Psychology of belief
Introduction to understanding concept of a belief
Beliefs play a major role in how you function in the world. You are probably aware of that fact, but that awareness is probably also of no practical benefit. It would make sense that some benefit could be had from a better understanding of something that important. There is and that requires understanding the process of how beliefs modify behavior.
A belief can be defined as “an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.” The significance of this hard to grasp because it so fundamental to everything. What is meant by “accepting to be true” and how would you ever differentiate that from something you do not accept to be true? That reason for not accepting something is based on another belief. In reality, things are accepted to be consistent with you how you make decisions and behave. What is true to you, is what impacts how you experience in the world. How can you get better control over how you experience the world? You do that by understanding acting in ways that result in something you want. How you act is determined by the direction you are taking your life. The direction of your life is at best towards some goals of meaning and purpose and at worst towards uncertainty associated with clear direction. A life of purpose and satisfaction or one of random chaos(option 1 please!!). Once steps are made to make plans to change the physical relationship you have with the world, that process begins. That process is also how you change beliefs to ones that allow to function in a way that reflects acceptance of things that result in a better world. It might be possible to change some beliefs without such action, but those beliefs are not the ones change your relationship with the world. .
A more helpful definition of belief is the following: an explanation for causal relationships among observed things in the environment and/or with yourself that inform behavior in a way that supports your relationship with the world. The quality of your beliefs can not be inferred through contemplation. Even your current life situation. The relationship with the world can be stagnant, on downward trajectory, or an upward trajectory. The upwards trajectory in the both mental and physical relationship with the world signifies they are at least positive. However, there are many degrees of positive. The goals achieved can be more difficult, happen faster, be more meaning, and bring more good into the world in general. That’s the overall aim that a practical understanding of beliefs is to benefit. What can be learned to help reach that state.
The relationship with the world that results from a belief is the best way for our minds to understand it. This is a more abstract and symbolic understanding. There can be an infinite amount of explanations for particular causes of things in the world. People have many different takes on the same subject matter. These varying unique explanations emerge from the beliefs underlying them and result in different responses to singular phenomena. A different conscious rationalization/explanation that comes from different interpretations logically leads to different decisions being made on how to act. The key point is that the explanations are at superficial level that has a vast network of associations and beliefs underlying them. Try not to conflate explanations with a direct interpretation of an objective reality. The conscious rationalization will always seem coherent regardless of the content of them and how different they are from others. They are not necessarily logical in the sense that they do not have to explain the ACTUAL reasons for things that happen in the world. Your consciousness is like the ripples on the surface of an ocean. Don't confuse short lived awareness of the ripple for the totality of what lies beneath. Something making sense does not mean it is right. Always being willing to question your own rationalizations and be open to new information that can expand your awareness beneath the surface. Also remember that other people have this same error in thinking. Don't get upset with them you feels as if they are being erroneous and not recognizing it. They don't know better. As Jesus described, don't not get upset for they know not what they do and despite this fact, that are your equals in the one mind. Having beliefs that result in more accurate explanations of reality requires being humble to how much you do not know and being aware of how our minds can make anything seem like it makes sense.
We all have a lot of beliefs that we have inherited from our environment and guide our thoughts without even being aware of it. Breaking out from those can be done by getting clear on your goals and basing them in love. Creating love and unity is the only thing that can't be argued against. When you create goals that serve purposes of love, you change your beliefs as you move towards them. When goal directed behavior changes your relationship with the world, beliefs must change also. It starts with an intention to improve society with love based goals. Beliefs are often stubborn and difficult to change. It is also true that many you inherit oppose love and happiness. Beliefs are reflected in the world and it is obvious from that fact that they are not ideal. You don't want to take the common explanations for granted because those are based in beliefs that are tear us apart.
Beliefs lead to the explanations associated with the decision making process behind the pattern of behavior that creates your relationship with the world. Changing them to ones that more accurately reflect reality is done by executing on planned actions that move towards goodness regardless of any beliefs that may be holding you back. Aim for love based goals and let others think what they want. It is the inherited implicit assumptions/beliefs that hold us away from truth. However, they do not control us because we ultimately choose. The power is in our own hands. This conceptualization of beliefs is a foundation to build upon, relate to your own experiences, and begin to create a belief system that better serves you.
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