Monday, September 8, 2014

Letting Go of Beliefs

driftwood, beach, photography, spiritual awakening, spiritual belief, unstable
Letting go of beliefs is a natural part of the spiritual path. As you've come to identify and accept a lot of core and limiting beliefs, letting go is what eventually must follow. Early on, this can be a big thing because people are so identified with the unconscious ego. There's a lot of fear because people feel like they wouldn't know who they are or what to do without the belief system. As people let go of a lot of the littler beliefs--although at the time they tend to feel really big--they discover how much space is let into their lives. For some, that extra space is very confronting. They feel like they don't know what to do with it and may immediately try to fill the space. But wiser souls let this space consume them and open them further. In that openness a great deal more love, light, and truth become evident and accessible. This further illuminates other beliefs.

People may start to wonder what is there to believe in at all, and truly, living our lives is much simpler when we aren't caught up in an intricate web of beliefs. So many beliefs are fear-based that everything must be seen first to see if any beliefs are really necessary at all. In many ways, a belief is like clinging onto an idea and trying to apply to other things in life. But you don't really need to believe in gravity for it to be there, do you? It simply is, and the more you let go of beliefs, the clearer your perception gets of what is and what is made up.

After the Identification

Early on in spiritual shifts and just after a spiritual awakening, people are thrust into a phase of identification. You have to see what is here, see what you have created. Many people don't like what they see and try to blame the spiritual path. Wiser souls continue on, accepting what they have done. As such, I am writing for those of you wise souls who know what's in the metaphorical house. At this point, there really aren't many if any core and limiting beliefs that you aren't aware of. They may still be running around in the house, but when you bump into one, the shock, awe, and dismay are gone. You know it's time to show them the door, and so you do.

In a post I wrote called Dissolving Issues With Awareness, I talk about how the strength of our seeing naturally wants to remove these false obstacles. They are seen right through. The letting go process I've described (Identify, Accept, Embrace, and Let Go) tends to happen all at once. This arises because at this phase of your spiritual journey, you have so little investment in holding onto old unhealthy beliefs. So if you run into the lack of self worth issue again, you are not upset or interested in believing her story anymore. In this example, she doesn't want you to speak up, but you've spoken your truth countless times. You know you don't need her. You gently relax from feeling the trigger that brought her back up from the basement and show this latest iteration of this belief the door.

The Crumbling of Ideologies

All ideologies are false in the sense that they are mental constructs. They are attempts to wrap human ideas and words around phenomena in life. Sure, they can be useful. But you don't really need to believe in an ideology to create a car that runs safely. You can use the principles that have been offered to you and observed by yourself and others around torque and internal combustion engines, but you don't have to believe that all these principles are the only way to view life. Humble scientists know how much they don't know and that break-thrus arise when ideology is not present. When ideology is in force, situations such as Galileo being condemned for proposing that the earth circled the sun happen.

Now, I'm not indirectly pointing a finger at religion. There are many kinds of ideologies. The ideology of science can be just as problematic. In truth, an ideology is a belief system that attempts to explain life and tell people how to live. In many ways, it's an attempt to offer safety people. If you believe this and do that, you get to go to Heaven (safety). If you don't, you go to Hell (definitely not safety).

But there's no need to outline all the problems with ideology. Rather, I am pointing to what you may be experiencing and realizing--that no set of beliefs is real. All ideas are made up, and just as many beliefs you had about your self have dissolved, any beliefs you have about the world are also going to dissolve as you deepen into the awakened space.

The World Is as it Is

A lot of people want to create a new spiritual ideology. This myth is that we're all becoming more conscious. It's a pretty little lie. It's not inherently a bad aspiration, but if people become kinder and gentler towards each other, we don't really need to believe in it. It's right there. So who is it that needs to believe this? What does this belief get you?

More often than not, these types of beliefs will blind you. It will blind you to the horrible atrocities going on around the world because you may want to see a world that is kinder and gentler (and how you could measure that is beyond me). This is no better than the pessimists and cynics who believe the world is totally horrible when there are so many kind and loving people doing amazing things. Neither belief system works. There's no need to believe the world is anything than a globe populated with a whole bunch of different species interacting in billions of ways. But this really isn't a belief, is it? This is what is. You don't really need anyone to explain that further, and that is the simplicity of spiritual seeing.

Letting Go of More and More Beliefs

On and on,  more and more beliefs re-surface, and you can let them go. More freedom is your reward. More peace is your reward. More love is your reward when you don't have to be a somebody. When you don't believe that you have to be good or bad, you simply are. From that space, kind action seems to be a reflex for most people, but it's not mandatory. Nothing is mandatory because that would come from a belief. A belief would say that "I must help every old woman cross the road." It's not organic or flexible. Some days, you may need to take care of yourself. Other days, this particular elderly woman needs the process of doing something on her own for her personal growth. In this space of awakened awareness, we recognize that are an infinite number of ways that things can go, and one teeny, tiny little belief or set of beliefs cannot possibly account for all of that.

What Is Left?

If any one belief is left, it must go. These beliefs serve nothing. Just be. Being isn't a belief. It's what is. The here and now is what is. You don't have to believe that you are here and now, although initially people seem to struggle with that basic truth. For those earlier on the spiritual path who are reading this, all of this can sound incredibly frightening. This is why there are so many spiritual tools for people at the start of the spiritual path. They're kind of like training wheels, but the irony is that you already know how to ride this bicycle. You've done it your whole life, but you were so wrapped up in your beliefs about how you thought you should behave and live in the here and now that you couldn't see it. You also couldn't see the pain all these beliefs were costing you. That's another reason why people awaken to so much pain and dis-ease initially--all the beliefs they've been living by have been hurting them greatly, but they couldn't see the truth until now.

In the calmer waters that come later in the path (they're calmer because you have fewer beliefs agitating the lake), you work through both subtler and harder beliefs. Some are subtle, but also hidden in plain sight such as all the energy that still gets put into acting as a somebody (the clothes you wear, the things you do, the things you don't do). All these things are right out in the open, and while we can do anything, it is important to see if there is still an ego inside trying to be a somebody as opposed to simply doing what feels true in the moment to you.

The harder beliefs can be things like deeper levels of fear and shame, and they may not come up in most situations. Some of the deep issues come out of the animal instinct level that believes basically two things--you need to survive and you need to continue the species. This is one of those basic levels that forms the foundation for a lot of social programs running through us. For instance and regardless of your sexual preference, having a partner isn't necessary. The original partnership social belief is primarily about bringing a man and a woman together to continue the species. It also can be about getting your means for survival met as well. If two foundational beliefs come together, they become powerful cages that can entrap us our whole lives.

Everything Is Life

Whenever the last belief falls like the finally leaf from an Autumn tree, that is total freedom. I don't talk about total freedom because too many egos think they want that. They don't know what they're asking for though. Generally, turning spirituality into a goal has unforeseen consequences especially when the unconscious ego begins to see what total freedom is. However when all belief has evaporated, what remains is everything. What remains is life, and everything is life--life operating at its own density and level of awareness. It's always shifting and changing, so in joining with it, we are always shifting and changing (but we always were anyway). Yet, we are also permanent, so there are some more solid truths that you will find yourself resting in. That inner permanence that does not change and is our grounding, and it doesn't need you to believe in it. You don't need to believe that life is changing either. In any given moment, everything is as it is. Then we embrace that as human beings life changes. Nonduality gives way to duality. Paradoxes come to life when inner belief systems no longer vie for an either-or answer. "It has to be nonduality. There is only oneness," says one system. "No, no! There is duality. There is separation,"says another. But the answer is just "Yes." Yes to all of that and more. Yes to all the things we can't even mentally conceive to believe, and we embrace that expansiveness because there's nothing else you can do without falling back into illusion.

So, for those of you deep into your spiritual process, a belief or three may come up. Just look at it with awareness. Look at it with kindness, and then let it dissolve. There's no need to believe in anything. You simply are learning to see everything as it is, and from that space, action and breath and living come naturally.
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