Excerpted from the book ReSurfacing®: Techniques For Exploring Consciousness by Harry Palmer
Consider the question: Are my beliefs shaped by my experiences, or do I experience what I believe?
If we consider those beliefs that arise as a result of our experience with the universe, e.g., because of so-and-so I believe, then we are talking about survival. We are talking about our ability to adapt to the way things are. This is defensive living.
But this leads to another question: Who created things the way they are? Now we're opening the stage to hungry gods—gods who have nothing better to do than to test man, seducer gods who bait their traps with temptation and create creatures who struggle to resist. Is this reasonable or is there another possibility? Perhaps we create things the way they are, descend into our own creations, and then forget the way home.
The penalty for accepting the viewpoint that our experience with the world is the source of our beliefs is that we become creatures burdened with limitation and surrounded by challenges to survive.
So there we are, scurrying around trying to decide which consequences are going to kill us and what we might do to survive a while longer. Then without warning, some bodhisattva, an Avatar, walks through our lives and reshapes reality by such pure acts of faith that somewhere deep inside it all, in a place behind who we thought we were, a new "I" awakens.
Things look different from that place, clearer, less threatening. The attitude changes from sufferer to explorer. We start to make connections, to see patterns.
Are my experiences affected by what I believe?
At first people are suspicious of such a question. It seems too easy. Then curiosity causes them to look a little closer.
Yes, believing certain things creates standards against which they evaluate experience. They believe in certain moral values. This is good and that is bad. And yes, sometimes moral values change, and it is possible that people could then enjoy some things that they don't enjoy now. Of course, this is just idle speculation.
But it does seem that how you experience the universe may have as much to do with what you believe as it has to do with what is happening.
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