Beyond Beliefs

 

There are many practices that helps us experience mind without beliefs, such as Buddhist meditation and the Byron Katie inquiry process.

Still, this is a view and an experience that is often not addressed in the west. I just read Lou Marinoff‘s “Big Questions” (about philosophical counseling), where there is a segment on beliefs. His take on it parallels that of western psychology, emphasizing exchanging one set of beliefs for another, but not questioning beliefs themselves.

The reason is that western culture has never taken seriously mind without beliefs, and there are still not enough people in the west who live their lives from this space for western philosophy/psychology to make the shift and include it in their views. There is also very little (or no?) research on this topic. How do we function without beliefs, without believing in thoughts? What are the physical/brain correlates? What are the processes/techniques that brings people to this space? What is left as guidelines when we don’t believe in thoughts?

What we seem to discover when we explore beliefs themselves, is that there is a layer beyond beliefs which still functions, and helps us operate even more effectively in our everyday life. We are still ourselves, in the sense that this awareness is the same. We still have our experiences, our skills, our ability to discern and make choices. The only difference is that we no longer believe in thoughts, we are free from the artificial boundaries created by thoughts, and free to more fluidly respond to situations.

Although we may be less bound by specific beliefs, there is still the context of culture, available information, and personal experiences which we operate within. This is not likely to change.

When we awaken to the nature of mind – the spacious awareness, it seems that unconditional compassion also arises.

So when we make choices from this space, there is an interaction between the spacious awareness and innate compassion on the one hand, and whatever information and personal experiences are available on the other hand, from which we make choices on how to relate to inner/outer situations.

From…

Inner/outer situation
+ Beliefs
+ Experiences/information
= Choices/action

we now have…

Inner/outer situation
+ Spacious awareness/innate compassion
+ Experiences/information
= Choices/action

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