Believing Without Believing

by Gary on March 29, 2016 in



The grand task of seers is to bring forth the idea that, in order to evolve, man must first free his awareness from its bindings to the social order. Once awareness is free, intent will redirect it onto a new evolutionary path.         

Carlos Castaneda The Art of Dreaming

Believing seems more and more a mistake as I map the universe of poise. 

The student’s goal is poise,” as Florence Shinn said. We want to achieve a state of consciousness in which we sustain our composure, balance and equanimity. Sustaining our poise, we are present, connected, grateful, creative, and lighthearted.

Believing in things makes sustaining poise difficult, if not impossible.

Mostly, we believe in things because of the foreign installation. In warrior terms, the foreign installation is the total product of our socialization. Our parents, teachers, and our society at large teach us to believe in certain things as we grow up. It’s a foreign installation because we didn’t have any say in what we are supposed to believe: we are just supposed to believe what we were taught. We have been taught systematically to perceive the world in very specific ways. The poor creatures that are unable to be imprinted have always been considered by society to be insane, disabled, or criminal.

The foreign installation can and must be examined and tested thoroughly by each of us once we are adults, but most people don’t do it be because—out of fear—they don’t want to isolate themselves as heretics of the current social agreement.  Even if we aren’t afraid to question our foreign installation, it has stuck its roots into our cognitive system so deeply that enormous effort is needed to lift the imprint and look at life afresh.

Why we have to unlearn practically every element in the foreign installation if we are to sustain poise.

Here are examples of the foreign installation that some people in the recent history of our species have built their adult lives on, gone to war for, and defended as God given truth:
v Certain minorities aren’t quite human and may be enslaved by members of the superior majorities
v Women, lovely creatures that they are, can not be entrusted to vote in a sensible society
v If citizens of another country are committed to a religion we don’t agree with, we may have to kill thousands of their men, women, and children—even if they have never harmed us directly.

Yes, yes, you might be rightly objecting, but we humans can unlearn primitive beliefs like these that got downloaded in past eras, so we do learn and change.

But many people during the eras of those beliefs did not unlearn these beliefs and took them to their grave. And some people   on the earth are still operating with these beliefs's all lies darling 9ad4eb907f72a364b7c71b8231cbd3c2

Only a minority of people question deeply their foreign installation during their lifetimes.

Let’s try some examples of more recent foreign installations, downloads that most of us have received as we grew up:
v There is a god who created the world and who will reward us with heaven after we die if we believe in Him.
v If you are willing to work hard and behave responsibly, you will be rewarded with economic well being and may even become rich.
v When bad things happen to us, it is human nature to feel sorry for ourselves, grieve, or get angry.



We have to examine our foreign installation because much of it is false, misleading, or only partly true. If we don’t deconstruct the foreign installation, we will be trapped in the eddies of the ordinary life, and we will not be able to live in a state of poise

How believing causes us to lose our poise:
1. Poised, we are present, living in the now. It’s not likely that we will remain in the now, however, if we remain faithful to the  example of belief above, for instance:

When bad things happen to us, it is human nature to feel sorry for ourselves, grieve, or get angry.

Sure of the truth of this belief, we will lose our poise every time we reject one of our challenges and call it “bad.” Full of pain and regret, we leave the now and obsess about what has happened in the past, or race into the future, desperately hoping to escape from ourselves.

2. Poised, we are connected—to each other, to this beautiful earth, and to our true selves, love.

When bad things happen to us, it is human nature to feel sorry for ourselves, grieve, or get angry.

Believing this, we lose our connection. Now we blame someone else for this bad thing or we blame God. We feel separate and alone. Our sense of equanimity, our poise, is gone.

3. Poised, we are grateful. Obviously, we don’t feel grateful if we think something “bad” has happened to us. We are rejecting part of life and refuse to give our life our approval.

4. Poised, we are creative. How can creativity exist in the belief that we are victims?  When we become convinced that we cannot escape feeling angry when challenges occur for instance, we are merely a leaf at the mercy of the wind.

We are taught to believe When bad things happen to us, it is human nature to feel sorry for ourselves, grieve, or get angry.

Lost in self-pity and victim-hood, our capacity to improvise, make use of what is happening, invent and test responses is shrunken or destroyed. Still, we hang onto this belief with the fervor of the righteous.

5. Poised we are lighthearted. This is our natural state, but when we swallow the false premise that our anger and upset are “human nature,” we cannot sustain a light heart.

We often become earnest, self-absorbed, lost. If sanity demands a sense of humor, we will never be completely sane. We may become so crazy that we defend our heaviness by arguing that it is not quite human to be poised all of the time. I am crazy; therefore I am human.

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Once we believe something, we can’t learn anything more about it. If I have a deep belief in a loving God, say, a god that will answer my prayers now and then later open the gates of heaven to me when I die, I must get into alignment with that belief. I won’t examine it further, because I would interpret my questioning as loss of faith, as heresy, or at least a waste of time.

I will probably feel quite separate from those who don’t believe in this type of god, assuming that they don’t get it. Their questioning isn’t good for me, so I will stay away from them, instead bonding with fellow believers.

I don’t think other people’s questioning of belief in god is amusing either, and I become heavy hearted when I hear them blaspheme. I may believe that they are going to roast in hell for eternity. Didn’t Jesus say that you must leave your mother and father, your brother and sister, and others close to you? So, I have to leave you, non-believer.

The avenue toward judgment is believing.

I know the truth, and there is nothing left to learn about the existence of my loving God.

Believing without believing is our only option, if we want to sustain our poise.

Let’s suppose that we have done a thorough recapitulation of our foreign installation. We have examined every major downloaded belief in our socialization. Now, are we left bereft, drifting in an existential desert, alienated and alone?

No, we are free men and women.

At this point, we are not trapped by the belief system of the foreign installation and the ordinary life. We are not rigid and earnest.

Nothing is final.

We believe without believing, so we never stop learning. Our evolving beliefs are precious to us now because they are hard-won, emerging from the laboratory of our personal experience.

Poised, we are present, connected, grateful, creative, and lighthearted.

Poised and free, we have our own life experience to determine what to “believe.”

We become pioneers of human emergence, creative agents of the universe. Not rejecting anything about life, we look, listen, touch, smell, and taste. As we embrace life fully, new perceptual worlds open to us.

Learning as we traverse a path of love.

We create and test our new beliefs as we learn. Our new beliefs guide us more and more clearly, and we gain confidence in them.

TruthBut we believe without believing.

Our beliefs guide us, but we are not locked into them; we can modify a belief at any time if the realities of our life prove that belief inadequate, In this dynamic process, we develop better and better explanations for what is happening in our lives.

The final test of our new beliefs is poise. Are we poised more and more of the time? If we are, we are becoming more conscious, and our beliefs are serving that growing consciousness.

Poised now, every day, we take in the world—not as we were taught to take it in—but, instead, with true originality and freshness.

We trust our beliefs because we have tested them scrupulously, and they guide us on our path of love.

But we believe in them without believing, so we never stop learning.

We are not afraid at all to question our beliefs, change them, even abandon them as our experience demands that we do. Our beliefs are supple and love to bend and conform to the shape of the facts of our experience.

Fully poised, believing without believing, we live in mystery and awe, looking, looking, breathlessly.

“Believing Without Believing” first appeared here in 2013.  Since little has changed in the human species since then, the idea that we must examine and reject much of the foreign installation that each of us received growing up is still a critical issue of human consciousness.  I’ve done some editing and added some images.  Gary


by Gary on March 29, 2016 in


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  1. This is a really beautiful, enlightening article. “Once we believe something, we can’t learn anything more about it”. How very true. I was once one of those blinkered Christian believers, rejecting all those whose beliefs didn’t conform to mine, making judgements about others. But there was that little spark that wouldn’t allow me to get into total, blind alignment with my beliefs, a lingering need to probe and question everything. I believed without totally believing, and that’s how I got free of those fundamentalist Christian shackles in the end. Then I watched as my friends in that church all rejected me. They knew the truth, and there was nothing left for them to learn about their loving God!