Whatever we believe is not necessarily a truth. It might be, but it’s likely not. And yet we hold onto our beliefs in spite of the most obvious facts that clearly refute them. Why?

Our beliefs give us comfort of a sort. Maybe an awkward comfort, but comfort nonetheless. That is better than none. Beliefs give us a context, or a structure, or a system to come to some kind of understanding about a frequently bewildering world in which we live.

Regardless of how we acquire beliefs they become embedded to such a degree that we don’t often realize we are functioning from them. These beliefs cast a veil on what is truth or reality, giving us a filtered view. And that filtered view obscures who we think we are and how we interpret our spiritual unfoldment.

Beliefs filter how we view everything, often setting up expectations that cannot be met because they are founded in a false “truth” and not reality as it actually is. This can set us up to have false goals. Goals that can never be achieved. And to miss recognizing some goals we may have already achieved.

In the spiritual mentoring work I do it is not uncommon for a misconception about the Awakening process to become a belief which filters out the capacity to recognize progress in our spiritual unfoldment. If we’re looking for certain experiences we’ve come to believe are indicative of spiritual progress, we may feel we’re “missing the mark,” when in fact we have made substantial progress when measured by a perspective unfiltered by certain beliefs and expectations.

But it’s complicated. With the abundance of spiritual teaching available now on the Internet and social media, there is a vast menu of “spiritual” information available. Confronted with so much content, much of it conflicting, most of us need to sort it out for ourselves, pick and chose what we want to adopt, and go from there. But this just reinforces beliefs.

What’s a spiritual seeker to do?

We must apply some clarity of discrimination to find the right track for ourselves. Even if this leads to the adoption of some part of a belief system, we should approach it with some healthy skepticism and a methodical approach, with a sincere willingness to seek out and consider facts that might conflict with those beliefs.

Or, we can take the approach of simply adopting those spiritual practices that invoke natural surrender in alignment with the Divine, and let our direct experience reveal what the truth is. And in this manner, any restrictive beliefs we hold that would impair our spiritual unfoldment are confronted and relinquished in the clear light of direct experience.

This requires a commitment to regular spiritual practice, and sticking to the practice. Switching up practices is not usually the best approach, although there are times when tweaking, switching, or adding practices are indicated. Knowing how and when can be a challenge. This is where a spiritual mentor who understands natural surrender and has been exposed to a wide range of practices can be of great help.

But however you approach your spiritual path, stick to it. “You know who” helps those who help themselves. Help yourself to prepare the path ahead of you and attract the Grace of Awakening.

– Joel

The Most Obvious Thing We Forget About Beliefs