“John Stuart Mill, the English philosopher, wrote, ‘One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests,’ This is precisely why beliefs open the door to excellence.
“Beliefs deliver a direct command to your nervous system. Handled effectively, beliefs can be the most powerful force for creating good in our lives. … Human history is a history of beliefs. … To change our behaviors, we have to start changing our beliefs.” ~Darrel Knoch
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things began to happen” ~Muhammad Ali
“The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.” ~Richard Bach
The Power of Belief
Belief can be a very powerful force, but not necessarily for good. I have written before about the necessity of ridding ourselves of false and limiting beliefs, but I haven’t mentioned the positive side.
Strong positive beliefs can be very powerful, very beneficial, when properly controlled. It is well known, for example, that many people will be cured of serious illnesses by giving them sugar pills if they believe that the pill is real and they believe in the power of drugs to heal. This is called “The Placebo Effect”. What is not as well known is this: in one study a group was given a placebo and told that it was a drug that had been shown to have remarkable results at healing the disease they had. A second group, with the same illness, was given the same placebo, but told it was an experimental drug and it’s results were unknown. There were a lot more cures by the placebo effect in the first group than in the second because they had been led to believe that it would work.
On the negative side, beliefs that we are limited, not smart enough, not worthy of success, whether material or spiritual, is one of the things most often responsible for failure.
Adjusting Our Beliefs
The solution to this double-edged sword of belief is to replace those limiting, negative, or simply false beliefs, with more positive ones. That is obvious, but doing it is not so easy.
One of the first things we can do is to never stop learning. I mean actual learning which means studying not just those you already agree with, but also those you don’t. You may discover that things you always accepted as true are not, or at least are questionable. And once you open up to new ideas, you really start to learn.
Travel as much as you reasonably can. And not to the same places again and again. Visit different lands, different people with different cultures, different beliefs. And when you do, try to stay where the locals do when possible. When I visited Paris, France many years ago with two army friends, we had to shake our heads at so many tourists from America who stayed at an American hotel in Paris instead of a French one. You can’t learn much about the French (or Greeks, Italians, etc.) by always staying in American hotels.
On the spiritual side, don’t just read the scripture and other approved books of your church. Read those of other churches, other faiths, especially those that have been banned by your church. Very often, the reason a church bans books is because they reveal truths they don’t want their followers to know, or they reveal that many of the teaching of the church are falsely claimed to come from the founder of the faith when they were actually added centuries later by priests and governments seeking to control people.
The final method is to awaken the spiritual faculties using the Light of the Spiritual Sun. again, though, belief matters. If we are materialists who can’t believe in anything beyond the worlds of matter, it would be a waste of time to do these spiritual practices. We have to at least believe that there may be something beyond the physical, and taking in that spiritual Light can help awaken those spiritual faculties (spirit and soul) within us. The stronger we believe it can happen, the more likely it is that it will happen.
So believe, but believe in truth because as the illustration for this post shows, beliefs can be full of lies.