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  • Bob Ginsberg

Shackled by Your Beliefs? Here is How to Break Loose

I always need to remind myself why it is so difficult for so many people to believe in things that transcend their physical senses. It is easy to understand when you contemplate how we perceive our existence on this planet. Of course we know from our educators and scientists that we reside on a spinning globe that is rotating in orbit due to gravitational forces. Yet, despite the continuous motion, to us our world has always been stationery, solid, and permanent, a rock that has always been and always will be. Our archaeologists dig up ancient cities, and little has been disturbed by time and motion. We plant roots and they take hold. It’s the one thing on which we can always rely.

However, let’s do a thought experiment and imagine that you are part of an indigenous tribe isolated from the outside world. There is no media, no electronics, and your education is provided by your elders. If I visited you from my country and told you that the earth was round, we were rotating and hurling through space, nothing you see is solid, and man walked on that moon that we see in the sky, why would you believe me? Your own senses provide your personal proof that all of these statements are false. You might judge me as the embodiment of evil, and certainly one who spoke foolishness.

Similarly, why would any of us believe in life after death? Sure, many people have faith that we live on after death based upon religious teachings, but faith based belief is usually more wishful thinking than evidence based knowledge. We are what are physical senses tell us we are. We need to touch, see, smell, taste and hear something for it to be true. Our brains are mere computers that take in physical data, interpret, and react accordingly. Our physical senses provide comfort, safety, and assurance that what we feel beneath our feet is real.

Let’s go back to that indigenous tribe member and further examine his ignorance. He may have a hard time believing that the Earth is suspended in space, but in other ways he might be more enlightened than members of educated societies. His tribal teachers and elders probably did not discount communication with deceased ancestors, the power of dreams, telepathy, and non-physical experiences. What we consider to be paranormal would be simply part of his normal life, and an outsider who did not have knowledge of such things would be labeled and possibly ostracized. Furthermore, tribal medicine likely provided insights that we are only now discovering to be true. So which group has a better understanding of the meaning and purpose of this physical existence?

The modern world continues to reinforce complete reliance on our known senses. Who we are is defined and determined by our educators, scientists, media, friends and family, much in the same way that tribal elders and shamans shape those in their communities. It’s that simple. When it comes to belief systems, we are products of our environmental, cultural and societal influences. When it comes to a belief in life after death we are either imprisoned or liberated by what we are told is either impossible or real. Closedmindedness is a scourge that stifles independent thought and keeps us from recognizing our true nature and potential.

I spent much of my life refusing to see beyond my physical senses. I balked at the suggestion of survival of consciousness after physical death. I snickered at those who deluded themselves with talk about telepathy and other non-physical phenomena. I countered arguments for synchronicity by explaining the reality of coincidence. I won’t even repeat the things I said about so-called mediums, whom I classified as charlatans who prey on the bereaved. Like many before me, my shield of closed-mindedness was pierced by tragedy and trauma. When faced with an event so horrible that it propels one into an abyss of despair, often the result is a search for meaning and exploration as we try to make sense of the unthinkable. In my case, the journey began more as an exercise in wishful thinking. I needed a lifeline that I could grab to gain some air. However, as I discovered more and more evidence, as I widened my horizons to accept the reality of personal experiences that defied my previous thinking, the chips started to flake off from the wall of disbelief and denial.

The lesson I learned is that sometimes belief that comes from outside influences vs. inner knowing can be false and caustic. We hate other people, not because we took the time to get to know and understand them, but because that’s what those around us told us was the truth. We trample on others to gain wealth because we are conditioned to believe that this is the road to happiness, respect and power. We treat those who exhibit love and compassion with a healthy dose of cynicism because we suspect ulterior motives. And the list goes on. Ours egos refuse to accept the notion that we are victims, and we have become shells of what we were meant to be.

We are what we think we are and our boundaries are an illusion. If we dismiss the mindless rhetoric and replace it with independent thought, if we rely more upon instinct and gut reaction and less upon what we are told is truth, if we can transform our tunnel vision with a horizon of endless sight, we can truly move closer to our higher purpose.

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