Questioning old values and belief systems has been a big theme throughout my life.
It started slowly at first – the loss of innocence, removing my rose-colored glasses, small shocks to the system.
Over the past few months, it felt like everything I thought I understood was being called into question. Under a much harsher light, I examined old beliefs and ideas I took for granted.
And it’s not just me. Something is happening, accelerating around the world.
A lot of people are going through the same process. They’re taking off their blinders, waking up to new ways of looking at ‘reality’. As old systems crumble, some things become harder to ignore.
For a while, I felt blocked from writing because my perspectives were changing so rapidly. With everything turned upside down, I wanted to first get a grip on my thoughts.
A few of the systems I’ve re-examined over the past few years include:
- Relationships and marriage
- The employment model
- Money and the economic system
- Materialism and consumerism
- What it means to be successful
- The media
- The entertainment industry
- The education system
- Historical events and narrative
- People I trusted and thought I looked up to
- Corporations and organizations I looked up to
- Science and technology
- The medical industry and our health
- The illusion of reality
- Even aspects of my own spirituality!
So many of my ideas were turned completely upside down. Some were a gentle evolution, and others, a shock I did not see coming.
Psychologically, it’s a whirlwind. It’s understandable that people don’t want to question the very foundation of their lives. They get angry when you suggest something that might be outside of their belief system. Of course it’s terrifying to think the world may not be what we thought.
Many are not ready to turn on the lights and look that hard, so I’ll remain vague about the ideas I’ve confronted and instead focus on how we might be able to deal with collapsing belief systems.
Dealing with Collapsing Belief Systems
Denial, Fear, and Gross Curiosity
When the ground is falling from under your feet, it’s normal to try to hold onto control by denying of the facts. You think: “How can this be? This can’t be true. That sounds insane.” You’re shocked and confused.
Then, you might experience fear. Fear for your sense of stability about your future, freedoms, even safety. You might feel helpless or angry.
But as you go down the rabbit hole, I noticed there’s something else at work: a gross curiosity and addiction to the new information. I experienced this. There was a part of me that felt pleased to be informed, seeing that I was more open-minded than before. There was a part of me that wanted to know more so that I could be prepared (for what?). And I felt good because I thought I was awakening from the illusion.
It’s good to be informed – better to be informed than blind. But there’s a point where more information is not productive. You need to stay grounded so you can integrate the information and continue with your life. There’s no point feeding the fear.
As humans, we tend to think and speak in terms of duality. We have concepts like “positive” and “negative,” “us” vs. “them.” Good and evil.
Many spiritual traditions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Sufism, Judaism, and Kashmir Shaivism, discovered that our experience is not separated into a perceiving subject (“I”) and a perceived object (“Other”).
Separation “is a powerful illusion that seems to divide the Oneness of experience into two separate things. With this apparent division suffering is born.” (Rupert Spira, philosopher and international teacher)
In a philosophical sense, nothing is inherently good or bad. We assign a positive or negative meaning to the events in our lives.
The same event can be interpreted by one person as positive, and another as negative. It’s all based on their definition and meaning they choose to assign to that event. You may not understand its purpose in your life right away, and often the understanding comes only when you can look back retrospectively.
When we realize that we’re all interconnected, we’ll see that there is no “them.” We are not victims.
Reality is a reflection of our thoughts and beliefs. And as a world, we all take part in co-creating this reality. Instead of being victims, we must take more responsibility for the circumstances we create – consciously and subconsciously, through both our thoughts and ignorance.
We create “evil” the moment we label something as “evil.” When we see “evil” in the world, is it a reflection of the greed, fear, and ego in all of us? If the world is a mirror, what truths is it trying to tell us about humanity?
Integration and Grounding
When belief systems collapse, it can feel exhausting. I felt fatigued, a sign that I needed to take care of myself and rest.
It’s a cleansing and purging. It’s not fun, but I see it as a necessary process for growth. I was not ready for this process last year, or even six months ago. But I guess I’m ready now, because it came crashing down all at once.
When you feel fear, know that you cannot be destroyed. Inner peace is yours, and your experience in this world is yours for you to create. When you absorb this at the core, it’ll become easier to let the fear wash through you and away.
But as always, your mind will want to keep running around in circles and overanalyzing. I’ve found meditation to be extremely helpful in grounding myself and quieting the thoughts.
With all the contradicting information and misinformation out there, you’ll yearn to know what’s true.
What can you trust, when you’re starting to question your dearest beliefs?
Trust your feelings.
The peace you feel in meditation, the love you feel for close friends and family – that’s real.
Fill your heart with love. Visualize a golden light of peace and vibrant health surrounding you, and extend it to your friends and family. Then, extend it to envelop the world.
Trust the love you feel in your heart – that is truth.
Choose the World You Want to Live In
It’s empowering to know that you create your reality. And when you integrate these new ideas and beliefs, you can choose how you want to view the world that you step into.
The way Charles Eisenstein said this felt right to me:
“I suggest that we choose a belief, and the corresponding psychological state accompanying it, based on how well it aligns with who we truly are and who we want to become. This doesn’t mean to ignore evidence, for quite often anomalous events can show us that our personal mythology is cracking apart, and that we are ready to moult. It does mean to consider how each belief-state feels, what it implies about the world, about human beings, and about oneself. How does it affect the answer to the question, “Who am I?” What needs does it meet? How does it hurt? What emotions does it evoke?” – Charles Eisenstein
Though you may not be able to change your circumstances, you can choose how you’re being and feeling. How do you want to show up in the world? Positive feelings and thoughts will bring to you more positive people and opportunities. And with less stress, even better health.
Choose the world you want to live in. Choose the world you want to believe in.
Many souls are here to help others and be the light during this time of turbulence.
We can extend love to our friends, family, and communities. We can be the light and the calm in the midst of chaos. We can choose peace and grounding over fear.
And we can hold in our hearts the vision for a loving world, which we have the power to create.