Thursday 30 July 2015

Belief As a Gift

          What is the nature of belief? Of course one can get a definition of belief from the dictionary, but that is not what I am seeking. I am seeking something which seems to be indefinable. There appears to be no logical reason why one should hold this or that belief, although it does seem to me to require some intellectual, rational input to the search, if one hopes to arrive at a "right" answer. Without a fearless, candid appraisal of data supplied from one's experience there seems to be little chance of arriving at that answer whose origins lay in the realm of truth. However,  I must not stray too far into generalities about belief but move closer to something more specific.
          Over these last few weeks since my previous post, I have been assailed by thoughts, emotions and, in particular, moods that have caused me no little distress. I had reached a point of boredom with my inner work that had left me disappointed and frustrated. The causes of this state became clear enough when I realised my own ego was heavily involved. Yet I would not have wanted to avoid that descent into despair if it had meant that I would have lost a valuable lesson from the experience. Much of the experience of that descent I must leave for some possibly future post. At this moment I wish to concentrate on the experience of belief, noting that the word itself is unimportant, and may even be a hindrance to my understanding. Yet having said that, I immediately realise that I am not seeking any understanding, for that would be to indulge my ego once again.
          In the days of long ago when I first studied the "Twelve Step Programme", whilst recovering from the trauma of living with an alcoholic, there came a point when I "Came to believe......" Those three words are filled with a sense of wonder for me, not only because they were a part of a recovery journey but also because they hinted at a truth which only now am I beginning to see in a deeper sense. That experience followed an exhausting period during which I discovered, from an examination of my own experiences, just how powerless one is in the face of someone else's dysfunctional behaviour. And that was a good lesson to learn, not only for its own inherent value, but also because it now hints at a similarity with the experience of the quantum world. It may not be too big a jump to conclude that the principles that appear to rule quantum mechanics may also govern all human experience. However, to follow that train of thinking here would be to divert my attention from the purpose of this post.
          The experience of belief, particularly in the spiritual life, is not something that can be scrutinised too closely without it slipping out of awareness, only to return when attention is moved elsewhere. It's sheer uncertainty refuses one to pin it down. This conclusion obliges me to recognise that the gift of belief (and I do believe it to be a gift) comes from a realm of ultimate Reality, not from the closer realist world. And that implies that I do not generate my beliefs but accept them as inevitable consequences of right thought and inner actions, even possibly in an apparently non-related field, .
  In a somewhat roundabout way, and with a slight diversion into similarities with the realm of quantum thought, I am trying to get to grips with the idea that belief as something that I feel I own, as something self-generated, has in fact all the appearances of being something given to me from "elsewhere" which is pointing me towards mystical Truth, like a pointing finger which is not of itself Truth. Suddenly, belief and in particular belief in something divine, takes on a whole new dimension of wonder. I hold this precious gift in my hands, a gift which I must avoid egoistically owning as "mine", and try to accept it without grasping it; to observe it without focusing on it too deliberately; to meditate on it without resorting to mere words. I need to be prepared to lose this gift of belief so that I can remain in its presence.