When a child learns to walk, she sometimes falls and gets up again, over and over again until she stops falling. Yet, we never talk about or think about the falling. With our eyes focused on our goals we keep that image and keep on moving. Yet moving towards a goal involves taking detours, getting lost, and sometimes even changing the destination. Once again, this flexibility is not taught enough. Getting to the original destination is celebrated and acknowledged; losing your way is not. Falling in love is cheered on while falling out of love is judged to not be ok, especially if a marriage or a commitment is involved.
It is all of these beliefs that define our experiences in life. We have defined and controlled every thought and action. In fact, it was handed over to us by our parents, our schools, our leaders, the media, etc. We repeat each belief in our words, thoughts and actions and perpetuate them. We hand them off to the future generations. They become solid, impenetrable, and assumed to be truths.
Something goes “wrong”, we lose a job, a house, a partner, and those beliefs do not comfort or support us. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to do with anything going wrong. You wake up one day and decide you don’t like your life, your partner, your job, your house, etc. You decide to make a change, but your beliefs do not support your decision. What do you do?
Many do nothing, they keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves, they lie to themselves and pretend that everything is ok or that this is life, you can’t have everything (convince themselves by repeating more beliefs). Some people make the changes anyway. In the process, they alienate some, worse yet, they alienate themselves, they feel guilty for going against their beliefs and try their best somehow to make up for what they see as a wrong turn. In other words, even though, they’ve gone through the motion of making the change, they don’t believe that they did the appropriate thing, and so they suffer. This kind of change is not sustainable and certainly not pleasant.
Real, sustainable and deeply satisfying change can only happen when you truly let go of old beliefs. These beliefs are only half truths anyway. The child who learned to walk did so despite falling, yet falling was part of her experience and denying it or ignoring it did not make it go away. We are so afraid of even suggesting the possibility of the opposite of that which we hope to achieve as if such thoughts do not exist or have power over us. It reminds me of an old aunt I had who refused to utter the word cancer in case she contracted it! Life is full of a spectrum of experiences, good, bad and everything in between. Holding on to the positive end of the spectrum electrifies the negative side, that’s how duality functions. If we are truly interested in going beyond duality, we have to be willing to experience the whole spectrum without resistance. We have to let go of our judgments and beliefs. Simple, but not easy!
What are some beliefs you are willing to let go of? What if there was no right or wrong? How will you live an expanding life outside of duality?