Before we dive into how we create division when we take our beliefs seriously, let’s start with an exposé on beliefs in general.
Have you heard of ‘limiting beliefs’ before?
These are a central consideration in what I call the unwellness industry and are considered unhelpful (as opposed to non-limiting, helpful beliefs).
All kinds of coaches and healers and teachers and guides have told me about how to let go of my limiting beliefs.
No one invited me to question the very decision of taking my beliefs – ‘limiting’ or not – so seriously.
No one let me know that my beliefs – ‘limiting’ or not – are based on my past limitations.
No one talked about how being motivated by beliefs – ‘limiting’ or not – is essentially steering me into mediocrity.
This is how each of us (myself included) – knowingly or unknowingly – can uphold systems of harm. We buy into a way of thinking because it appears to be the only option.
Enter: The current state of the world.
The following may not be a popular take, but I’m not here to win any contests.
My Conclusion: The division that is being experienced in the world is rooted in the way we think. Therefore, you can be both the problem.. and the solution.
Anyone born into a colonial framework has been raised within the Western Tradition of thought. This way of thinking teaches us to be Believers – people who identify with their experiences, people who appeal to authorities.
Examples of authorities: doctors, governments, celebrities, influencers, etc.
read more about The western Tradition of Thought that forms the basis for imperialism and colonization here
As it turns out, there is an alternative to being a Believer; you can choose to be a Researcher.
Researchers employ a systematic process that allows them to relate responsibly to the data they are observing.
Relating responsibly to data could look like having an educated guess and undergoing a method to confirm or deny that guess. This process can create opportunities for collaboration.
Relating irresponsibly to data could look like starting with a belief and finding evidence that supports it as a way to confirm it, or finding evidence that contradicts it as a way to deny it. This process can create opportunities for division.
So if you catch yourself blaming something external to you for the division that you are experiencing in the world, my invitation to you is to notice whether you are creating that division by occupying the space of the Believer.
And if so, you might choose to start practicing interrupting that way of thinking/system of division within you.
A great place to start: study Yoga philosophy!
read more about what yoga really is here
Yoga philosophy offers a 2000 year old blueprint to becoming a Researcher by outlining a method for relating responsibly to your experiences.
Yoga leads with harm interruption and follows with a radically procedural approach to living life that invites you to consistently challenge past limitations and consistently (re)determine and own your values.
This has nothing to do with beliefs because there is an understanding that BELIEFS ARE CONTINGENT and therefore do not serve as effective drivers for a life of liberation.
Yoga originates from the South Asian Tradition of thought and it is a healing salve for – and critical response to – what we are collectively experiencing right now.
Just make sure you are learning the philosophy from a Researcher and not a Believer!
How can you tell the difference? Notice if someone is teaching you (a) WHAT to believe about the data of your life, or (b) HOW to relate responsibly to the data of your life.
The difference: empowerment, choice, and self-responsibility.
In practice and solidarity,