Monday, November 2, 2009

Beliefs Shape Our Reality

“This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question.” -- Orson Scott Card

The eBook: A View Beyond the Stars  cuts right to the quick of that which clings ever so persistently, fiercely beneath our every conscious thought. That we are, each and every one of us special, unique and that somehow we must matter in an enduring way to everyone and everything around us.

Our view of existence is shaped by this simple yet powerful belief. In fact everything we think and do is motivated by a fundamental set of beliefs. How we treat ourselves, how we treat others, what we choose to do in the world and most importantly, what reward we expect from this experience of living Life.

Beliefs are our lens with which we view everything around us. They determine from our most intimate, primal thoughts and concepts, what we will embrace and what we will shun in the world we live in. They both liberate and imprison our actions through both powerful and subtle emotional response, which are without substance and yet bind us completely to what interpretation we make about what we perceive. Of all the influence of forces in the vast Universe that surrounds us, there is no greater impact on any human being than that which results from our beliefs.

What we believe in sets our expectations for existence, causing us to make assumptions for the present as well as the future. These can be as simple as trusting in the good will of people around you, or assuming that people are out to take advantage of you. Most people agree that having a strong set of convictions, or another way of saying commitment to one’s beliefs, is an important sign of character. We learn from experience that nothing much gets done in the world unless a person with conviction sets out to accomplish it.

These are respected character traits in the people we admire and aspire to emulate. But there is another side to being compelled from a strong belief system. It can predispose you to a self-created reality that fixates your attention on a unique view of the world that must be shared by others in order for it to survive. Reality is nothing more than broad agreement on how we choose to perceive and mutually interact with the world we share.

Beliefs become our compromise with chaos. When we first think a thought, or receive a perception from outside ourselves, we are determined to compare it to that which we have already resolved from disorder. From our earliest awareness of unassociated thoughts, feelings, perceptions and decisions, we have worked steadfastly to sort them into familiar patterns. These form our own very personal matrix, or the mesh underpinning our view of reality, which we weave the remainder of our Life’s experience into. We make compromises with what we don’t understand. We trowel over imperfections on the face of the structure of our understanding, with a plaster of beliefs that restores uniformity and control in our view. As infants, our bodies provide us the potential and physical ability to stand and walk against the force of gravity. But the means to do so must be bolstered by the belief that we can. Beyond just standing up in a tumultuous world, with potential for joy or disaster at every turn, our beliefs help us to decide whether or not we will even try - and choose to exist at all.

This book is not difficult to read and yet for many, reading it will be difficult because it will challenge the way you think and most importantly what you believe in the deepest core of your psyche. It is not easy to reconsider core beliefs. They define us and they protect us from spinning hysterically out of control in a world that tugs incessantly at the fabric of our personal reality. And so I am not asking you to just let go of that which literally holds you together, but rather to merely loosen your grip just a bit; to not clutch so dearly to the comfort of your beliefs, while you consider something new, unusual and perhaps even wonderful.

As we continue to plumb the depths of the inner and outer universes, exploring and pushing beyond our human boundaries of perception and thought, we continue to see something inexplicable and awe inspiring at work. Science is just now coming to terms with an intersection of the physical and the metaphysical; an age old concept that had been discarded in favor of only that which is tangible, therefore observable, quantifiable and therefore classifiable. However, scientific method is beginning to discover proof the intangible may be even more fantastic than we could imagine and despite the gossamer appearance of that which had always eluded our human grasp, it is beginning to materialize right before our eyes.

What does it all mean? Are we so invested in our beliefs about the evolutionary world around us, or the gods of creation, that we cannot embrace another possibility which may well prove each of them to be merely guideposts to our final destination? And might it be possible that our quest as humans might be to finally arrive at a place where neither science, nor even gods rein supreme? If in either case your immediate thought after considering that line was: “preposterous!”, then you see the powerful mechanism of the limiting effect of one’s beliefs at work.

Consider this quote from Robert Lanza: “Instead of assuming a reality that predates life and even creates it, we propose a bio centric picture of reality. From this point of view, life – particularly consciousness – creates the universe, and the universe could not exist without us.”

Robert Lanza is Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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