A lot of us believe in something bigger than ourselves. We believe in a God or gods. Some external force that can help with the perceived wrongs in our life. Some people believe in the fact they don’t believe anything.
But what if it doesn’t matter what you believe in? What if believing itself is enough?
I’ve been thinking a lot about faith and belief. About people who believe in one religion or another. Most times it’s about trying to find an answer outside yourself. About giving yourself up to something greater.
The thought that I can’t seem to shake about it all is that predominately what you believe in is preordained by where you were born. The influence of your family. The society you grew up in. The education you received.
Here in Northern Ireland the most followed beliefs are Christian. A majority of the population is divided into being either Catholic or Protestant.
In India, the birthplace of 4 of the world’s major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism Jainism, Sikhism), Hinduism is the most popular. In the Middle East you have the birthplace of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Islam being the most widely practiced.
The 2 most popular worldwide are currently, in order, Christianity and Islam.
Whilst these religions are great for establishing some sort of moral foundation. For giving direction and guidance in how best to live your life. To live in harmony and humanity with each other.
There is also no denying that amount of conflict and strife, the amount of wars fought, in their name. Surly with all these different beliefs worldwide they can’t all be right, or wrong?
Like Trinity said to Neo in The Matrix movie. Let me tell you what I believe.
To be clear. I am not detracting from anyone’s belief. What faith they have. What they choose to believe in. That fact will become clear shortly.
The way I see it every belief system has something in common. Let’s not get caught up in the many different ways that different people, in different countries, over the ages have tried to make sense of it all. Interpretations are wide and varied.
Let’s instead look at the one thing they have in common.
The thought of belief.
Having a faith in something that is outside the grasp of logical understanding or argument. Although my own direct experience has mostly been with Christians. Those Christians have all said the same thing when talking about their God. You just have to believe.
And they’re right. You do just have to believe. I just don’t think it is necessarily a deity that you have to believe in. I don’t think it’s just an external force.
An idea had come to me when developing my blog. I was trying to find the right way of summing it up. Initially it was just Being Better. But that is fairly well used. I couldn’t find a good web address for it as they were all used up.
I then thought some more about who I am, what I’m about. An inspiration came to me. When I searched it up I found it was available as a web address. The idea was about growing. Moving from darkness to light. From a lack of belief to an abundance. About going from a pothead (Marijuana smoker) to something more. Thus pothead to providence was born.
When people see providence it evokes a religious connotation. In many dictionaries providence is defined as: ‘God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny’ (Merriam-Webster), ‘The proactive care of God or of nature as a spiritual power’ (Oxford English). However my personal favourite is found in the Collins dictionary: “God, or a force which is believed by some people to arrange the things that happen to us“.
Here’s the thing. I am not religious (even though technically I was raised as Catholic). I don’t believe in God or gods. I don’t follow Buddhas teachings. Matter of fact I don’t follow any spiritual teaching at all.
I do believe though. I believe there is a force that arranges things to happen to us. I believe that force is within us. Within all of us. I believe we are that force.
I believe that within us lies a guiding compass. A compass that points to the right path. The right way to live. It’s specific to us as individuals. Whether we follow that compass is another story.
With all this talk about religions I think it’s time to bring in some science. They’re often seen as direct opposites. You’re either for one or the other. Even though there are many religious scientists.
It’s one experiment in particular. An experiment in quantum mechanics called the double-slit experiment. The most famous example being the 1998 Weizmann experiment.
The results of that experiment led to the popular belief that a conscious mind can directly affect reality. Another variation of the experiment in 2015 by researchers at the Australian National University led them to the conclusion that at the quantum level reality does not even exist if you are not looking at it.
Combine this with the knowledge of the principle of mind over matter. Where the power of the mind can overcome a physical condition like extreme cold for example. Like the Tibetan monks who can control their blood pressure and body temperature by meditating.
Then there’s the placebo effect where people have believed they are receiving treatment for an ailment but were just given a fake. And it still worked.
Do you know that the placebo effect has also been shown to work even when those getting treated were made aware that they were taking a placebo!
My point in telling you this is to make something clear. The mind is a powerful thing. We still don’t, and may never, understand its true capabilities. Using that mind to believe something, can make that something real.
What I am saying is that it is important to have a belief. Belief is what can give you purpose. Belief can change your reality to what you want it to be.
If having a belief in a God is your thing? That’s great. If it’s a belief in some other higher power? That’s equally as great. If it’s a belief that we can manifest our own reality. That’s just as good. Even if you believe in nothing. You are still exercising belief.
Your belief is what will carry you through your darkest days. That belief can also elevate you to the loftiest heights. But why just look outside of yourself for that belief? Why not look within? Maybe it’s in both places. Maybe it’s everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Maybe it just exists when you believe in it.
Look at the all the people who are considered successful. Not just in wealth but in achievement. They are just the same as you or I. They are not any more special than the rest of us. They don’t have some hidden secret or magic powers. They are all human beings. They are all made of flesh and bones.
What they all had, or have, was a belief. They believed what they were doing what the right thing for them. They believed that they could make a difference, even if it was only in their own lives. They believed in something more than themselves. They believed in a purpose that drove them. They believe they could find the answer to their questions.
They believed. I believe. Do you?