We may think that we think what we think.
But what we don’t know is that we are what we think.
And what we think is not what we think we are thinking.
My life has been so busy lately, trying to edit my first novel for print and work on the second one, that I have neglected Confetti Head and all my other blogs. I hang my head in shame.
This morning I awoke early and for some reason couldn’t bring myself to open my manuscript. I need a break. Well, that is after my writers’ group meeting this morning and tomorrow night. After that, I’m taking a short break from the world of Planet Arkhon and the Gods of Terra.
I have written so much, that my first thought was, “Well, I’ll just pull something I’ve written about before.” But no matter how many articles (those not intended for posting on my blogs) I opened, none felt right. It’s almost like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, “This porridge is too hot. This porridge is too cold . . . .” So there was nothing to be done but to write something new. But what? I found the story below in a lonely folder marked “unfinished.” I rescued it out of the bits and bites of cyber cobwebs and gave it some TLC with updates, edits, and new material.
I hope it tickles your fancy. If you are in any way offended by the following content. So be it. Send me a rant comment, or whatever makes you feel better. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves.
Beliefs and Lars’ Real Girl – or How I learned to Trick my Brain and Believe.
As I grow older, and I hope wiser, my perspective on life changes more rapidly—sometimes daily. What I believed with solid conviction yesterday might be on shaky ground today. I have lived a life and a half in my wild and weird trip through this incarnation (Yes. At this time in my life, I believe in reincarnation, so shackle me to the town-center stocks).
As an official Geezerette, I have a perspective that many people, much younger haven’t yet come to. Yeah, yeah. Don’t fret, I’m not going to regale you with stories of how I had to trudge through ten feet of snow for miles to get to school. Although, I actually did have to dig through snow in Spokane, Washington to get to first grade, but that’s another story.
No, it’s that the older I get, the more humor plays a part in life. Things just don’t seem to be that damned important anymore. I still have my moment of angst, impatience, irritability, but overall, it’s that life is funny. I’m terribly irreverent and regularly make jokes about death, religion, and politics.
What makes life so funny? A lot of it is how much human beings get stuck in their beliefs as being real. Doesn’t anyone look around and realize that if one person thinks their set of beliefs is the only reality, and another thinks theirs is, and a third person has a different set of beliefs that they think are equally the TRUTH, that someone, maybe everyone is wrong? No, beliefs are the stuff that wars are made of.
If everyone would come to the conclusion that beliefs are not ultimate truth, but only a set of tools to cope with life as they know it, wouldn’t that translate into a more peaceful, tolerant world? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows.
My point is that if I knew the A-hole on the freeway who just cut me off is using a coping tool from the belief that he is the only person on the road, I might not take it personally. His set of beliefs might just contain the hammer that says “Do unto others before they do unto you”—a survival mechanism according to him.
So naturally, that leads me to, bam bam ba bam!, religion. I know religion is the lifeblood of many people but it makes absolutely no sense to me. God bless ’em. If they need it, they can have it. I just get a little annoyed when they try to nail it into my head.
You don’t go knocking on doors extolling the glories of the Goddess, or Krishna, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or do you? Hmmm. Knock, Knock. “Hi, I’m here to talk to you about Durga, goddess of protection. Have you taken her as your personal savior? She can fill your heart with love and bring meaning to your life.”
Maybe that would be a bad idea. Some religious folk don’t take kindly to competing missionary work. Religious tolerance, as far as I have been able to discern, is a good idea but rarely a reality. When you think about it though, is door-to-door missionary-work for pagans, atheists, or metaphysics any more absurd than for Christians?
Wait, are Christians the only door-knockers? I don’t know but in my life they are the only ones who have rapped on my door. I don’t recall any, “Hello, I’m here to tell you about Yahweh,” or “Good morning. Have you taken Budda as your personal savior?” Never, even when I was deeply involved with a Hindu devotional group, was I asked to spread the word of Brahma to my neighbors. Even atheists, who are, outside of Christians, the most active group I know for extolling their beliefs as the “only way,” haven’t done much except ridicule some of my Facebook posts. For most religions other than Christianity, beliefs are a private matter shared within their community. Not something to pound people over the head with. I know radical groups are the exception. Don’t want to get into that here.
The point of this story is not to knock (pardon the pun) Christianity. I just aim to level the field to something more tolerant of everyone. If we were born into a society that had no knowledge of the Judeo/Christian story, and were told about it, we might think, “How can anyone believe such nonsense?”
People who adhere to a religious faith accept their story as truth because their belief is familiar to them, usually from childhood. Or, sometimes, the faithful trade one implausible belief for another because of. . .well, who knows why, perhaps fitting in with a group of people we like, fear of burning in Hell, needing to be like the neighbors, a positive emotional experience that is better than the one our former belief gave us?
Any number of reasons can be the cause of believing in something.
Religion in general sets up rules of conduct and emphasizes guilt and punishment if the faithful fall out of the fold. But it is also a place where the faithful can give a collective “Aaah.” It’s so nice to be able to hand our troubles over to an invisible being who is all powerful and can take care of things for us. This can be Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Mohammed, the Goddess, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster—whoever.
Faith and religious belief feels good, like being a child and having someone take care of us. No worries, _________ (fill in the blank) loves you and will take care of you. You will go to ____________ (fill in with whatever afterlife reward is promised) and be with _________ (fill in with deity name). But don’t break the rules or you will be punished by _____________ (whoever or whatever) and suffer for eternity. Plus we won’t let you play with us anymore.
In one religion that will remain unnamed here, no matter how much of a scumbag you are, you can say three Hail Mary’s and four Our Father’s, or confess on your deathbed to sins that until this moment you thought you could get away with, and all will be well. The deity will forgive you—unless you are gay, divorced, or belong to a different church.
Often when people switch from traditional religion to metaphysics, they invent (yes, this is a personal belief and I don’t claim it to be truth) guides and angels to take the place of whatever their former religion gave them as a caretaker. They often adopt the same prejudices and intolerances they had before. I did when I came out of a semi-belief in the teachings of the Episcopal Church and embraced my mother’s less mainstream spiritual beliefs. She was a metaphysical psychic and my father, an Atheist. I had spirit guides and guardian angels galore. I knew the truth! My eyes were opened! [sic].
No matter how much Psychology education I had, it wasn’t until I learned NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) that I realized the true power of the mind to create nonsense and make us put all our faith into it. If I want to believe something now, I have the tools to trick my brain into believing it with all my heart. If I want to let go of a belief, I have the tools to make my brain believe that my former belief was untrue. Fun game.
I guess the trick to happiness, in my never-to-be-humble opinion is to believe that beliefs are filters through which we cope with life and that nothing is really true. I don’t know enough about physics (other than Newtonian) to address whether a scientist’s beliefs about a quark will indeed influence the almost-a-particle-but not quite, but it’s fascinating to think about.
So, now in my geezer years, I have adopted a sort of footloose and fancy free attitude about beliefs. My life has been interesting and often bizarro. Much of my experience from toddler-hood on has been with ghosts, prophetic dreams, ESP, ETs, and psychic phenomena. Does this make my world any more crazy than someone who believes in talking snakes, magic apples, and virgin births? I don’t think so. It’s just that my form of craziness is familiar to me so it doesn’t seem as insane in my community of like-minded inmates.
I guess this rant is about done. As a friend of my bestie, David Lintner, used to say, “We done drug that dog down the road as far as we can.” So I leave you with this. If your brand of faith, belief, craziness, fits your life and you are comfortable with it, I say, stick with it until it doesn’t fit anymore, then change what you believe to something else. If your panties are too tight, you don’t feel guilty about changing them, do you? If you do, I don’t wanna know.
Have fun with life and play with your beliefs. Your brain will thank you for it.
Leave a comment. Make me laugh, make me cry. Love to hear about you.