There is a freedom in not believing any thoughts. Attachment to beliefs is the origin of suffering. Some people are even ready to die for their beliefs. But why are beliefs so precious for us? What are beliefs anyway?
Assume that you have just arrived home after a day of work. Your mind is full of the story of the happenings of the day, how your boss treated you unfairly and how bad the traffic was on the way home. The only thing you want is to lie down on the couch and tell ‘your’ story to your husband. You want him to listen to you and comfort you. As you start outpouring the intricate details of the happenings of your day, your husband suddenly interrupts you and instead of standing on your side he defends your boss. Immediately, you feel angry and frustrated due to the thought that has just popped-up ‘in your head’, ‘my husband never listens to me’. This single thought triggers a loop of other ‘disturbing’ thoughts; a very familiar and conditioned story that you thought thousand times before. ‘He doesn’t care about me, because if he cared about me he would have listened to me and stood by my side instead of making me wrong.’
‘He never listens to me’ or ‘He doesn’t care about me’ are just conditioned beliefs. Beliefs are nothing more than unexamined thoughts which are believed to be true, to be the accurate description of what IS.
Beliefs are very important for the ‘I’, because beliefs are the building blocks of ‘me’.
The ‘I’ never sees what is, because it always tries to interpret what IS according to what it learned previously, what this or that means to ‘me’. Everything is filtered through a huge web of beliefs before the interpretations and assumptions about what IS arise.
When we are talking and I believe the thought that ‘you never listen to me’, then I stop listening to you. I stop hearing what you are saying, because the thought in my head overrides what you are saying. I cannot hear you, I cannot see you, I can only hear my thoughts I believe about you, and see the constructed image in my head of you. So the belief that ‘you never listen to me’ overrides what is presently here, in the now.
When you say something that contradicts my belief systems, the ‘I’ hears them as a criticism not as a help, because it feels threatened. In defence of my beliefs – which are the building blocks of ‘my’ identity – the mind wants to gather ‘proofs’ to support its existing belief systems, and not to take part in uncovering or destroying them.
And when you interrupt and override me is not just simply a conditioned habit, but a defence. You try to defend your point of view what you believe is ‘your’ self. You are not simply interrupting me; you are literally fighting for your life in that moment, fighting for ‘your’ identity.
Observing, examining and questioning beliefs cut through the attachment to them.
The separate self is ‘made of’ beliefs.
Without believing the content of beliefs, there is no inherent self with volition to be found.