What Do You Believe?

I have just finished one book (Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins) and I am nearly done with another (Small Gods by Terry Pratchett), both of which have dealt with beliefs, specifically beliefs in a god or gods.  Both authors propose that gods exist because people believe in them and when people don’t believe in them anymore, the gods disappear.  Tom Robbins uses the god Pan as an example and Terry Pratchett has a god named Om who has become a tortoise.

This got me thinking about the power of beliefs, and I have no intention of getting into religion, so no worries there dear readers, but these books have brought home yet again something that I have only discovered relatively recently as I work on my healing with a fantastic therapist, and that is that our beliefs are extremely powerful and in fact the beliefs construct our realities.  I know I have dealt with this topic before, but it is such a very important one and I don’t feel as if I have personally fully comprehended it.

I do know that a lot of my own personal healing has been centered around restructuring my beliefs so that my reality is more reflective of who I really am.  I still fall into old patterns when triggered of believing that I lack any artistic talent or that I am the stupid one or that I am not worthy of anything and need to put everyone and everything else first, but for the most part, I have managed to restructure my beliefs so that I know which of these things are quite absurd and actually a part of my father’s reality and which might work for me.

There is only one constant in this life and that is change.  I think it is important then from time to time to reassess what we believe so that we can see if it is still working for us, and if not, how we can change our beliefs to reflect the world and the reality we really want.  This is scary work as changing beliefs does destabilize our reality until a new paradigm can shift into place and become a part of us.  And I am no different from most in this, that it took getting to a very dark place to give me the incentive to go through the destabilization process.  We all need beliefs to shape our reality as I don’t think that there is an absolute world or an absolute reality.  But we all need a belief system that helps us realize our full potential, which helps us navigate our world in a positive and healthy way.

Over and over again we see evidence of how our beliefs, for good or ill, can determine our lives.  Doctors have proven conclusively that patients with positive attitudes, those who believe they can be well again, have a much higher healing rate.  Beliefs hold the power of making self-fulfilling prophesies.  If I believe I will fail, then fail I will.  At that point I can then say, see I was right.  It becomes a vicious circle.

And whatever our beliefs are about anything, we can find evidence to prove we are right.  If, for instance, we say the world is a scary and nasty place, then we will focus on all the things that happen that support that belief, and ignore or forget the things that don’t.  I know several folks who believe that life is shit (pardon my language) and then you die, and guess what, they can find tons of support for that belief.  I know others who believe that life is good and wonderful, and they also can find lots of support for their belief.  And these two opposite points of view can exist in basically the same environment, because the reality is that we attract what we believe in.

So it is time again for me to do a check-in on my beliefs.  I am still working at overcoming a lot of fears and on this glorious sunny weekend, I look outside and think, well, I could go for a walk.  But then the old fears surface.  It is safer to stay inside.  I might meet a mean dog or a nasty person  or I might fall if I go out.  These things have happened to me so the fears are not totally unfounded.  But the fact is that they haven’t happened in a long time and not in this neighborhood.  So just maybe it is time to challenge my beliefs that people are scary.  Sure, some are, but most are not and even if someone does say something hurtful, it is probably more reflective of them than me and maybe they are just having a bad day or maybe their belief system is such that they feel they have to go through life defensively, getting in the first hit no matter what.  I don’t know.  But I do know that I need to focus on changing my beliefs so that I don’t attract the very thing I fear.

Now, as I look out my window on this gorgeous sunny day and watch myriad butterflies darting in and around my garden I realize that overall life is very good and very beautiful.  And whether I enjoy the beauty from inside or out, I can still be uplifted by the lovely space I am in and I am free to decide whether to quilt or to read or just maybe go for a walk.  The choice is mine; I need only believe that.  Have a super day wherever you are!

11 responses

  1. Since I'm the first to commit an opinion here, I will express myself freely. If you've checked my profile on your recent visit, you may have noticed I declare myself an atheist, therefore, no gods according to any scriptures for me, but one guy with plenty of questions. What I believe in is dignity. Living with dignity, hence proper living conditions, proper health care for all, good education, respect within a family and in society at large, and between countries. This implies individuals working have a right to good working conditions and wages. Homeless have a right to shelter and food and reintegration when possible. Mental illness is not just a matter of pills but a need for nurturing and analysis to find a solution to reach some well being. And societies have a right not to live in fear in this age of terror. I also believe in dignity in death, meaning I believe in euthanasia, medically supervised of course. Leaving people in perpetual pain and a state of decrepitude with no possibility of regaining ever some health is cruel. I've seen it in the course of my work and it broke my heart to be helpless. But the idea is making its way… This world is what we make it, and I'd like it to be a wondrous place to live. There's plenty of work to do, and it all starts with me, and you, and you… If there is a god, would he be pleased?:)~ HUGZ

  2. believing in oneself is powerful.

  3. I couldn't agree more with your most thoughtful reply. I'm not much for labels, but I don't believe in any type of personal god or gods according to any scriptures. I do believe in a life force running through the universe which connects all living creatures from the smallest one cell organism to the Blue Whale or giant Sequoia. And I think all life is sacred. Belief in dignity is a powerful and uplifting belief and one that can only improve this world. So if there is a god, yes, she would be pleased 🙂 I also believe that leaving people in perpetual pain is very cruel, and everyone has a right to proper living conditions, etc. Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi said. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

  4. Very powerful indeed! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Don't think I didn't notice your use of the "she"…I will not begrudge you this as it is only semantic for something that totally goes beyond our comprehension.Indeed, we are all connected and that is why Earth Day should be important as a time of reflection on our every action and the consequences for each of those. There is so much to consider in every aspect… I don't know if I'll see in my lifetime the changes needed in our way of life.Better roll up our sleeves!!:)~ HUGZ

  6. Yes, couldn't resist. I usually use s/he, but you are right that it is only semantics in this case. I also don't know if I will see any significant changes in my lifetime, but I continue to make whatever differences I can and that is all any of us can do. Sleeves all rolled up! 🙂

  7. That's how it all begins.Good girl!!:)~ HUGZ

  8. "Over and over again we see evidence of how our beliefs, for good or ill, can determine our lives."You don't have to answer this if it's too personal, Daphne, but have you ever heard of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy? It sounds exactly like what you talked about in this post – that not all of our beliefs are logical, that even the worst fears can shrink (or even disappear) when you look them in the face." I have no intention of getting into religion, so no worries there dear readers,"No pressure but I'd love to talk about your religious beliefs someday if you're interested. The little I know about this part of your life really intrigues me.

  9. Sorry I'm slow in responding! But you are right that a lot of what I have said is in line with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which I know only a little bit about. As far as religious beliefs, I'd have to say my beliefs are more spiritual than religious I guess. I don't believe in any organized religion as such, and I don't believe in any kind of personal god. But I do believe that all life is connected and that our thoughts are powerful, both for our own beliefs and for influencing/helping others. I identify with more Eastern practices (Daoism for instance) and of course The Force (Star Wars). This is just a quick overview–would love to chat more with you. Cheers!

  10. Daphne, could I email a few questions to you about your beliefs? I don't want to derail your comment section. 🙂

  11. Of course! My e-mail is daphne@weavingquilter.com. I'd love to hear from you!

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