There is no end To what a living world Will demand of you… Do you believe? Belief will not save you. Only actions Guided and shaped By belief and knowledge Will save you. Belief Initiates and guides action — Or it does nothing.
Octavia Butler (June 22, 1947–February 24, 2006)
Señor Tao (April 17, 1948 -)
I have written about beliefs before. Beliefs I and Beliefs II. I still believe any belief limits my capacity to grow beyond the confines of consciousness restricted by that belief. Including this belief itself. Beliefs are confining and expansive. Most religious beliefs are easily accepted because they give one hope of an afterlife to combat ones fear of death. From my early childhood I remember being taught to believe in an invisible god. I got down on my knees each night before climbing into bed asking this invisible superhuman, as I was made in his image he had to be greater than me therefore superhuman, to keep my soul, whatever that was, and praying that if I should die before I wake to take my soul. I was afraid to go to sleep thinking I might die before I woke up. I trained myself to wake up periodically during the night to make sure I was still alive. To this very day I still do not sleep through the night. A belief can be damaging or beneficial especially to a young mind.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my Soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my Soul to take
How many of us as children experience true trauma upon learning it was our parents who put gifts under the tree and not Santa Clause or that the dime placed under my pillow when I loss a tooth was also placed there by my mother and not the Tooth Faerie. Fortunately I outgrew these beliefs and at the same time developed doubts about all beliefs. I respect those who have strong beliefs either religious, social, personal or political. I only ask to be respected equally for my beliefs or lack thereof also. I will admit beliefs are important in the formation of ones personal mythology but no belief will save any life from dying if that is the promise of a belief. A belief is not a matter of truth and is often stronger than truth. Beliefs gain power in numbers and the strength of the group who believes the belief. Thirty percent of the worlds population is Christian. I question whether it is due to the belief itself in god or the use of military force and missionaries, as in the case of South America, to force people into conversion.
A belief can also be a source of comfort to the believer. My mother was raised and then raised my brother and me in the Baptist faith. Yet in her late sixties she converted to Jehovah Witness. She still had the same god, except she now referred to him as Jehovah instead of God. Her god has a name. She adopted a different set of beliefs. She no longer celebrated holidays. She attempted to recruit others to her belief because she believed in her new beliefs so strongly. Mom would send me copies of WatchTower and other publications with a brief note addressed to her “little heathen.” I am proud my mother found something to believe in so late in life. I know her beliefs made acceptance of her own death easier in many ways. Her belief and faith in Jehovah gave Mom an inner peace during her later years. For Mom, her belief was expansive
As the beginning of my seventy-fourth year of existence approaches this month, I once again find myself in the deluge of my own self examination. A yearly cleansing and filtering of my beliefs. What beliefs do I still carry with me? Fewer than before. Have they served me in good or vain over the years? A bit of each I would say. What beliefs have I let go of? Well, definitely Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, but I still believe in faeries, dragons and the boogyman. I still howl at the full moon. They are integral characters of my personal mythology. They are representative of the yin and yang within my essence. Forces opposed yet each containing an element of the other spinning in unison the webs of my life.
I believe in the essence of me. I believe in love, in the power of poetry and words, the wonder in the eyes of a child, the hope and resiliency of life, the beauty of clouds, the endlessness of the universe, a world in a grain of sand.
What a Life I Live!!!