Questioning our beliefs is the beginning of freedom. It starts by asking, is what I believe correct? See why you should cultivate this mindset.
The most profound questions are those that challenge our boundaries of belief. We begin every meeting in our blended learning platform with the question, “if what you believe is wrong, can you change your beliefs?”
Your answer to this question tells a lot about your readiness to learn. If you cannot question your paradigm, it is likely because you fear the loss of your sacred ground. It’s a fear that ties in with relationships and our identity. So, it takes courage to dig up these beliefs.
“If you have a belief and you come against an experience which the belief says is not possible, or, the experience is such that you have to drop the belief, what are you going to choose — the belief or the experience?
The tendency of the mind is to choose the belief, to forget about the experience. That’s how you have been missing opportunities when God has knocked at your door.” — Osho
Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?
“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” ― François de La Rochefoucauld
Are you willing to change your beliefs if they are wrong? If you answer yes, then you are ready for the adventure of your life. This adventure is what we call spiritual exploration. Joseph Campbell calls this quest The Hero’s Journey.
The inner quest is the road to enlightenment. But this path is not always rainbows and unicorns. On the contrary, it is a destructive process.
“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” ― Adyashanti
“I don’t want to believe. I want to know.” ― Carl Sagan
If your beliefs about something are wrong, you need the ability and wisdom to change them when you get better information. Challenging your assumptions is how you grow. The fear you face is the beginning of freedom.
“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.” ― Jiddu Krishnamurti
Spiritual exploration has several elements that work together to open doors of perception and consciousness, but not everyone is ready for this adventure. On the surface, the spiritual quest sounds like a pleasant excursion. But you’ll soon discover inner work can be challenging.
Some people believe that spiritual exploration will be like a boat ride on a gentle river when it is more like “base diving” off a cliff. It takes courage to confront the possibility that you might be wrong about spiritual reality.
Is It Possible You Could Be Wrong?
Ask yourself, has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong? To entertain the idea, we must question our sacred ground’s validity. We must then be able to move past the boundaries of our beliefs. If you can’t give up your holy ground of faith, you cannot move forward.
When you examine your beliefs, it gives you choices. If what you believe is wrong, you can still hold on to them, or you can change or discard them altogether. If you do not examine them, then you miss the opportunity for change and growth.
The skeptical mindset is the hallmark of a healthy mind. Healthy skepticism isn’t pessimistic; it is a prudent approach. Be ready to learn and change. The world is constantly evolving. So, always be prepared to accept new facts, then adjust your thinking to the latest data. It keeps you in a beginner mindset, always willing, and can change your mind based on the facts. Strive to be a beginner and never an expert.
The Beginning of Freedom Confronting Your Beliefs
To help participants in this endeavor, we use a blended learning approach containing a range of experiential and intellectual elements. For example, at the first meeting, we start the process with an experiential component, a basic seated centering exercise, but then follow this with an intellectual exercise to document this experience and delve into the reasons for it. We ask them to list and examine their closely held beliefs, often uncovering the paradox they are trying to maintain.
The challenge is seeking, finding, and confronting data, which provides opposing views to their belief systems. We are not asking them to give up anything. Ask them to examine and weigh the facts that counter their previously held ideas and beliefs.
The reason for this is simple. The more spiritual boundaries and beliefs you have, the less likely you will learn new spiritual processes. You must be able to challenge your sacred ground. You must ask yourself, is it possible that my worldview isn’t correct?
The next step is a comparative analysis, a scientifically based comparative religious study system. It’s a way of comparing beliefs across several religions. It’s a way of asking the question, has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?
Use Emotional Checks
Emotional checks are a strategy to help minimize triggering negative emotions when you encounter ideas that conflict with your beliefs. Any time you engage in spiritual research, we recommend using emotional checks. It’s a process to help you stay as unbiased as possible.
Emotional checks will reduce stress and increase the accuracy of our research. Think of this process as a safety net. It will catch us when we fall into emotional distress. You don’t want to research while in a state of anguish.
Is it possible our ideology is flawed? This emotional trigger cuts deep to the core of our psyche. If we could be wrong about one idea, our beliefs about other things may be inaccurate. A realization like this will shake the foundation of our worldview. When this happens, follow the guidelines to help you regain emotional equilibrium.
Enhance your Critical Thinking
One of the best tools to overcome boundaries of cultural programming is to enhancing your thinking capabilities. The “critical thinking” toolkit includes logical reasoning, the truth-seekers axioms, and spotting logical fallacy. These tools will direct you to conduct your research using sources outside the religious paradigm you hold. You’ll be well on your way to determining fact from fiction.
Then, resist the prejudice and bias in any way that you can do so within your circle of influence. Questioning the cultural narrative takes courage. It is essential to be prudent and safe in your resistance. We may never find absolute truth, but we get closer by discarding human-made fabrications.
Another way is to engage in genuine spiritual exploration.
The catalog of ancient methods for exploring consciousness is what we call spiritual technologies. They are a collection of processes to develop the potential of the mind, body, and spirit. They offer us ways to expand awareness and reach higher states of consciousness.
These tools differ significantly from religion. They do not require faith or belief in any religious doctrine. Anyone can use these processes to develop their full potential. All you need to do is follow the process, and it’s just like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning method. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. They are repeatable processes, and several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include increased brainwave coherence, lower heart rate, and increased skin resistance. Changes like this prove these partitions of consciousness differ significantly from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone can use these methods to create their unique spiritual path, and you can start with any of these methods. The more of them you use, the faster your progress.
You can start with any of these methods. The more you use, the better.
The beginning of freedom begins when you ask the right questions. The hard questions are those that challenge our beliefs. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong? Is It possible you could be wrong? Spiritual exploration is all about getting comfortable saying I don’t know.
“Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Be Wrong.” – Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, Snoopy’s title for a book on theology.
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Are you interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (1). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission.
(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia