Something you Know = Something you Believe (not necessarily THE truth, but rather YOUR truth)
A Fact = Something the Masses Collectively Believe (not necessarily THE truth, but rather the collection of MANY who share the same belief)
Every single word you are reading has meaning only because you believe that it means something. Our definitions are, in essence, a culmination of our beliefs. 1 + 1 = 2 because we believe that it does. Humans also once collectively believed that the earth was flat. Can anyone say with 100% certainty that they know anything to be wholly and infinitely true?
One could choose to raise a child to believe that the color green is what most people consider to be the color blue or that a fork is called an ocean. As long as they adhere to a particular system of definitions and do not allow the definitions or influences of others to bring in new or differing definitions, they will have managed to raise a child that believes it eats blue salads with oceans. If you then introduce this child to the masses, I'm sure he/she would swiftly choose to redefine many belief systems/programs in an effort to secure their social survival and align with the masses, but that will not change the fact that for some period of time that child considered the former definitions as their absolute truth. And for all intents and purposes, it would have been just as true as any other belief structure that anyone else has.
I've been lucky enough to receive a great deal of advice, opinion and feedback in my lifetime. One of my favorites was from an ex-boyfriend. He said, "One of the most important choices you will make in your life will be the people with whom you choose to surround yourself." I know, it seems pretty obvious, straight-forward...nothing supremely deep or profound. It's the sort of thing parents say to their teenager who is hanging out with "the wrong crowd." But upon deeper dissection, it's a gem. I've found it to be of the highest value. Not just in it's surface value, but at the core. Let me explain...
Many, certainly not all, of us have the wonderful freedom of choosing who we spend our time with, how we spend our time and where we spend our time. Those choices, if we believe it to be true, can define how we grow (or stagnate), what we perceive (or choose not to perceive) and/or influence the choices that we make. One might say that the only thing you cannot choose, while in the body, is whether or not you get to spend time with your own mind. For the sake of time, I will not go into how that may or may not be true. Let's just say that for this conversation we cannot choose separation from our mind while in the body. How can one then apply this advice to situations such as this? Shall I endeavor? I think I must!
I don't know about you, but I have many (infinite) parts to myself, not all of which I perceive as pleasant. That is, of course, based on my belief that there is such a thing as pleasant or unpleasant. If I believe there is "pleasant" and "unpleasant" then certainly another belief will follow. When I believe something is unpleasant I often feel that I want to go away from it… And then another thought/belief follows...”I want to go away from this so I can feel pleasant again”...”I want to feel pleasant again because I think I am more likable when I am feeling pleasant.” “I sometimes think that if I am feeling unpleasant, something must be “wrong” with me and that feels bad, too.” It’s a vicious cycle of beliefs and thoughts playing out in my mind. These thoughts are a chain of sequenced programming that I cannot recall having downloaded, yet they emerge one after the other. This leaves me bored, frustrated and feeling imprisoned by my own mind. So, I make an alternate choice that I often enjoy entertaining. What if I decide that all of my beliefs are invalid and that when a belief arises, I can choose to observe it as part of a program rather than an absolute truth? What if I do not validate it or invalidate it, but merely observe it as something passing by? I can choose to have an awareness of my beliefs, thoughts and programming without embodying or acting on them. This practice affords me a bit of expanse to ponder who I am without adhering to a program. I give myself a sort of permission to explore who I am if I choose not to entertain the beliefs that constantly arise in my mind.
Who I am in the moments when I choose to keep no company whatsoever, including the company of my thought structures and beliefs, feels like a far different being than the one who experiences and acts on life in relationship to all of those thoughts. This practice is a sort of undefined, yet deeply resonant, meditation of releasing into being thoughtless-ness. I sometimes choose a similar experience with other humans. I may spend time in their company without choosing to experience them as right or wrong or good or bad.
My ex-boyfriend had something else in mind when he told me that who I choose to spend my time with would be one of the most important choices I ever made. I took that advice to heart with the people I choose to connect with, but I took it a step further in practicing the thoughts I choose to spend my time with as well. This has been one of my most powerful and rewarding practices to date. Negative thoughts may not be as easy to move away from as human beings, but choosing to suspend BELIEF in a negative thought certainly is, and I cannot recommend the practice highly enough!
There is a strange sense of strength and wholeness, as I interpret it, that becomes me when I interrupt the process of defining myself, others or things. I feel free from the insanity of incessant “knowing”. Some have ridiculed me for not rooting myself into more refined forms of belief systems. Many have offered me their certainty that this sort of no-thought/no-ego process is dangerous and will make my life more difficult somehow. I find their belief on the matter to be one of many powerful and volatile definitions, for if it were not, I might choose to believe it too.