Can Beliefs Become A Mental Idol?
Continued from yesterday…
Years later I reflected on this chance encounter on the gold course. Religious beliefs are rooted in a dissatisfaction with the evil in the world. We intend to use our beliefs to provide a path out of humanity’s state of dysfunction and defect.
My goal that day was to share my beliefs because I genuinely thought it would provide my fellow golfer freedom. The problem was that he demonstrated more freedom than I did. His freedom also revealed to me that my beliefs had become a way to strengthen my sense of self. In my mind, my beliefs made me right and the other golfer wrong.
After playing with this golfer for a while, it dawned on me that although I was intellectually an expert in my tradition’s beliefs, my inner life didn’t reflect the same peace, grace, and love that emanated from this man.
Of course, I didn’t know what internal struggles he dealt with, but there was a calm and compassion in him that I had rarely seen before. I began to wonder whether I had made my belief system a mental idol that everyone had to follow.
Had I falsely assumed that a set of mental ideas and concepts about God was the truth?
Had I taken the wisdom of spiritual texts and turned them into neatly packaged belief systems that in a way enhanced my sense of self more than set people free?
To be continued tomorrow…
Adapted from Section 1 of Awakening To I Am Love by David Youngren
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