Breaking Through Beliefs

Synopsis: Breaking Through Beliefs — it’s easy to get caught in the rightness of our beliefs.

We’re down to our last week in Canada, having spent a weekend in Buffalo. We fly to Costa Rica next Monday!
Wayne’s books, related to today’s topic:
This Endless Moment,
Half Asleep in the Buddha Hall
Breaking Through Beliefs

So, this guy I know likes to think he’s the smartest guy in the room. In fact, he’ll go so far as to declare himself so. He also has somehow persuaded his wife to play this game.

He’ll say something, and then look at her, and she’ll go, “Oh! I never thought of it that way! You’re so smart!” or “You sure do know a lot!”

It’s kinda gag-worthy, especially since I know that I’m the smartest person in the room… ROTFL

The other day, he (after 7 beers in 4 hours) told me for a second time in a month or so why he despises the queen. It occurred to me that he was pretty stuck. What I noticed was that his belief system seemed “fixed.” Despite being well-read and knowledgeable, there’s no room for movement in his thinking.

So, maybe we could say he’s smart, but not wise

I see this phenomenon a lot–people getting stuck in a “thought trough.” Somewhere, sometime, they concluded something, and dynamite can’t budge them from it. In relationships, it’s often around rules and roles. Who should do what with which, and to whom kind of things.

It also happens for people in the infamous categories “Mommy told you not to talk about.” Sex, religion, politics. My favourite story here involved a young couple we knew. Both were staunch Baptists; he’d been to Bible College. He’d regularly go off on his view of sin and hell, to which he was sure I was going.


Then, in short order, she got a breast enlargement, and he and she started doing the “hotwife” thing, which Urban Dictionary defines as:

A married woman who has sexual relations with other men, with the husbands approval. Usually while the husband watches or joins.”

Of course, I have no trouble with “hotwives” or any other thing anyone wants to do, provided everyone agrees. My problem is the contradiction between his Baptist rants, and his lifestyle choices. Not very wise.

It begs the question: why is this so hard for us to see? I guess, given the young man’s protestations, that he’s got his Christian beliefs well and truly boxed up, and unavailable for discussion, let alone change. In another sealed box, his sex life, and never are the two to meet.

Same with the first story. He’s got a “queen belief” in one box, and “Catholicism beliefs” in another, and again, there is no room for movement on either of those those. Among others.

These rigidities feel good to us, because what kicks in a certain sense of invincibility. I know what I know because what I know is right, and besides, I know it.

If that seemed redundant, it’s because it is. It’s based upon belief, and that’s one of those difficult things. It’s altogether another thing to recognize how tenuous belief is. Yet, that is where wisdom lies.

I think it’s really important to subject your beliefs and knowledge to the test

The test is, how is my belief going over? How are others reacting to my rigid statements of belief? Such questions allow us to open up a bit, and lightly explore.

In general, I’m actually not talking about changing or denying your beliefs, by the way, although that might happen.

With the “hotwife” guy, there has to be a moment or two where he questions how this fits with his rigid Christian fundamentalism. Because the way things are, there is a huge contradiction. If he notices, he might also notice how he’s keeping those two sets of beliefs separate and segregated; they just can’t live together.

And noticing, he might then take some time to explore the two sets, and see how he keeps them apart. He then might want to look at his Christian and secular views re. sex. And work at bringing them into agreement.

This is the Zen of not knowing

Not knowing is not “not knowing” — it’s being flexible. It’s holding beliefs lightly, and remaining open to the possibility of another viewpoint or two. It’s deciding, perhaps, not to decide — not to hold one’s beliefs rigidly. It’s acknowledging that there are tons of cultural — religious — political belief systems out there, and having a death-grip on any of them is often a problem.

It might even be holding on to your beliefs, yet letting others off the hook — not shoving your views down others’ throats. Becoming more and more comfortable simply being with others, without needing them to believe what you believe, without insulting their beliefs, without needing to judge.

Not easy, especially with one’s closely held beliefs, but better than ending your life having never felt the freedom of just letting go.

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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