In my first article, “A musical perspective on life” I invited you to become the conductor of your personal orchestra––the thirty-five trillion or so musician-cells that play the sacred music of your life. We saw that awareness, the art of listening, is truly the key factor in insuring that we stay in tune, attuned and aligned, creating coherence in what we think, say and do on the stage of life.
Thoughts are our notes, our music. But where are they coming from? It all begins with our belief system, the matrix where our thoughts are created. This is where we find the inspiration to compose the music of our lives. Awareness of our beliefs is therefore paramount in the process of creating our day-to-day melodies, our reality. To that effect, we need to ask ourselves three key questions:
–What is a belief and how is it formed?
Most beliefs are just ideas. If we put enough conviction into these ideas, they become beliefs.Some are cultural, others are based on scientific data. Others still come from conditioning. The most flawed beliefs are often generated by early childhood conditioning and later in life, by societal manipulation and subconscious programming induced by the plethora of information (accurate or not) our minds are subjected to on a daily basis. Here are typical examples of both:
Often, deep-seated childhood beliefs are in profound conflict with what we are called to do in our adult lives and they totally sabotage the roles we choose to play. They diminish and stunt us. For example, the belief that we are not good enough at this or that, that we are ugly, that we better hide and keep a low profile, that money is dirty––you name it––all these assumptions and perceptions that are hammered into our psyche by parents, siblings or teachers––keep us from reaching the full extent of the many possibilities that await us.
In the realm of social manipulation, come fall, we hear and read everywhere: “The flu season is here!” Many people are so suggestible that, in fact, they believe the time has come to get sick–– and so they do, almost on command! This is the equivalent of voodoo in certain countries where spells often incapacitate or even kill impressionable individuals.
The placebo effect is the most spectacular illustration of the power of belief–– of belief in belief, in fact. It is often also called the sugar pill effect, meant to induce a perceived or real improvement in a patient’s condition. In the case of the above-mentioned casting of spells, it is called nocebo (I shall harm) while placebo means I shall please, two wings of the same bird.
A couple of elements are at the heart of placebo: emotion and expectation. A belief is only as strong as the emotion that sustains it. Then, it is not what we know anymore. It is no longer about what has been scientifically demonstrated. It is about what we are convinced of in the heart of our hearts. And when we expect something to happen, whether in the positive or in the negative, due to the law of attraction, it usually happens. As the saying goes, “be careful what you wish for”. However, we should also be careful about what we are afraid of, because that too, manifests in uncanny ways.
Another question we have to ask ourselves: Is this belief empowering me or is it disempowering me?
It is one or the other. The belief is either giving us strength and resilience or it is weakening us. It serves us in our vision of life, in our goals, or it sabotages us, poking holes into the only boat we have to carry us through life. Often, we manifest attitudes that have sort of grown into us with time, sustained by certain beliefs. For instance, we find ourselves saying to friends and even to strangers: “Oh, that’s just how I am, you know.” Really? Is it how you are or how you were made to be? The “I am not good at this, I am a pessimist, I am lonely, I am this or that” are not empowering you at all. As a matter of fact, the more you repeat these words the more you reinforce their negative energy and sap the life-energy that flows within you. So, for the sake of inner harmony, effectiveness and success, you need to regularly clean house, so to speak, and assess the belief system you function under.
–The last question we need to ask ourselves: Is this a true belief or just an idea?
Often we confuse both. Many so-called beliefs are merely ideas about things, society, money, sex, power, politics, age, death and diets, even religion. To reach lasting inner peace we need to go beyond these pseudo-beliefs; beyond perception and assumption. Mystic Persian poet Rumi famously wrote: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
However, to transcend beliefs doesn’t mean to erase all of them altogether. We still need values and strong guidelines to help us navigate life. All we need to do is to filter through the false beliefs, the pseudo-beliefs and the acquired beliefs. We need to educate ourselves and exercise critical thinking. But we also need to listen to our heart. It isn’t a purely intellectual process. It is a harmonious combination of heart and mind. It also requires acceptance of other’s beliefs because, as we saw earlier, belief is about emotion and conviction. And surely, we cannot expect everyone to automatically resonate with our own convictions, can we?
Now that we have become aware of where to find our inspiration as composers of our life symphony––a space of coherent, empowering beliefs that serve us and the world–– let us write the notes, create our thoughts, choices and change. Stay tuned…