Our collective and individual belief systems are often exclusive and precious to us. Mine are all-inclusive and therefore not exclusive.
What we experience as "the real world" is a consensus trance according to Charles Tart and other mental health professionals, and groupthink reinforces our group consensus trances and associated beliefs.
The idea that our belief systems create our experiences is not new.
This makes it no easier to accept. People in especially difficult circumstances naturally feel victimized. The fact they are essentially victimizing themselves is not a pleasant concept.
So what's the point? Seems like learning and growing from our self-created experiences is the point.
If this is so, the habitual questions should be "What is this teaching me?" or "What is this experience trying to teach me?" for those lessons that seem to be popping up again and again throughout our lives.
Mindfully asking constructive questions habitually rather than letting ego-mind automatically spew all that criticism and make all those fear inducing associations will have a huge impact. Try it for a while.
"I was afraid that would happen!" "Why does this always happen to me?" "Nothing is ever easy!" are examples of powerful individual beliefs in action which create negative outcomes.
Some people who have been mis-identified as "evil" sorcerers practice individual belief in a highly disciplined manner and achieve very powerful results. They are simply connecting to the Source and mindfully using belief systems and associated disincarnate entities created by the ego-minds of themselves and others.
The power of individual belief and collective belief combine in areas such as goal achievement, meditation, hypnosis, prayer, astrology, voodoo, and religious belief systems in general.
I like to use the power of collective belief mindfully. The use of the image of the lotus blossom at the bottom of this site's pages is an example of use of collective belief to achieve positive outcomes.
Some very attractive and intriguing beliefs are very distracting and delay our spiritual awakening. Belief in and speculation about reincarnation is a good example.
There are many of these pretty distractions along the spiritual paths we take. That's okay, we have all the time in the world.
Henry Noodlebutt first appeared after I neglected to put food out for the feral cats for a day or two.
He was starving, very vocal, and I started feeding him regularly.
Henry has a set of beliefs which include a lot of unfounded fears. His fears are real to him, but are seemingly foolish to me.
Every day Henry thinks I may decide to be physically abusive and is very cautious in our initial meetings.
He's occasionally unpredictably aggressive and this may be why he was homeless. He's not a typical feral cat and is often very affectionate.
His aggressive behavior was tough to deal with initially and has been nearly entirely conditioned away through patient nonviolent means.
My judgmental belief is the humans who he knew before were assholes. It's possible and even likely those humans were unsupervised children who while behaving like assholes, at least had a decent excuse.
But I digress...
Back to the point I'm attempting to make, our belief systems have a huge impact on our experiences. Henry would be much happier and contented if he were not so fearful.
Fear is simply Fantasized Experience Appearing Real.
In being fearful we are self-identifying with ego-mind and allowing past conditioning or experiences to influence our interpretation of the present moment's meaning and anticipating fearful outcomes.
Mr. Noodlebutt is in a frequent state of fear and anxiety over his interpretation of the present moment based on past experiences which have no relevance in the present moment.
It's an advantage to believe we choose our beliefs. Let's mindfully choose a set of beliefs that serve us well.
Notice I said a set. We all have various ways of looking at things based on context as well as past associations, experiences and conditioning.
We agree on collective belief systems in our defined groups. Each of us has individual ways of interpreting experiences which lead to beliefs which define our individual belief systems.
Our consensus trance is a product of collective belief or groupthink generally, and exists in subsets associated with our individual groups.
Many hypnotherapists believe we are all in a trance state all the time. This being so, our experiences are profoundly influenced by our beliefs, while our beliefs are defining our experiences. Chicken or egg?
Neurolinguistic programming or NLP can teach you ways to change beliefs that don't serve you well, and it usually works very quickly.
The fact NLP can work so quickly seems to be a liability in gaining acceptance in the mental health community. There's more profit in having lengthy therapy programs. Bandler and Grinder founded NLP by modeling techniques of the most effective therapists. Ironic ain't it?
A useful metaphor in NLP is "Your map is not the territory." Meaning the way you believe is simply your own individual representation and can be changed. You can create a better map if you want, it's up to you.
You're welcome to download the lotus blossom picture below as a larger file, which is just under one megabyte. Click here to get it for your Self. May it facilitate you in your spiritual journey. Namaste.