The Power of Belief and the Power of No Beliefs (+ a Definition of Belief)


The power of belief is huge. People will do the damndest things for belief. In fact, they will do anything at all. They will even abandon their own basic humanity for belief ... and torture, kill and commit suicide, sometimes all three things at once - for some belief or other. The crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, suicide bombers, terrorists, religious dictators ... the list goes on and on.

A Martian freshly arrived on Earth and looking at what we will do for belief would think us absolutely mad.

So why is belief so madly important to us? Here's why: because we create our own, personal reality using belief.

This is why those of us interested in spirituality, self improvement and personal development can use a working knowledge of beliefs as a very powerful personal development tool. In fact, letting go of your beliefs is one of the most powerful personal development techniques known to man.

This corresponds to the fact that manipulating other people's beliefs is one of the most efficient manipulation tools ever invented.

Interested yet? I thought you might be.

So let's look into the power of beliefs - and into the power of no beliefs. And let's define belief, too. In fact, let's start with that, a belief definition. It is a good springboard for the deep and powerful secrets about the power of belief that I am about to share with you.

What Is Belief? - A Brief Definition of Belief

A belief is a set of thoughts about yourself and the world, locked or frozen into place. A belief is a choice, a decision, a deeply felt and steadfastly held opinion about reality. In fact, a belief is a way of creating your own, personal reality. A belief also has a level of depth, ranging from superficial, easily changed beliefs to deep seated core beliefs that are quite resistant to change.

What Is Belief? - A Slightly Longer Definition of Belief

A belief is like a lens you see yourself and the world through.

Think of a pair of sunglasses: You put them on and everything you see becomes colored by the lenses you are looking through. If your sunglasses have a brown tint, everything you see has a brown tint. If your sunglasses have a green tint, then your world becomes greenish. If they have a red tint, you see red.

What you see through a pair of sunglasses isn't the world as it is, it's ... well, the world as seen through lenses. That is exactly what beliefs are like. And you know what? You hold more than one belief, so you're looking through more than one pair of sunglasses.

A belief is an opinion. What you believe may seem completely true or correct to you, but completely untrue or incorrect to someone else. This, in fact, is how we know that beliefs are relative, not absolute.

Some things can be absolute, or very close to it: Love, for instance, can be unconditional and thus absolute. It is the same with truth. Or reality. However, no belief is absolute - ever. If it were, it would not be a belief, it would be absolute reality.

But here's the funny thing: If something is reality, you don't need to believe in it.

For instance, answer me this: Do you believe in your own belly button? One of your most probable answers to that is:

"Hey, Mr. Personal Development Guy, you are being ridiculous - asking me if I believe in my belly button - of course I don't BELIEVE in it; I KNOW it is there. All I have to do is pull up my shirt and look down. I don't even have to look at it, I can simply move my hand to my belly, and feel it."

Which is exactly my point: If something is reality, you don't need to believe in it.

Think about that. Just think about that, please. It is important.

You do not need to believe in reality. Reality does not require belief. Reality IS. It just is, that's all there is to it. IF you need to BELIEVE in something THEN IT IS NOT REALITY, but just something you CHOOSE believe.

Please ... I am not being derogatory of your beliefs, whatever they are. You are most welcome to have them. I am simply pointing out that your beliefs are not reality. That's all. But then I AM pointing that out to you.

What. You. Believe. Is. Not. Reality.

That said, beliefs are very, very powerful things.

The Power of Belief: the Creation of Personal Reality

Here is the most important and powerful attribute of beliefs: they are tools of reality creation. If you can get someone to believe something, then this belief becomes a part of their personal reality.

That means they will use the belief as a basis for thoughts, words, emotions, actions and more.

This is why beliefs are so powerful. This is why manipulating people's beliefs is a favorite tool of power mongers everywhere - and always has been.

If you can control what someone thinks, feels, says and does, you have almost complete power over them. And they don't even realize it. They think that what they believe is the truth - reality.

In fact, odds are, in fact, that they will pass their beliefs on to their children.

Not because they want to be mean to their children, but because they love them and want to help them.

Now, THAT is true power!

Having people pass on their beliefs (ways of thinking, feeling, acting, etc.) as if they were true in the best interest of those they pass them on to ... it just doesn't get much more powerful than that!

A Belief Is Like a Virus

Have you heard of 'memes'? Memes are patterns of thought passed on from person to person, very much like a virus. You may have noticed the coming and going of different types of fads. A fad is a kind of meme.

For instance, suddenly there's a fad amongst teenagers to wear trousers that hang so low that they would actually show the wearers butt crack if it weren't for underwear. Never mind that it is uncomfortable, making it hard to walk and even harder to run (and some would say it looks silly, too, particularly when they bend over), never mind that - if you're a teen belonging to that particular segment of teenagers you suddenly believe that you MUST dress like this.

If these teens don't dress like this they will be 'out' or 'not' (the opposite of 'hot') or whatever the current lingo calls that undesirable status where you are not exactly like the rest of the herd.

That's a meme in action. It is also a belief. And it is spreading from person to person, just like a virus.

Okay, so the particular meme or virus or belief I just mentioned mostly affects teenagers, but that's actually normal for memes, beliefs and viruses: some people are more prone to being infected than others.

You may have had your doorbell rung by some people who wanted to 'discuss' some particular belief with you - you know, people on a mission, doing so-called missionary work. Well, what they are doing is spreading the mental virus ... sorry, the belief.

Childhood Beliefs Are Often Core Beliefs

Many of the beliefs you currently hold are childhood beliefs. You took those beliefs on when you were just a kid. In some cases you chose to believe things even before you had the ability to think what we adults would call coherent thought.

How I know this? Two reasons.

One, I know it because my intense personal development journey has shown me that it is true for me. A couple of my most deeply seated core beliefs stem from the time I was between 0 and 2 years old.

And two, my work as a personal development coach has shown me that the same is true for my clients.

The fact that you (and I) took on beliefs even before we were able to describe them to ourselves in words makes those particular childhood beliefs all the more deep seated, powerful and challenging to work with. Because how do you work with something for which there are no words? (It is possible, though).

Final words, for now, on childhood beliefs ... just one of those questions that make you think:

Consider, if you will, your current age and the fact that you STILL believe things that you decided when you were just two years old. Would you let a two year old kid decide for you how to live your life today?

No? Well, that's exactly what you are doing. You, me and everybody else: In many important areas of our lives we're stuck at the level of a two year old. Thanks to beliefs.

Beliefs Are Frozen Patterns of Thought (and Feelings)

If you have ever talked with someone who is a die hard believer in something (no matter what) you will have noticed this: They're stuck. Their minds are locked into some kind of pattern and they cannot and will not break out of it. Have you noticed?

That's why many people refrain from getting into a discussion with a 'true believer' - at least in the area(s) of that person's beliefs - it is futile. The true believer is stuck in a particular mind set and so no discussion can take place.

A discussion, in its true form, is going over different possibilities and options together and evaluating them - thus ensuring that both parties emerge from the discussion wiser and with more or better options.

Discussing the subject of die-hard believer's belief with is the opposite of that. So people who don't want to waste their time avoid talking with true believers about the subjects of the believer's belief.

I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.
~ Gerry Spence ~

Believe enough in something and your mind will go rigid in that area. Your mind will freeze into position and become inflexible. You will be unable to see - or even consider - anything other than your belief, whatever that may be.

Yes, that's you I am talking about here. Not some fanatical nutcase. You. If you believe in something (and it really doesn't matter what it is) then your mind is stuck in some kind of pattern. Believe enough and you will go mentally blind.

Such is the power of belief.

Is It Bad to Believe?

So, is belief 'bad'?

No, why should it be? It is what it is. Like anything else it can be let go or used - for 'good' or for 'bad'.

If you put a bottle of water into the freezer for a couple of hours the water inside the bottle becomes frozen and inflexible, not bad. Okay, so you can't drink the water, but on the other hand you don't need to worry about spilling it, either. You know where the water is and there it stays (at least until it melts). This can be useful. Just like taking on an empowering belief can be useful.

Empowering beliefs are those that give you more and better options than you would otherwise have had. Give you a sense of empowerment (more about empowerment here Empowerment Theory).

If you want to achieve something, and you take on the belief that you can do it, whatever it is, run a marathon, maybe, or write a wonderful novel, then you lock your mind into an empowering position. Useful.

On the other hand, if you want a good life and you have locked your mind into a self defeating position with a negative belief that you are 'not good enough' (low self esteem) then you are using the power of belief for something that's hardly useful at all.

But ... do you need beliefs at all?

The short answer is: no.

You Need No Beliefs

You do not need a single belief.

You can live your life just fine without beliefs. In fact, odds are that your life will be better the fewer beliefs you hold. Why?

Well, for one thing, your mind will be more flexible. As long as you don't use that flexibility to fill your mind with fear you will be able to make a much better life for yourself than someone with a belief-locked and inflexible mind. This is common sense.

But there's an even better reason to let go of beliefs.

Probably the most powerful, convincing and compelling reason why you would want to tap into the power of no beliefs is this: You will be able to see and experience reality. Not just any old personal reality, but absolute reality.

Why is experiencing absolute reality so great? I can answer that with a single word: Happiness.

No Beliefs = Absolute Reality = One Form of Spiritual Enlightenment

Absolute reality is where you find happiness. And inner peace. And unconditional love. Making absolute reality your home is one form of spiritual enlightenment [LINK upcoming].

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.~ Philip K. Dick ~ (American Writer, 1928-1982)

A lot of people are spending a lot of time, energy and money trying to find happiness, inner peace and spiritual enlightenment. Well, I am here to tell you that all of those things are readily available. You just need ... not the power of belief, but the power of no belief.

The Power of No Belief

In brief how that works is like this: When you hold a belief you see the world through the lens of that belief (just like colored sunglasses). When you let that belief go (like taking a pair of sunglasses off), what you see is closer to what is actually there.

In fact, without a belief in a particular area, what you see in that area is absolute reality, or as close to it as your OTHER beliefs (the many other pairs of sunglasses that you are wearing) will let you get.

And so ... the more beliefs you rid yourself of, the more free and flexible your mind will become and the more clearly you will see. (When you're wearing multiple pairs of sunglasses, the more of them you take off, the more clearly you will see the world).

And what will you discover when you see the world without your beliefs?

You will discover that everything is okay.


In fact, that everything is more than okay, everything is wonderful, a miracle, full of wonder and unconditional love.

In short, you find inner peace and you become happy.

Yes, that's right. I used the BIG words that everybody wants so much: Happiness and inner peace. They're yours if you want them. For the small 'price' of working on and liberating yourself from your beliefs.

You can do this in one small area of your life at a time, in several areas at a time or in all areas of you life all at once.

The Difference Between No Beliefs and Disbelief

No beliefs is NOT the same thing as disbelief.

Why? Because disbelief is just another belief.

Choose to believe or choose to disbelieve ... it is the same thing.

(Somewhat like the difference between a die-hard atheist and a die-hard religious believer: There isn't really any difference. They both believe firmly. The believer believes in their religion and the atheist believes in their refusal of the basis of religion. Both are believers).

How disbelief is just another form of belief is most clearly demonstrated if we look at an extreme case, that of a chronic disbeliever - a born and bred, die-hard skeptic.

When you chronically disbelieve all sorts of things then you firmly believe that all those things are untrue. In other words, you are a believer ... in disbelief.

Or, look at it in terms of being open or not being open - or stuck vs. free.

If you are a chronic disbeliever all you will see are a lot of things you do not believe, do not like, do not trust - and therefore reject. This happens automatically, just like it does with a 'true believer'. In effect, as a chronic disbeliever you are just as closed off as any die-hard believer. You will not recognize the truth even if it bites you. Your mind is not free, it is frozen in a pattern, and you are not free, you are stuck.

'No belief' is completely different. When you do not hold any beliefs in a particular then your mind and you yourself and are open and free. Anything is possible. You do not accept things off-hand, nor do you reject things off-hand. You are unguarded and flexible. You are able to see what is really going on. You are able to go with the flow - or go against it if you so desire. You do not react automatically; you are free to choose any reaction you want, including no reaction. In short, your eyes are open, and you are completely free.

The Power of Belief vs. the Power of No Belief

So. The power of belief is strong. The power of no belief is strong.

I bet there are a few folks out there who will challenge me with a question of: 'Which is stronger - the power of belief, or the power of no belief?'

Well, the thing is, there is no real competition. The power of belief does not rule out the power of no belief. You can use either one as you please, in any area of your life that you desire ... provided of course that your beliefs do not stop you from doing so.

Furthermore, one of the easiest and fastest roads that lead to 'no belief' is through letting go of a belief [LINK upcoming]. You use the presence of a belief in yourself as a means to let that particular belief (and maybe some associated beliefs) go. Or, to use a bit of potent imagery: You use the very chains that bind to break free.

The Litmus Test of Belief Work

This is very good news, because it allows you to test out if the weird things I am saying are true. By investigating your beliefs in one particular area of your life, and then proceeding to either change them for the better (empowering beliefs) or letting them go completely (recommended) you can experience for yourself the effects that come from changing or ridding yourself of a belief (or a set of beliefs).

You can even do this belief work on a provisionary basis - performing an emotional and mental dry run, as it were.

All you have to do to perform a 'belief change dry run' is:

a) uncover your current beliefs [LINK upcoming] in an area of your life (just pick an area where you want personal development [LINK upcoming], most likely one that pains you somehow, and describe (preferably in writing) how things are in that area for you, i.e. what your reality looks (what you hold to be true), and then - again and again - ask yourself: 'What must I believe in order to believe that this is how things are?')

b) put yourself in the right mood (a relaxed, open one; which you can achieve via relaxation exercises, meditation, mental exercises or light inner journeys, for example) and then

c) IMAGINE what it would be like to be you if you changed or did not even have this belief that you have uncovered. How would you feel? Would you be more or less free? More or less empowered? What would you be able to be, do and have that you not currently able to?

That's it. That's all you need to do a dry run to test the power of belief.

You CAN do a), b) and c) all by yourself, but it is easier if you enlist the help of a good and trusted friend and easier still if you enlist a professional facilitator, coach, counselor or therapist to help you.

So, then, why don't more people investigate and change or let go completely of their beliefs (i.e. take off their many sunglasses one by one)?

One reason: It's seems scary.

Working with Beliefs Means Facing Your Fears

Remember how I said that we all create our personal reality (as opposed to absolute reality) using beliefs? Well, that's what makes working with your beliefs so scary.

Self improvement and personal development involving beliefs on more than a superficial level can be really scary, because when you work with beliefs you ARE in fact changing your personal reality.

Now, there is nothing dangerous about changing your personal reality, we all do it all the time - but on a fairly superficial level most of the time.

Examples of How You Change Your Personal Reality by Changing Your Beliefs

For example, when you hold a belief that some person you see in the movies is a really good actor and you see this person acting really badly in a couple of movies in a row, you probably revise your belief.

The same thing happens when you discover that something you've been doing or eating because you thought it was good for you is actually really bad for you and makes you sick: You change your belief and stop doing or eating it.

Just like that you change your personal reality. What you were sure was true before you now no longer believe. Instead you believe something new - or you don't believe anything in particular and live with the flexibility of no belief.

Things like that actually happen a lot when you're into personal development and raise your level of awareness.

Back to Facing Your Fears

If you thought the world was a dark place that was tinted a greenish, grey brown color because green was the color of the first pair of sunglasses you put on, grey was the color of the second pair, and brown was the color of the third pair of sunglasses you put on (on top of the two other pairs) ... and you suddenly take off all three pairs of sunglasses, what happens?

The world seems to explode in light and color.

To people who have not been wearing sunglasses all the time that light and all those colors is a perfectly natural phenomenon. To you, however, it is likely to be a shock. Everything seems to have changed. You KNOW that it is the same world, of course, you can even SEE that it's the same world, but nevertheless it sure doesn't SEEM that way to you.

Now, at some subconscious level you knew that something like that would happen if you took your three pairs of sunglasses off. You knew it, and you were afraid of it. That, in fact, is the primary reason why people are afraid to change or let go of their beliefs.

Fear no. 1

When you work with beliefs, at a subconscious level you know that your world (not the world per se, just your own, personal perception of the world) is going to change. And that is scary.

Fear no. 2

Furthermore, change is scary in and of itself. You know what you have got, you don't know what you're going to get. It might be worse than what you got (of course, it might just as well be better, and when raising your consciousness it WILL be better - every time).

Fear no. 3

Finally, what may just scare you the most is this: You think you know who you are, but if your personal reality changes, then perhaps YOU yourself will change, too, and then who will you be? Will you still be you, or will you be some stranger? Perhaps someone you don't want to be?

Setting the Record Straight Concerning Your Fear of the Power of Belief

Just to set the record straight here: personal development the way it is described here at thepersonaldevelopmentguy.com will change your self concept, but it will ALWAYS result in you feeling MORE LIKE YOURSELF. It will always reveal to you more about your authentic identity). It may be scary as heck when you do it, but it will give you a better life afterwards.

When You Let Go Completely of a Belief:
What to Replace It With?

So. Here I have been recommending that you not only examine and replace limiting beliefs with more empowering beliefs, but that you actually let go completely of your limiting beliefs. But if you let go completely of a limiting belief, won't that leave an empty space in your mind where the limitation used to be?

Yes, it might. The more basic your belief is (i.e. the closer it is to being a core belief) the greater the potential empty space. Here's what to fill that empty space with:

Love (as unconditional as you can muster), awareness, presence, and trust in life. Of these LOVE and TRUST are probably the most important ones.

How do you do that? Simply decide it, intend it and visualize it. It works. Keep at it for as long as you feel a need for it.

If you need more help that that, think of someone you admire who has the gifts of unconditional love and trust in life and imagine that you borrow some of their love and trust to carry you through.

The Power of Belief: Summary and Final Words

The power of belief is so big that it warrants the extra long and in-depth treatment that I have given it here. And yet, I have only scratched the surface.

Since this is all so very, very important, let me just give you a brief summary and some final words:
A belief is a thought you have repeated to yourself (or: that someone in authority has repeated to you) so many times in so many ways that it has become a set pattern in your mind. Something you think is the truth. Something you no longer question. Something you think is reality. A belief is a set of frozen thoughts inside your mind.

But what you believe is not reality, because reality is not something you need to believe in. Reality IS. Absolute reality just is, and you KNOW this. Absolute reality is beyond words (none are necessary).

Belief, on the other hand, typically uses a LOT of words, precisely because belief can only exist in the apparent absence of reality. (Absolute reality is never absent, though, you merely can't see it - typically because of your limiting beliefs). Hence, a belief is not and can never be absolute reality, a belief is merely something you CHOOSE to believe.

Limiting beliefs are those that hold you back. Stop you from being authentically yourself and realizing your full potential.

Empowering beliefs are those that give you a sense of empowerment because they give you more and better options than you would otherwise have had.

Examining, changing or letting go completely of beliefs is one of the most powerful self improvement techniques known to man. Treat with caution! Consider getting help from a professional counselor or personal development coach.

Though it is quite scary, completely letting go of a belief is the most empowering thing you can do.

When you let go completely of a more deep seated belief, please make sure you fill the gap with unconditional love, consciousness, awareness, presence and trust in life. If you need two words only for this, let them be LOVE and TRUST.

(Consider, as well, enlisting the help of a professional - such as a counselor or therapist or a personal development coach - when you're dealing with your core beliefs).

The more beliefs you improve or rid yourself of, the more free and flexible your mind will become, the more clearly you will see, and the more free, at peace and happy you will be, because you will discover the absolute truth that everything is in fact as it should be, totally okay. No matter how much other people claim it is terrible (or whatever they believe).

This is the true power of belief.

 



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