When I live rambling, does disorientation make me vulnerable to belief?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.

A belief is just a thought that we adopt as if it is true and that becomes part of the filter through which we see the world, others and ourselves.  Living by drifting means that our attention is absorbed by our involuntary thoughts.

This means that little energy and little ability is left to pay attention or to direct it towards observing internal or external realities, so we devote little or no time to exploring our values, beliefs, judgements etc. 

Therefore we are not very clear about the origin of our values, beliefs and all the other things that guide our actions in a particular direction and with a certain degree of confidence.  I put a simple example to you.  You will no doubt have heard that the Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space, or that a Japanese strike consists of working to excess or that Vitamin C helps to get rid of the common cold. 

We take it for granted that these things are true, we believe them.  We have heard them so many times that we believe in them.  But are they true?

Well, no.  They are false reports spread on social media based on errors or misinterpretations but which then create a niche for themselves and become entrenched in our society.  In the same way we act on the basis of other beliefs that are more deep-seated and less visible to our states of consciousness.

We absorb many beliefs that are not true, and we do it because we do not quarantine them, we do not observe or investigate whether they are true.  So, we can have beliefs about ourselves that hurt us.  Fashion or traditions offer us ideal images to which we aspire in order to be more accepted socially: to be rich, successful, aggressive, shrewd, intelligent, good-looking, responsible, capable, friendly, a great communicator, daring, creative and a long list of etc. that you are familiar with yourself.

Often we try to resemble what we believe is the ideal.  As we do not observe the harm that it does us to take on other people’s beliefs, we swallow them and live by judging ourselves and others in accordance with these beliefs and values that we have bought into through repetition.  Why do I have to be this way or that?

Therefore, living in a way that is distracted by our wandering thoughts corrals us into an acceptance of beliefs without questioning them.  I propose to you that you should observe your beliefs about yourself and investigate the truth about them.  It may be that you have simply adopted them without querying them and that you are hurting yourself by comparing yourself with those ideals that it would be difficult for you to attain.  When we act like zombies we fall into the trap of beliefs.  Keep your eyes open and take care!