Revising a deeply-held belief is a life-changing experience. Different thoughts, ideas and solutions come to mind. We respond to situations differently, We feel unfamiliar emotions in familiar circumstances. We anticipate a different future than before. We experience all these changes from a change in a belief.
Changing a belief is also quite an experience in itself. A belief may change with no effort at all. A belief may take some time to be revised. A belief may persist while we insist on harboring a different belief. A belief may sabotage what we want to believe and make us appear foolish for hoping and wishing for a change. The experience of changing a belief is created by our beliefs about changing our beliefs.
Beliefs serve a purpose. When we oppose that purpose, beliefs don't change. We try to change the belief and fail. Our beliefs go deeper into our unconscious where we cannot mess with them. When the value the purpose of a belief, we change the context of that belief. We create an experience of safety, freedom from the past and room to maneuver. We believe in the possibility of our beliefs changing easily and naturally.
Lots of our beliefs get formed during traumatic episodes. We get the idea there is no safety in our situation. We are obviously in grave danger, threatened by what's changing and faced with enemies who's intentions are to harm us. We make up our minds to survive in spite of the abuse. We believe the dangers are a fact of life, our curse to live with and something to believe in forever. We internalize the unavoidable abuse and create an endless series of reenactments -- with these dark beliefs in the seemingly real dangers.
Beliefs generate further evidence that they are true. They put a spin on what happens that justifies their existence. They bring thoughts to our minds and feelings to our bodies that fuel the same old reactions to what shows up. There appears to be no way to question the underlying structure since the deeply held beliefs are obviously continuing to be applicable, valid and reasonable.
Other beliefs get formed in moments of saving grace. We are plucked out of imminent danger. We are freed from those nightmarish episodes we relentlessly manufacture. We get a feeling this experience is real and could happen again. We experience different thoughts, ideas and solutions coming to mind. We notice we have different inclinations and urges when challenges appear.
When we have conflicting beliefs from experiences of abuse and saving grace, we act inconsistently. We have a demon giving us advice on one shoulder and an angel on the other. We are torn between feeling threatened and safe. We're getting ideas for reacting defensively and responding creatively. We see dangers ahead and opportunities in them. We cannot make up our mind when the underlying basis for being decisive is conflicted.
When we remain outer-directed, our dark and conflicting beliefs are locked in place. There's no changing what we already believe until we go within and mess around with the facts of life. (... to be continued)