This week’s events in France illustrate how core beliefs can kill. They can cause great devastation both to the believer and to those whose beliefs clash with the believer. The cost is high. Individuals symbolize solidarity in beliefs by changing Facebook profile pics, by claiming ownership to the devastation, by grieving great loss as community…or by celebrating. Why? What exactly, is at the core of such seemingly opposite visceral reactions?
It is estimated that 90% of the population walks through life on autopilot, adopting beliefs from family, culture, religion, social media, and community without ever even taking a day out of their busy lives to really examine their own core beliefs and where they came from. This needs to change. Here’s why. When we do examine these beliefs, we often heal, and in doing so, we heal others. When we don’t, we don’t.
Yet how do we look into our own stuff if, by nature, it lives in our subconscious suppressed by time and layering? Sometimes, this is a task we need help meeting because of our own blindspots. Current pop media highlights this. Have you seen the new show, “Blindspot?” In the series debut, the protagonist, found in the middle of world media central, Times Square, is found naked in a duffel bag. She emerges, her body newly inked in tattoos, as if born into a new consciousness. Her body is covered with a visual treasure map to her past life that she needs others to help her uncover. She only gets memory in small hits as she pieces together where she came from with her recovery team. Her skills (for example, she’s clearly a skilled an accomplished assassin) are all automatic, but her beliefs are confused and live in the shadows.
We all have blindspots. They may manifest in symptoms like anxiety, depression, immature communication, stress, strained relationships, eating disorders, repeating patterns and so on. Pulling apart the layers of these beliefs is each person’s responsibility. It is the way in which we will be able to live our lives fully and come together in peaceful humanity as One.
When I was at UCLA, I took a fabulous class in urban architecture. We toured the city not only looking at old historic buildings, and early structure, but also the influence of gangs and graffiti on urban architecture. Even taking photos of the work almost got us shot a few times. What is operating so strongly in an individual that makes that person want to kill another person for studying their art? A belief system so entrenched (and most likely unexamined) that starts with core beliefs of self-protection, safety, and loyalty to tribe above all else. But don’t we all have that? Don’t we all want to protect our families, our tribe–to live in a world of safety?
Yes, you say, but we don’t all kill to do it. That’s true, but what if one’s belief is that this is the only way to ensure safety? What if that’s all that person has known and it has formed that belief?
Here’s a thought. What would the world look like if every person on the planet adopted the belief that we are all connected and when one harms another, that person harms himself? What if the core belief was that love is the most important thing, and that all the other shit is just shit? Take a minute, with John Lennon and I, and imagine what that would look like?
Polyana? Here’s the thing. It’s not in our power to step into the world of LA gang members (or international terrorist groups for that matter) and understand each of their core beliefs and whether we think they’re legit. However, what is in our power is to take time out of our individual lives to really pull apart our own core beliefs that have been programmed into our operating systems, and to ask ourselves if those still work for us. Do we need to upgrade? Just because we had a belief when we were 3, doesn’t mean we need to have the same belief at 53. Our actions, our addictions, our secrets, our morning routine, the way we communicate, the way we dress, the way we run our lives–these all emanate from our beliefs.
Over the past 10 weeks, in my spiritual practitioner studies, I have had to examine core beliefs under a magnifying lens. Each week was a new topic: God, Love, Thoughts, Feelings, Personal Qualities, Work, Play, Parents, Children, Money, Aging, Death, Sex, Partners, Friends, Health, Appearance and Life Status. There were many surprises that I uncovered as I looked more closely. It was not always easy. Sometimes I cried. (A few times in class.) But here’s the healing part of this: once I identified a belief that I didn’t want to claim as my own anymore, I made the decision to change it. I could tear up the old contract and write a new one.
I could feel the healing take place in myself and in my circle of fellow students as we moved through this process. I could feel the struggles of the group trying to find its place in the layered muck. Just after ten weeks though, I felt a shift. I adopted a new belief: because we’re all connected, being willing to deeply examine core beliefs can heal not only individuals, but also families, communities, and the world.
I understand not everybody is ready for or willing to take this step. It’s hard to be authentic and vulnerable. We’re all busy and it takes time. But I can’t help wonder had the recent attackers on Paris been willing to do this, if the outcome may have been different. It just feels like there’s another way to exist in the world, for the sake of all humanity.