Springingtiger's Blog


The Language of Choice: Choosing to Believe

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I pulled out the plug and as I watched the water draining from my Arnica bath I was struck by a reluctance to get up and get out. I examined my reluctance to stand and realised that I believed that standing would cause me to experience discomfort in my joints. However I had had an Arnica bath because I believed that the Arnica would ease the discomfort in my joints and allow me to get on with life.

There was I sitting in a draining bath prey to two opposing beliefs. It was certain that I could hardly remain in the bath. How was I to choose between my two opposing beliefs? Did I choose one belief over another? No, instead of either ̶ or any ̶ belief, I chose to stand up and get out and to experience whatever I experienced. This may be a trivial example, however it illustrates a real truth that we allow our beliefs to determine our actions. In the model used in Darren Eden’s ‘The Transformation’ he identifies twelve negative core beliefs which effectively categorise most of the negative beliefs we may have which impede our freedom to choose and act on our choices. In the end it doesn’t matter how many beliefs there may be or what models you may follow, what matters is the beliefs you choose to use.

Many people are not aware that they choose the beliefs that run their lives. Every belief we have we have chosen to believe. The proselytising religions are very aware of this, were it not so how could they ever persuade anyone to convert from one religion to another? Some choose to believe in a god or gods, some to choose to believe there is no god, but atheism is every bit as much a belief as theism. Both the religious and the atheist will claim to base their belief on evidence, however each discounts the evidence of the other. When examined, the only reason that the religious and the atheist reject each other’s beliefs is that they choose to believe differently and interpret their evidence through the filter of their beliefs.

In reality we all depend on beliefs. We open a door because we believe there is something on the other side. We pay our taxes because we believe we will benefit from it or that we will suffer should we not. We stand at bus stops because we believe a bus will come. We don’t consciously choose our beliefs most of the time, but choose them we do.

Most of our beliefs are based on past experience and upon evidence. The Rail Time table says that there will be a train at 07:00; yesterday and the day before we caught a train at about 07:00 therefore we believe today we will get a train at 07:00. It is a reasonable belief and based on evidence, however it only takes the wrong sort of leaves on the lines to invalidate it ̶ for one morning at least.

A lot of our beliefs are not really ours but are instilled in us by others and circumstances. When the train fails to arrive several days in a row we quickly come to an expressed belief that, “The Seven o’Clock never comes on time.” When a child’s parents or teachers have told him often enough that he is a slow learner he will learn to have learning difficulties. We tend to filter our experiences to find evidence to support our negative beliefs. In reality there is no reason why we should not filter for evidence to support positive beliefs except that we are unaware that we can choose our beliefs. If instead of negative beliefs like: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I don’t deserve…’, ‘people like us can’t…’ we had been conditioned with beliefs like: ‘You can do whatever you put your mind to’, ‘you are very clever’, ‘you are creative’ we would find evidence to support them. In truth most of us are exposed to both negative and positive conditioning. Until we choose to act as we choose regardless of beliefs we will be left sitting in a draining bath getting cold. That we can act regardless of our beliefs is also a belief, but a good one to choose.

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1 Comment so far
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I want to take a bath now. I liked this.

Comment by Robert Frost




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