Functioning Without Beliefs

People who encounter the Byron Katie inquiry – and similar approaches that tends to unravel beliefs – often wonder how it is possible to function without beliefs.

With beliefs, it is relatively simple. We believe in an idea, and make choices and act as if that idea is an accurate representation of the world. The problem is of course that it isn’t, so when life does not conform with the idea, it tends to bring up suffering.

Without beliefs, there are still the same ideas floating around. The difference is that we don’t attach to them the same way, we don’t believe in them, we don’t take them as accurate representaions of the world. And we can still use them of course, although now just as provisional maps and guides, and nothing more. To the extent there are no beliefs in ideas, there is also no suffering when life does not comform with the ideas.

And for this more complete release from suffering, we need to clearly see through the belief in the idea of “I” as a segment of what is – most typically as this human self, the doer, and/or the knower. When this is thorougly seen through, over and over, it eventually drops away on its own. And this applies to the belief in the idea of no “I” as well, which also needs to be recognized and seen through.

This seems to be the typical process: to see through the idea, over and over, so the belief in it naturally falls away. To see through the idea, and familiarize ourselves with what is true in our immediate experience, even if this does not comform with conventional wisdom. As somebody said, the truth shall set you free.

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