Beliefs have many effects, including certain emotions and sensations in the body.
I believe that there should be peace, so when there is not, I experience fear, distress, anger, sadness, my breath becomes shallow, my muscles tense. I believe people should be honest, so when they are not, some of the same reactions come up. And so on, with a whole range of beliefs.
Since they are beliefs, we take them as true. And since they are always accompanied by these different emotions and bodily reactions and sensations, we come to take these as signals that something is true.
It is a circular logic, which we most of the time don’t notice.
- There is a belief
- When it clashes with what is it creates certain effects such as reactive emotions and different bodily reactions and sensations
- We notice the association between our belief, which appears true to us, and these effects
- So when we notice these effects, we take them as an indication that our belief is true
More generally, we take these effects as an indication that something is not right. That life shows up in a way it shouldn’t. And then we look for a belief to go along with it, which may or may not be the one that triggered the effects in the first place.
So it goes both ways. The belief triggers effects which are taken as proof for the belief. And effects are sometime triggered without us knowing what belief is behind it, so we go looking for a belief to explain it.
Something happened, and I had reactive emotions and tension in my body, so what happened must not be right. It shouldn’t happen. Why shouldn’t it happen? I am sure I can come up with a story around it. Â