If the brain were a computer (which many say it is) and consciousness, as distinct from the brain, were the operator (which some say we are) then the largest component within operating system would be your ‘belief system’. Programming would have started the day you arrived, and ‘file updates’ would continue to this day. Unfortunately few of us have noticed that some of these ‘system updates’ were more like computer viruses designed to generate control of the output from brain to behaviour. And few of us have been able to install an anti-viral system because:
a) we don’t realise we need one
b) failure to recognize its value
c) failure to recognize it!
The equivalent to an anti-viral programme for consciousness is the ‘truth’. But where on earth do we find that? Paradoxically in the last place we would probably look i.e. ‘prior’ to the storage of the assimilated belief systems within the ‘hard drive’ of consciousness itself. The hard drive, or the ‘core’ of our consciousness, being permanent and ultimately incorruptible. Reaching and accessing the hard drive (the core) however is more than a movement of the cursor and a click of the mouse, in other words more than a minor shift of attention and a few moments of deep reflection. Some intelligence is also necessary.
Computers of course have almost no intelligence other than programmed responses. Human consciousness however has a natural, built in intelligence that allows it to see, discern, evaluate, decide and initiate action. Often referred to as the intellect. It is the intellect that the programmed belief systems are often designed to put into ‘hibernate’ mode. As a result they disable the intellects capacity to see the pernicious effects of the belief systems themselves and, most significantly, these systems break the intellects connection and communication with the permanent aspect of the self, the hard drive of the self, the core, where the power of truth abides. And it is only truth that can dispel belief, or in the metaphorical language we have been using, ‘re-write and install a new programme based on a simpler, more accurate and powerful code.’
Just as the frequency of a computer crashing is a sign that something is out of synch in the programming, so too the signs of consciousness ‘crashing’ include angry outbursts, panic attacks, uncontrolled tears, complete shutdown etc. In fact all stress is a sign that consciousness is crashing. They are all wake up calls to the intellect. As it awakens and starts to see clearly again it notices the various levels and dimensions to the programmes that have been assimilated since birth. It starts to recognize the various kinds of ‘belief systems’ that have come to control the operating system of consciousness, and thereby shape thoughts, feeling and actions, and ultimately destiny. These programmes could be called Layered Belief Systems. Here are some to watch out for.
Flat Earth Beliefs
There was a time when everyone in the world knew the world was flat. It was not only unquestioned, it was actually scientifically proven, until Christopher Columbus, who most thought was a madman, proved otherwise. Then there were two lunatics, now known as the Wright Brothers, who claimed they could build a machine that would fly them in the sky. Church leaders claimed they were defying the will of God. They too, were called madmen. Today it is inconceivable that the shape of our planet, and the concept of aircraft could have ever been in question, much less ridiculed, by so-called educated minds. But the truth is that every major leap in our knowledge has come about only when someone ignored the facts that the general population assumed were 100% correct. We can see that any so-called truth, any reality, any fact, is merely one we ‘believe’ today. There is always more to discover, to open, and to deepen. We only have to be willing to find it. As you look at and challenge the belief systems programmed into your consciousness by the authority of so called educated minds you are likely to find many Flat Earth Beliefs along the way. You are likely to find the truth about most beliefs is ironically already built into the very word ‘belief’ itself. They are a LIE !
These are short, quick and easy to miss until you start looking for them and then you will notice their devastating simplicity and frequency. They usually sound like, “I can’t…I am not able…I’m no good at…I’ll never”. They have the capacity to brilliantly hold you in a ‘small box like’ state of consciousness, from where you will perceive the world as a threatening place, and from where you are terrified by the thought that you could be more tomorrow than you are today! Fatal beliefs are of course self-limiting beliefs, usually programmed in by those big people when you were a little person!
Most conversations are laced with our beliefs about others. They can sound like, “He’s such a stupid fool…what an idiot… she is just crazy!”. These are quick, throwaway assessments about others. They are labels we give to others behaviour, which becomes a label for the person. As we create and affirm such negative beliefs about others we are erecting a barrier between us and them and the very energy exchange that is designed to happen in what we call relationship cannot ‘flow’. The relationship is blocked. Not only that but we block ourselves. As we create their image in our mind we distort the light of our own consciousness and surround the image of them with that negative light. And so our own energy is ‘stuck’ there swirling around our belief about them, resulting in a double blockage.
The media onslaught is now 24/7 and the moment we tune in to the TV, Radio and Internet, or pick up a newspaper, someone is there to bombard you with their beliefs. “The world is in crisis… the country is going from bad to worse…things will be much worse next year…etc”. Over time we do less and less inner work to generate our own insights and wisdom, and we can easily allow ourselves to be served with a menu of beliefs from the ‘media experts’ to which we then give the status of ‘truth’. Like fast food, ‘instant’ belief systems are now available everywhere all the time. But as we absorb them we don’t realise they are not part of a healthy diet. It’s a diet that makes our intellect fat and lazy. And before we know it our intellect is fast asleep and snoring in the corner of our consciousness, unwilling and unable to do the work of discerning and seeing what is really true.
Happiness Killing Beliefs
One of the most pernicious belief systems that are programmed in from a very early age is the one that underpins our culture and can easily send us to an early grave. They sound something like this, “You have to work hard before you can deserve to be happy…recognition and approval of others is essential to your self esteem…happiness can be purchased…success is more”. It takes some time in examination; enquiry and reflection before the intellect is awake enough to clearly see that such beliefs and non-sense and therefore nonsense! It takes some sustained inner enquiry to see and realise happiness doesn’t come from outside our self, satisfaction doesn’t come from getting more but from giving more, and a lasting sense of fulfillment doesn’t come from personal achievement or from emptying the pockets of others and filling our own. One of its most sustainable sources, as many will testify, is from helping others to help themselves.
Perhaps the most insidious belief system is the one that is hardest to see. It’s when we judge others and believe we have the right to be the judge, it’s when we criticize others and believe we have the right to be the critic, it’s when we believe we have been wronged by others or events and believe we are a victim. These are the beliefs that are woven through so much of the world around us from soaps on TV to international politics, from sport to celebrity watch. As everyone seems to be generating judgmental beliefs about others they are only really saying they believe they have been wronged. It’s not easy to see that ultimately no one and no thing can wrong you…if you so decide! But when you do see the truth of this, when you do see that you are never a victim, if you so decide, then it’s one of the first signs that you are re-writing your preprogrammed belief system, it’s one of the early signs that you are at last re-empowering the operating system that is your consciousness.
Once you start to surface, consciously examine and challenge your most deeply held beliefs i.e. the programming of your life so far, it won’t be long before many will tumble like a pack of cards. You will see many more Flat Earth Beliefs and wonder how you could have been so unaware of them for long. For example a classic Flat Earth Belief is that ‘life wasn't meant to be easy… that life is a struggle…where you just manage to survive’! It seems we believe we can only truly enjoy our life when we are on holidays, on what was once called ‘recreational leave’. This literally means leave, or permission, to re-create ourselves. But what might happen when you learn to re-create yourself anytime? Simple. Would life not then become a holiday all the time? Exposing and dumping the old programming and freeing up the ‘operating system’ called ‘consciousness’, is one of the ways to make each day a holy day.
Question: Which of the above belief systems do you seem to have acquired the most?
Reflection: Why do you think we are so susceptible to the beliefs of others?
Action: Identify seven beliefs that you have been living out for as long as you can remember and what might the truth sound like that would help you let go of those beliefs?