We have all experienced the debilitating force of limiting beliefs, the most damaging of all being: ‘I can’t…’.
I hold an uncommon view about how the relationship between belief and knowledge comes to shape reality. According to what I know spiritually, the belief/knowledge interaction is co-creative and co-dependent. Our beliefs are just as important as conceptual knowledge, and each informs the other. Our reality is constructed from a dense and complicated web of beliefs and knowledge. Beliefs are powerful because they inform our words and actions, this is particularly so of the beliefs we hold about ourselves. We can harness the power of belief to create wonderful opportunities in our lives, but in order to do so, we have to learn to vanquish the beliefs that we hold that limit us. The following points are some things to consider when choosing what to believe…
Belief and knowledge are not separate things:
Without belief, knowledge would not exist. Everything that we know began somewhere, sometime, as a belief, a hunch, an abstract idea floating on the ether. Belief is the acorn from which the Oak of knowledge grows.
Albert Einstein famously said, ‘There is no logical way to the discovery of elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling of the order lying behind the appearance.’- Thank you Albie, they don’t call you Einstein for nothing! In order for a scientist to discover knowledge, the direction of study must be influenced by something. The scientist must believe that their study is heading off in the right direction, so his/her intuitive belief is the foundation for whatever knowledge is discovered. See what else I have to say about scientists in this post.
‘I believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun.’ This belief fuelled study, expermentation and, importantly, determination, to find what can be known about the Sun and the Earth. Without belief, without the sense that something will be proved, there is no direction or momentum towards knowledge. Considering this, it seems to me that the power of belief should get a little more respect than it does. Einstein knew that beliefs are what propel us towards knowledge. Without belief, we could prove or demonstrate no knowledge- we wouldn’t know where to start. Think about it. Most of the information that we consider to be true knowledge started off as a hunch, a belief, an intuition in the mind of a scientist, philosopher or mathematician.
Belief is as ‘real’ as knowledge:
Allegedly, the thing that makes knowledge better than belief is it’s relationship to truth. When we have knowledge about something, when it is ‘known’ then it has to be true. I disagree with this on most, but not all, distinctions between belief and knowledge- and my beef is with truth.
What is truth? Say, you and I are both looking at a colour. I say it’s green, you say it’s blue. Who is telling the truth? The colour cannot be both green and blue, but surely it is either green or blue. Someone has to be wrong- or the concept of truth is wrong. If I see green from my subjective perspective then that is 100% true to me. If you see blue, that is 100% true to you, based on a lifetime of empirical information gathered from seeing that colour and others. So with the exception of a priori truths (check me out, getting my philosophy lingo on!) it seems like the concept of truth necessary to engender knowledge actually looks suspiciously like a belief. I am not suggesting that knowledge is not true. I am suggesting that under some circumstances, beliefs deserve as much of a truth-bearing status as knowledge.
Belief and knowledge are equally real in that they both shape our reality. What we believe informs our conversations, actions, reactions, passions, emotions etc. What we believe shapes every part of how we act in our lives and that action occurs in reality. Belief and knowledge are synergetic- what we believe becomes what we do becomes what we know becomes what we believe and so on. Albert Einstein said that, ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’…and the experiences we have are caused by our beliefs.
We ought to monitor our beliefs and ask ‘why do I believe this?’:
Your beliefs hold the key to your actions, interactions and transactions. Making the effort to understand, edit, reflect upon and choose what to believe will change your life. This is especially true with regards to your beliefs about yourself. The insignificance currently attributed to beliefs (especially in the realms of science and philosophy) allows them to sneak in the back door of our consciousness without us noticing. Beliefs take hold in our consciousness and begin to colour the way we understand ourselves and our life experience, often without us realizing that it’s going on!
Who gave you the beliefs you hold? Have you questioned them and thought them through? When you really consider it, how much do your beliefs about yourself shape the way you act in the world? Are you happy with that? Could you believe something different about yourself that would influence and cause a better life experience for you? For more on ‘what you believe is what you receive’ see this post.
I am very interested to read your thoughts about beliefs. Have you ever believed something and then radically changed
your mind? Do you feel like your beliefs are fluid or fixed? What do you believe about yourself right now? Do you notice any difference between what you believe and what you know, when it comes to the shaping and formation of your life?
Until next time, I want you to stand toe-to-toe with a limiting belief that you hold about yourself. See it in your mind and visualize it vaporizing. For one week (and forever!) replace that belief with a positive, loving and empowering belief about yourself and see what happens to your life. Then try and tell me that belief is less true and less important than knowledge!
Have a great week, and keep knowing what you believe and believing what you know!
I welcome your comments and questions!
Next Week: B is for Books.
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