What is belief? Is it necessary in terms of understanding the whole, or is it something that is not very intelligent? In terms of religion, there are many who believe in their various Gods, and these beliefs — unquestionably — have a lot to do with what was handed down to them from others. Each one has his or her own inherited beliefs. So many (each) think that their God is best, that their country is best. Beliefs tend to divide people. Many wars have been fought over, and about, firm beliefs. One wonders — when beliefs have caused so much havoc and conflict in the world — why we still desperately cling to them.
In terms of spirituality, as was suggested, there are many who believe in their own particular God. Atheists believe that there is no God; they say that God doesn’t exist. Please don’t go off and get overly upset about this… but if one’s images of one’s God are composed of learned concepts and if one’s ideas that there is no God are constituted of concepts… then — in a fundamental way — there really is no big difference between ardent religious believers and atheists; they are both filled with their own particular, absorbed concepts.
To really (passionately) inquire — beyond all this vast array of disagreeing and conflicting beliefs — is something totally different. Then handed-down concepts or absorbed abstractions and procedures don’t influence and hinder one’s perception. Someone beyond these is truly open (and not contaminated by some process or conclusion). If you are on a quest to really find out the true nature of the whole of everything, will you follow someone’s technique, religious process, or anti-religious process… “map” of how to get there? If you follow their methodology, that means that you strongly suspect or “believe” that they hold the answer… the “special map.” However, if you aren’t truly aware of the answer, how could you possibly accurately know, or believe, that they have the answer?
Simply inquiring and perceiving, without an accumulated procedure (involving time), and learning about one’s self — without belief — without dependence on anyone’s system, or tradition, or “special map”… is not merely another belief. Belief (including following the methodology of others) takes time; it’s the residual result of an accumulated, residual process. Immediate perception (not clouded by learned beliefs or concepts), and insight concerning the self and/or deep truth, may not be (or be part of) an accumulative process whatsoever; time essentially has nothing to do with it. You know, when you actually see the sun, you don’t have to believe in it. There are billions habitually walking around with (and “as”) accumulated symbols, patterns, and images… learned from others over time. People love symbols; they are mesmerized by symbols, and most people are “thinking,” by way of mental symbols (which are what thoughts are), nearly all of the time. But the word “sun” isn’t the sun. Accepting symbolic beliefs, images, and concepts as the primary basis of your existence may not (unfortunately) be deeply intelligent, and it may lead to more conflict in the world; it may be like clinging to dark, cloud-like, second-hand, empty shadows (that never allow one to truly see the light). One can be open and beyond all that; few ever do it.