Saturday, May 16, 2009

Belief IN vs. Belief ABOUT

Recently, I came across the following quote, "Belief IN God is Faith; Belief ABOUT God is Religion (or Theology).".In attempting to find the original source, all I came up with was Freemason documents. But the point is excellent. While ultimately all beliefs are primarily habits of the mind, within the phenomenal scope of things, certain beliefs are beneficial. One is a belief in a higher Good, God, Truth, the Absolute... something!!! It spurs us on to investigate, to explore Truth, and to be open to going deeper. On the other hand, belief ABOUT God or the Absolute, predefines what it should look like. It causes us to hold on to old patterns, and to only see through our own filters of what God or the Absoloute IS or SHOULD BE, and how to recognize or realize that with our own direct experience. Today some huge percentage of Americans claim to be "Spiritual, but not religious," and yet still hold onto ideas about what Awakening or Enlightenment or Reality is or should be. As they begin to investigate, they often find that their original ideas were waaaayyyyy off. That's part of growth. But more often than not, there is a place where people get stuck, because where they are is somewhat comfortable (or comfortable enough) and to go any further would require letting go of more of the beliefs 'about', while holding onto the 'faith in'. Faith is not a bad thing. You could perhaps replace it with the word 'trust'. Every time you leave your home, you have faith (conscious or not) that you will find your way back. Each night as you go to sleep, you have faith that you will wake up in the morning. You have faith that your body will digest your food, your heart will continue beating, the sun will continue to shine, and so forth. If you had to worry about all of these things, you'd probably go mad. Similarly, there are many small things that we do worry about, that DO tend to drive us mad. Don't worry ABOUT; have faith IN. You know there is something more about it all, or that you are 'bigger' or 'greater' than your mind allows you to realize, or that there is a Being or Presence or Absoluteness of which the little you is a part. You really don't need to define it much, in fact it's best not to. As you begin to define it, you are creating a belief ABOUT. You really can't know, just as a teacup dipped into the ocean can't experience the nature of the totality of the ocean - only a small flavor of it. But without that faith IN, we are stuck, by our mental habits, to a place of bondage, rather than one of total freedom.