Belief is a choice. Why would you accept something you read in a book, online, or heard from a parent, friend or teacher over your own direct experience? Most people do this. And these beliefs become their reality. They may have so many beliefs about God, that they can no longer experience God directly. This is true of everything else as well. They have so many beliefs about life that they can no longer experience life simply as it is. Instead they only experience their belief about it.
In this way beliefs can create a thick veil over the simple truth of what is.
Last night in an Enlightenment Experience Group in the middle of our Noting practice, a car drove by blaring a rap song that could probably be heard blocks away. The mind has many thoughts and beliefs about such things. It could be that it is very loud and it is disturbing the beautiful quiet and peace of the group. It could be that is it my favorite song and I am attracted to it. It could be many things. But all of these are simply thoughts and beliefs. They have nothing to do with what is actually happening.
When we are able to let go of these thoughts and simply experience life as it is in each moment, which is exactly what the Noting practice does, we experience something quite wonderful and blissful no matter what is happening. The song is experienced as bliss because we are bliss. Underneath all these thoughts is the great peace, love and bliss that we are. And everything we experience is also this great peace, love and bliss, whether it is a loud rap song blaring from a car or anything else. All this happens simply because we let go of our thoughts, ideas and beliefs and simply experience what is always here. And it is here no matter what appears to be happening.
Beliefs are a choice. We can cling to them as if there is really some value there, something that will improve our lives. Or we can let them go and experience what is always here without any belief or thought or concept. The Buddhist term Nirvana means exactly that. It is the end of all beliefs, thoughts and concepts. It is the end of the veil that obscures what is always here. It is not as difficult as we might imagine. Many of us believe that enlightenment, the direct experience of oneness with God, or Nirvana are something very difficult to experience, something far removed from us that we must work very hard to attain. And this belief makes it appear true. We work very hard and we still don’t attain this experience. It is only our belief that stands in the way of experiencing what is always right here.
We choose our beliefs about God over God. We choose our beliefs about life over life. We choose our beliefs about enlightenment over enlightenment. We choose our beliefs about our self over our True Self.
Why do we do this? Belief is a choice. It is a choice to cling to this belief as if it were real. Because you read it in a book you trust it more than your own direct experience. Does this make sense? It is true we cannot capture and limit the Truth of life, of God, of you, of anything at all in a thought or belief, in the pages of any book or the brilliance of any teacher.
And maybe the apparent control and mental understanding of such limitations are still very important and comforting to you. Maybe the idea of an unknowable and uncontrollable mystery is frightening and intimidating. I understand this.
Perhaps it is like the training wheels on a child’s bicycle. You can let go, but only so much. You still feel the need for some beliefs to prop up your life, at least right now. You are not ready to let go yet.
Many of us are brought into awakening quite suddenly, before we have a chance to bargain about those beliefs we also clung to so desperately. They are stripped away before we have a chance to complain about it. And we realize everything we were so terrified of, the absolute, uncontrollable, unknowable mystery of all life is actually everything we ever wanted and everything we ever were. Then, of course, the letting go is easy. What is a belief compared to this great freedom, peace, love and bliss?
Until this direct experience, it takes a leap of faith. This is not a belief about what we are going to experience. This is not an expectation. It is a complete surrender into this unknown. For some, the training wheels are still desired. But many are more than ready to shed them and fly.