Written by Christopher Luard of Such Sweet Thunder
I wrote this a year ago, just after the election. As I have never witnessed a country so divided as
the current USA, I feel this writing is more pertinent than ever.
From my recent observations, there is too much identification with personal beliefs in America. If
we identify with our belief systems, when those beliefs are challenged or opposed, we feel as if
we ourselves are being attacked. Then our defenses come up or we attack back. When this
occurs, healing cannot take place. Healing and coming together as a country can only happen
when we realize we are not our beliefs. So how do we free ourselves from this attachment to a
belief system. Our beliefs seem to be a part of who we are. For some, belief indeed seems to be
a foundation of their personality. We can begin to recognize when we are attached to a belief
system when we feel “must be this way, cannot be that way.” When we can recognize that
thought, we can be sure a belief system is functioning. Perhaps unconsciously, but this practice
is about making unconscious behavior conscious.
When we are trying to force a situation or a point of view or an argument into a “must be this
way, cannot be that way” what happens in our body? Is there a tightening in the abdomen? In
the throat perhaps? Do your hands clench or get sweaty? Do you raise or lower your voice in a
particular way? Perhaps your shoulders get tense. What happens in your emotions? Do you feel
anger? Sadness? A particular dissonance emotionally? If you allow your thought process to
grow quiet and really feel the body and mind and heart while holding a belief system, you will
recognize that the clinging to a belief itself has a particular flavor. A particular sensation,
regardless of the belief. When you learn to recognize this flavor, you will know that you are not
the belief but the timeless awareness which needs no belief or defense, and which knows no
fear. You are ion the deepest sense that which “weapons cannot cleave and water cannot wet”
as the Bhagavad Gita so beautifully describes.
The idea behind the questions listed above is not to find answers to the questions themselves,
but allow the questions to guide our awareness, thus creating an opportunity for us to become
very intimate with how holding a particular belief system feels in our mind, body, and heart.
Beliefs are simply ideas which are given to us from various sources. (Cultural upbringing,
school, parents, social media, religion, Etc. ) Beliefs are nothing but a collection of ideas which
we cling to and derive a sense of identity from. But deep down we are so much more than that.
When we relinquish attachment to our belief systems, we can allow the opposing view to arise
without feeling the need to defend our own view. When we recognize that we are indeed the
Spirit which experiences a belief, rather than a persona composed of beliefs, we can see the
Spirit behind the belief in others. Working from that place, true compassion and healing may
arise. There is no us and no them, only we. If we carry that forward, all of the division in America
will whither. It has no choice.
Check out more by Christopher Luard at www.suchsweetthunder.org