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.
I use to follow a map. I did so because that’s all I knew to do. Thankfully, I allowed the events of time to shape me but only as I sought them out from the internal me. That which is intrinsic to who I am and who I think I can be. I’m someone vastly different than I thought as a youngster. I am more than an automaton.
Thanks for your insight and love the photo. Gorgeous!
What you say here reminds me very much of J. Krishnamurti…who would be the last one to say anyone should “believe” what he said! 🙂
Love your images! Regarding belief, I read somewhere (maybe Deepak Chopra) that many people choose or stay with an inherited belief system because it’s easier than thinking and deciding for themselves. I tend to agree with that. Thank you for your thoughtful reflections and stunning photography!
fantastic, beautiful, true
Thanks everyone… very much! People like you who are actually willing to look beyond the limited circle of “what they were taught” or “programmed to be” are intelligent and far more rare than the other type.
Jude: I am a lot like I was as a child. I was deeply interested in nature and looking at bugs and creatures up close… and I still am doing it. Hopefully, I still have that innocence that I had as a child. Never lose that innocence and sense of wonder!
Cynthia: I am very familiar with J. Krishnamurti. However, I was in around in the 5th grade, when I (on my own) realized the limitations of thought/thinking and going beyond it into silence. I used to have one on one conversations with Professor David Bohm, who was close to K, and who is in a lot his books (discussing with him). David was also an associate of Einstein’s and Einstein even wanted him as an permanent assistant. K wasn’t the first one to deeply influence me radically spiritual-wise (other than myself); it was probably Walt Whitman. Walt, as well as E.E.Cummings (I suggest or maintain, though you certainly shouldn’t merely believe it) were enlightened human beings. (In enlightenment – though certainly don’t merely believe this – an immortal energy visits you and you feel a trillion times more alive than what regular consciousness consists of.) Here’s a little sample of Whitman (whom our teacher, many years ago, made us students read):
I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
Therese: Yes… following an inherited belief system is so easy. We were just yesterday watching something about the Nazi party in Germany. Their propaganda machine and propaganda specialists were still functioning and running even after Hitler shot himself!
Mitza: Thanks very much! You’ve been so very kind! 🙂
Interesting post, and nicely articulated. From the time I was a young girl, attending a Missouri synod Lutheran parochial school, some things I was taught just didn’t make sense. The more questions I had, the more trouble it made for me and my parents. As I grew older, I had more questions, which always seemed to get me labeled as a “bad apple”, in whatever organized group I was trying out. I suppose at this point in my life I am comfortable in being free-spirited and open, tapping into what nature and Universe have to present to me… and flourishing in the moment of what is! And I might say, there is just as much to be gleaned in the dark as there is in the light! It’s all good, my friend!
Lori, good for you; be what (and who) you are! My parents moved me from public school to a Catholic parochial school when I was in the 5th grade. Even back then I was well aware about how ludicrous the whole thing was. Today, before even seeing your post, I was reminiscing about how I’d sit in class and often just tune out from everything they were saying; I remember being very good at going beyond their words, propaganda, and nonsense into a realm of pure silence, joy, and peace.
In terms of being labeled a “bad apple,” I’m sure that the relatives on my side of the family think that way! Once, at my aunt’s funeral, my cousin turned to me (in church) and said: “It’s too bad that you’re a heathen!” On my wife’s side of the family, most of the in-laws bought copies of my book… and some even got friends to buy copies. On my side of the family, not one relative (out of tons) bought a single copy! This occurred, even though we would regularly go to Christmas parties and Easter parties and joyfully celebrate with them! (By the way, Jesus occurs considerably within the book I wrote, though a lot of what occurs is from the ancient Gospel of Thomas.) Because of my passion to find out, and my rather innocent nature, a lot of extraordinary things have happened to me… things that I hold private, but if I shared (which I won’t) would absolutely floor anyone! So, don’t pay attention to what people think… and, above all, don’t try to “fit in” by compromising on your values/insights.
From the Oxyrhynchus early Greek fragments of the Gosp. of T.:
[Jesus sa]id, [“Wh]ere there are [th]r[ee] t[hey ar]e [without] God. And [w]here there is only o[ne], I say, I am with hi[m]. Li[f]t the stone and there you will find me. Split the wood and I am there.”