I personally believe that any closely held belief is a limitation to discovering our potential as a human being. If one believes too much in something, it closes off any inquiry into the factual nature of that belief, or what might lie beyond it that keeps evolving and developing like everything else in this rapidly escalating world of change we live in.
But what of lightly held beliefs – those which we intuit might be correct but we are not attached to their rightness or wrongness? Lightly held beliefs seem to be more like an area of exploration to me, rather than restrictive and blocking me from investigating further into the truth of that belief. In other words, lightly held beliefs seem to open a door in a certain direction for finding the “Truth” rather than shutting that door and never looking for the truth behind it.
I will give a personal example from my own spiritual practice. I could best describe my spiritual beliefs as a mixture of Eastern (Buddhist, Vedantic, Sufi), Western Psychological, Scientific, and Esoteric traditions with an emphasis on ego understanding and transparency, the inter-connection of all things, unconditional love, energy, and personal development towards something similar to the idea of enlightenment – but more like an ascension into the realms of higher consciousness and dimensionality. The most recent addition to these spiritual inputs has been my exploration of esotericism which, by definition (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary), is only known to a small group of people because it is hard to understand or believe. This could apply to a lot of things given the 3 dimensional, materialistic, and scientific lens our society currently views the world through. I agree these more conventional ideas need to be incorporated into my viewpoint, but in my heart I know there is much more to include if it is reality and Truth I am seeking.
Most people would think the esoteric piece of my belief system is simply too wild and crazy to believe. It incorporates the human chakra system, increasingly higher dimensions of consciousness and reality for those who do the work, unconditional love and centering our lives from the Heart rather than our minds, the use of energy healing as an increasingly important addition to Western medicine, manifestation of the lives we want for ourselves, and the emergence of our own great “I Am” or Divine presence within. Do I believe all the stories about ancient societies more advanced than our own who lived these principles, or the legions of angels, guides, and Ascended Masters that are there to help us ascend to higher, lighter, and more energetic stages of dimensionality? I simply don’t know, but I feel drawn to this way of thinking so it must be worth investigating.
I may not know these things directly, but I have observed others with whom I have studied completely accepting these spiritual concepts – to the exclusion of all other possible explanations of the Universe and our role in it. So even the esoteric traditions can become fixed beliefs. Maybe all this is true, but how can I know for sure unless I have a direct experience of these things? It doesn’t sound any more far-fetched than the stories around other spiritual traditions, but most people have contented themselves to believe only one interpretation or the other – and this is usually based on what beliefs we grew up with as a child, as opposed to any sort of inquiry and truth-seeking. More likely, this closed belief system is actually keeping them from the spiritual experiences and depth of understanding they are seeking.
In the realm of spirit, in order to discern the Truth, I am trying to use other than my mind to figure these things out. Instead, I am using as directional guideposts my heart, intuition, what feels good or open, flow, alignment, and what seems to be working positively in my life. The idea that everything is energy, energy never dies, and we are all inter-connected through this energy, is now considered a scientific fact based on the research into Quantum Physics. And, it makes sense that if everything is comprised of energy, then learning to use energy to heal others and manifest what we truly desire in life might be more effective than surgically removing or replacing defective parts, taking a pill for every ailment, or thinking that happiness is something to be purchased – rather than something we have available from within and can learn to manifest for ourselves.
What I am trying to say is that closely held and unquestioned beliefs are a hindrance to dynamic aging and self-actualization because they hold us back from discovering the complete Truth, while lightly held beliefs are subjects we are naturally drawn to but unsure of, so we are more motivated to inquire into these beliefs to discover the real Truth behind them.
To close our beliefs about spirituality or anything else, and thereby not inquire into them, is actually closing ourselves off from a vast dimension of growing older that is evolving and emerging like everything else in our society – through meaningful interaction between seemingly contradicting ideas, beliefs, and theories. I personally find the wealth of information now available about alternative spiritual traditions and optimal aging, and the ease of access to this information, to be the reason I am making great strides in this area of my life. And, as we grow older there is a natural tendency to drift towards a more spiritual orientation. It is non-physical, developmental in nature, and therefore provides an aging adult with a feeling of progress, growth, and purpose they can continue to experience almost right up to the moment they die.
The bottom line of this discussion is don’t let your beliefs get in the way of finding your own unique self, gift, and purpose in life – your personal Truth. Instead, hold your beliefs open, and use your interest to help inquire into those lightly held beliefs. The real Truth lies beyond the door that shuts closed when we hold our beliefs too tightly. Be open to it all. Life begins with not knowing, and it is never more exciting, fun, and adventurous than when we are working towards an uncertain outcome.