J. Krishnamurti on the Silliness of Belief and Labels
For a long time, I gave a great deal of thought to my own personal dogma. I wrote and rewrote my own mental essay entitled, “This I Believe.”
Although I frequently updated and revised my belief system, based on new experiences and understandings, I was always very attached to having beliefs, as most of us are.
Studying the revolutionary philosopher Jiddhu Krishnamurti over the past several years, I have come to a place where I believe that beliefs are a bad thing. Beliefs separate. Beliefs create unnecessary divisions.
Now, it’s a continual process of identifying all the many ways in which I label myself and letting those labels continually drop away.
Here is one of his quotes I find very useful regarding beliefs:
“Belief is not reality. You may believe in God, but your belief has no more reality than that of the man who does not believe in God.
Your belief is the result of your background, of your religion, of your fears, and the nonbelief of the communist and others is equally the result of their conditioning.
To find out what is true, the mind must be free from belief and nonbelief. I know you smile and agree, but you will still go on believing because it is so much more convenient, so much more respectable and safe. If you did not believe, you might lose your job, you might suddenly find that you are nobody. It is being free of belief that matters, not your smiling and agreeing in this room.”
And here’s one on letting go of our beloved labels:
“I see that, as a human being, I am the result of innumerable influences, social compulsions, religious impressions, and that if I try to find reality, truth, or God, that very search will be based on the things I have been taught, shaped by what I have known, conditioned by my education and by the influences of the environment in which I live.
So, can I be free of all that?
To be free, I must first know for myself that my mind is conditioned, that is, I must be fully aware that I am not really a human being, but a Hindu, a Catholic, a German, a Protestant, a communist, a socialist, or whatever it may be.
I am born with a label, and this, or some other label of my own choosing, sticks to me for the rest of my life. I am born and die in one religion, or I change from one religion to another, and I think I have understood reality, God, but I have only perpetuated the conditioned mind, the label.
Now, can I, as a human being, put all that away from me without any compulsion?”
Our beliefs and labels are deep seated and pervasive in our psyche.
Letting go of them is neither quick nor easy. But if you agree that it’s time to move beyond beliefs and toward greater interconnectedness, make it part of your daily practice to acknowledge and surrender your cherished beliefs.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise