Belief impacts

What people believe about themselves and their world influences everything.

- I've known kind and beautiful people who believed they were worthless....
- I've known people who believed they could change the world and in many ways have...
- I've known angry people who believed the world cheated them from the life they were supposed to have...
- I've known disillusioned people whose worlds shattered when the ones they believed in failed...
- I've known people who have risked everything for what they believed...

The power of belief to both build and destroy is overwhelming. Science says that belief can even heal the body. (And I believe it.)

People make finding truth the most important thing because belief is so powerful. And it makes sense that you would want to believe in truth and not a lie. However truth isn't always so easy to find.

For example, the beautiful women I know who feel worthless. Some have abusive people in their present or past (parents, spouse, friends) who treat them as if they have no value. The media offers a steady stream of what constitutes beauty--most of it something being sold. Demanding jobs and family responsibilities don't exactly make one feel like the princess at the ball. If all the evidence points to a lack of worth, then what are they supposed to believe? How do they find the truth?

The religious world adds another layer of complexity. In the evangelical denominations alone, the amount of conflicting ideas is staggering. For example, I'm a universalist (My definition--that Jesus Christ defeated death and changed everything. He broke the gates to hell and set its prisoners free saving the whole world. Ie. we are all going to heaven.) But that definitely wasn't what I was taught as "truth" in my childhood. And as much as I read Scripture and can't understand it any differently, others would argue vehemently to prove otherwise (because they are afraid I'll go to hell for believing something not right).

Last Monday night, I lingered after a meeting to talk with a Hindi woman in her seventies who was trying desperately in broken English to get me to understand her view of God and the prophet I needed to follow. She was very beautiful in her desire to save me. Her son came up embarrassed and pulled her away. I smiled and told him that I was truly interested. And I was. It was interesting to me that a woman who grew up a world away would worry about an Anglo stranger she sat next to at a meeting. And it wasn't what she was saying, but the desire with which she said it.

Something about that desire has significance. On some level what we want matters.

Followers of Zen train themselves not to want anything. (For them, that is truth.) But no one would go see a movie where the hero didn't care what happened to him. We connect at a soul level with the person fighting injustice, pursuing their passion, trying to overcome the elements. We cheer when they get what they want. It gives the movie a satisfying ending. And when they don't get it--like in Casablanca when Bogart puts Bergman on the plane, we are saddened. And yet, that feels true too. Because the sacrifice allows someone else to get what they want.

There is some connection between what we want and truth that elludes me. And I wonder if the lies come about in things that offer to fill what we want, but can't deliver. (ie. Diet pills won't make you look like the girl on the television commercial so you will feel loved.)

No quippy ending for this post. I'm still thinking on this one.

1 comment

Michael said...

What a post. This is beautiful. Good next time we have coffee conversation.

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall