or heaven, or luminosity, or myriad other potentials for our energy when this form ends. But we will never discover that by adopting a belief and psychologically crossing our fingers, in the hopes that the belief we adopted is the "right" one.