Today is day 1 of the 30-day Belief Experimentation Trial. I will reserve a more thorough overview of this part of the trial (each part is 2 days) for tomorrow. Today, I will explore a few potential issues with belief systems and with altering beliefs.
The first belief I am testing states that I am unconditionally safe in this reality (planet Earth) because everything in it is interconnected. This means that everything is part of a larger whole which both dictates how reality plays out and which transcends reality. This larger whole is consciousness—that is, awareness itself. This means that my core identity is unchanging, because my core identity is the same as the core of reality (i.e. everything).
It also means that, metaphysically, I will always exist, because consciousness will continue on even after I die, just as the body still lives even after the damage or death of an individual cell. Because consciousness is not an object I can be and am more closely connected to it than a cell is to a body—in fact, we are one in the same.
Further elaboration can be done here—likely even beyond what I currently understand about the belief. We’ll see as my experience goes on. J
Possible Issues with Integrating the Belief
I’ve wondered, today, whether I’m mature and ready enough to take on this first belief that I’m attempting. I feel, as a consequence of trying to integrate it, like I’ve been simultaneously too attached and too detached from reality. I think that I probably will be easily capable of whatever I please, free of challenges. I also think that there are many things which I can almost cold-heartedly ignore. It’s similar to the experience I described in Cynicism, though it’s easier to pull myself away from now than it was then.
From there, a few questions arise. Do I fully comprehend what this belief means? Can I comprehend it without first experiencing it from the inside? But how can I experience from the inside what I can’t grasp from the outside? But just how fully can you understand something solely from the outside anyway? Maybe this train of questioning isn’t quite on the tracks, though.
Perhaps there is a hole in my belief system somewhere that makes this one incompatible. Perhaps my context of reality is not all I’ve put it out to be. As I wrote in Belief Experimentation, I have thoughts and feelings which deviate from my beliefs (which I’d think is a normal occurrence), and thus from my context (which is made of beliefs) as well.
The Interdependence of Beliefs
Beliefs, remember, are interdependent. If a single person tries to hold two beliefs that contradict one another his experience of reality will be skewed. He will most likely be faced with denial and/or a mild paralysis, by which action will be difficult because he is being pulled in two opposing directions. Overcoming this dissonance may be an emotional, effort-filled process.
As with many things, it is likely that most people face this issue to some extent. Developing a flawless belief system and following it to a T is no small task, and I’d imagine that the state of humanity would be far more peaceful than it presently is if people were accomplishing this task left and right.
The interdependent nature of beliefs also means that one belief can and likely will lead to certain other beliefs. I perceive that the belief I am trying to integrate now, for instance, follows naturally from my belief system. Thus this belief was bound to be strengthened within me at some point, and it seems that now is the time.
Let the Sleeping Dogs Lie, or Open Pandora’s Box?
Returning to issues with belief systems, there may be, I sense, certain issues and challenges lying underneath the surface that I am not yet fully aware of nor ready to face. This is roughly the view of the Psychoanalytic school of Psychology (established by Sigmund Freud): neuroses (mental illness) result from unresolved conflicts in the subconscious mind.
This perspective has made more sense to me from an objective reality standpoint than a subjective one. In subjective reality the only “objects” that exist (thoughts and feelings included) are those immediately observable and present. There is thus no such thing as a subconscious mind: that is simply an idea that has the potential to influence how reality plays out. There can be nothing hiding “under the surface” because everything that is present right now is all that exists.
Of course, within subjective reality we can perceive a world of objects (objective reality), so it would not be explicitly incorrect to discuss objects such as time and a subconscious mind (the subjective/objective situation is a bit more complex than this, but there is no need to elaborate on it here).
From here, let’s take the objective Psychoanalytic perspective again and say that you do have a subconscious mind and you can have conflicts stored up that are waiting to be resolved. In fact, similar to the belief-conflict problem, it is likely that you and most others often do have such conflicts. More likely you always do, because there always is more to this world and more lessons to be learned about this existence that we are simply not prepared to comprehend.
That life can always get better (and perhaps more complex) than it currently is and that there is always more to be done are two beliefs which I have found quite motivating in the last several years. However, if I found these beliefs untrue I sense I would fare just fine without them. There is still plenty to do and to be done and my current level of awareness anyhow. J
So, it may be that I have merely jumped the gun in attending to my belief-integration issues. After all, it has only been 21 hours since the start of the experiment (I really did begin at midnight). Normally I would wait these things out quite a bit longer before freaking out and/or sharing my thoughts with others. But, with this writing everyday business I have to say something, and this has been the most imminent subject at hand :P Of course, it doesn’t have to be this something, so I suppose my argument is invalid (most excuses are—at least, when they come from me).
The Takeaways Thus Far and Rising Up to the Challenge
I can tell I’ll need more than two days to really get used to and to produce substantial, clear results from a belief—especially from a whole belief system. Quite a bit can come out of trying on subjective reality for two days, for instance— in fact, the first day is usually radically different from my typical, more object-based experience. However, to understand it more profoundly and to be able to switch to this view of reality more easily, more time must be dedicated to using this view.
If you don’t use a skill you have, you may lose it. If you don’t use a skill (or asset) you don’t have, you will never attain that skill in the first place.
I will have to decide whether I will try to hold each belief I pick up for the remainder of the trial. This seems likely, but I am concerned about repetitively trying to build new beliefs on half-installed ones. Might the whole resulting structure be ineffective and/or fall apart? That could be like trying to learn calculus two hours after first being exposed to algebra. You’re just asking for trouble with that one. ;)
Still, I feel compelled to go with the way I set up the experiments, rather than switch to, say, testing 1-3 beliefs in 30 days. This would probably be the most effective way of going about belief integration. But why not push myself to see how fast I can grow? What if I do indeed succeed? That would be awesomeness. J
If I fail, I will at least have experienced the willingness and courage necessary to carry out such audacious plans. I should thus be more likely to take on other big challenges in the future. So no matter what, as long as I follow through with the plan (or make it wilder, somehow), I win.
That is the beauty of a life lived from love: almost no matter what the outcomes may be, you win. As I have written elsewhere (The End of the World, Contemplating Three-Person Relationships), as long as you have a high drive for learning you shall never meet with failure in this lifetime.
Hm, maybe this belief is working out…
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