BELIEFS VS. BELIEVING

 


BELIEFS VERSUS BELIEVING



Although the noun, beliefs, and the participle, believing, have the same etymological roots, the experiential reality of each is distinctly different. Having beliefs is not the same as being believing. One can have beliefs or be believing, one or the other, but not both. To the extent one has beliefs, he is not believing; and vice versa. A "true believer"–that is, one fully dedicated to "true beliefs," is non-believing; and, conversely, a truly believing person has no rigid, ultimately right beliefs. To be is to have many flexible, lightly held ideas, and/or personal opinions–mental notions about a variety of subjects, but, and this is the crucial distinction: to have no permanent, unchangeable beliefs.


Beliefs are summaries of "frozen thinking," residue left after thinking has stopped, cold ashes, as it were, after the fire of believing has gone out, or mental notions accepted from others without personal thinking ever occurring.


Believing is the existential experience of living confidently in an ever-evolving world, where conscious thinking (left brain sense-making) is one advanced human possibility among many other older, more powerful right brain-based capacities, but where permanent conclusions, ultimately right answers, eternal truths, are not humanly possible. To be believing (literally, living faithfully) is to move openly, without threat, in the midst of continual evolution, in a world of abiding real change, and only illusions of permanence, occasioned by human perceptions of certain phases in slower processes–like stopped frames of an on-going movie, or pause buttons pushed in a recorded VCR.


In this mode of positive living, believing versus having beliefs, gifted with potential consciousness, that is, the possibility of both sensing and thinking sensibly, feeling and applying reason to emotions, one will naturally form multitudes of ideas about whatever he or she perceives; but always mindful of the larger scope of worldly reality beyond present comprehension–that is, ever-present mystery surrounding all current knowledge, as well as innate limitations of human think-ability or left brain logic, a believing human never assumes godlike omniscience required of jumping to any ultimate and/or permanent conclusions–that is, in biblical terms, "knowledge of good and evil (right and wrong)."


WITH VERSUS IN


Pressing grammatical implications of simple words, we may say that believing is with all things, but never in any thing. One may place beliefs (the noun) in certain images–visual forms (objects or personages) and/or mental ideas, or be believing with (in the presence of) all images (tangible or intangible, physical or mental, religious or secular).


But, contrarily, one cannot be believing in any thing in particular, in any object, image, icon, person, or idea, without ceasing to believe. 


In a play on words, as in a once popular song, a believing person might sing, "I believe in every drop of rain that falls, every flower that grows.....," but the implied meaning is not literally in rain drops or flowers (as distinguished from dirt and weeds), (as "true believers" believe in God), but rather "in the presence of rain, flowers, et al"–that is, in the midst of the natural world.


In summary, believing as distinguished from having beliefs, is existing con-fidently (literally, faithingly or with-faith) in the midst of the natural, perceivable world–including all its ups and downs, vicissitudes both positive and negative, pleasures and pains, indeed, births and deaths. Capable-of-thinking (as well as feeling) creatures, with capacities for larger degrees of consciousness, we may also have a multitude of thoughts (including complex ideas, such as this) about a wide variety of subjects; but, while still believing, or keeping-on-believing, we never form and place beliefs in (or on) any image, physical or mental.


Real believing is with all that is perceivable, but without beliefs in any perceivable thing. 


I seek faith essential for spirit and believing, and nerve for letting go of spirit-stiffling beliefs.


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