Belief and Knowing

I believe the sun will rise tomorrow, but I don’t know the sun will rise tomorrow. Big difference in how I process my reality and expectations. This is holding a belief lightly. Some people will spend a lot of time arguing about the odds that the sun will rise tomorrow as a fact without understanding that there is a reason it’s called The Odds. Because the odds are astronomical that the sun will rise doesn’t mean it’s going to rise.  It’s in a state of perpetual “Might rise.”

And, it’s in our best interest to believe that the sun will rise and plan accordingly. We would be even crazier if we walked around preparing for the dark black tomorrow. The only difference is with an inclusive mind set there is no grounded expectation that the sun will rise. Only the awareness that I don’t know.

We have expectations built upon the belief that what we believe is real and true. Our conditioned lives are built around beliefs and expectations about those beliefs. Yet it’s thinking that those expectations “Should be met” by ourselves and others that yields so much suffering on planet earth.

When we are gaining perception as children we are conditioned into believing that the IDEA of something is the same thing as the SOMETHING itself. The thought becomes something real, and therefore thinking that thought is real comes into play. And the expectation that follows is that if we think it then it must be real and true. So, of course we expect it to be. “If your nice to other people, they will be nice to you.” Simple, yet it’s not an actuality. It is an internal belief that may or may not be real.

Today we wrestle with this a lot in the media. I had a teacher in high school who was a stickler for fact checking. She was “Hippie” teacher before there were hippies. She hammered home that we couldn’t just take it for granted that something is true and we must believe it just because the media said so or we read it in a book. She was ahead of her time and I am indebted to her for instilling that sense of wondering and doubt.

I was trained and studied in Zen, Tao, and Shamanistic paths. Not specifically Zen Buddhism which is different that Zen. I love Buddhist concepts. but also recognize that there are amazing spiritual ideas and belief’s everywhere there are humans. I have had the opportunity to learn from wise people everywhere regardless of he core belief systems.

There is nothing wrong with belief systems. They are important markers in life and often our actions rely on our beliefs. But most things that come under that heading “belief” get a bit sketchy when we start to examine more than our own. There are multiple belief systems that have the same subject. So how do we choose a belief?

Well, I think that last sentence made the point. Once we are mature, we do that work to choose a belief and not just carry the beliefs we have been given and conditioned to carry. When we do this the belief has a feeling of being truthful and solid to us. It’s not like the conditioned beliefs we all carry that, when examined, have that edge of somehow not real, like a projection of something in our lives.

One summer I had a mentor from the Cherokee Nation suggest that I examine what I believed in closely. Identify each belief and question that belief. Ask, how did you come to it and why do you believe in it? It took me most of the summer but I learned much about myself and how I operated. This is not an easy task and one that is very challenging.

I think it takes a warrior spirit to do this side of a self examination. It’s easier to just believe. But I have never met anyone who did this and wasn’t happy that they took the time end effort to examine something so close to the heart and start to break free from conditioning.

In Gratitude and love,


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