For some time, I’ve struggled with the concept that the dimension I experience as “real” may be other than what I believe it to be. I’ve struggled with such concepts as oneness, infinity, God or gods, and etc. What to believe?
I used to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and in One True God. All intending to make my life better somehow. Now I don’t know what to believe. Of course, my dilemma doesn’t stop me from considering all possibilities. About the only thing I’m certain about is uncertainty. I like the adage, “Believe in nothing, entertain notions.”
I’m currently entertaining the notion that the universe as I perceive it is merely a representation of what I believe – a map. I always know exactly what I believe because it is always presented to me in a hierarchy of belief I sense as my reality.
Mapping My Hierarchy of Belief
This map presents itself in a hierarchy of belief that closely tracks to Degrees of Illumination:
- Separateness – Law of the Jungle – in which I must compete with “others” for limited resources. The map IS REALITY.
- Defense – I must protect my belief map as right, justified, and/or proper.
- Recognition – I begin to question that my map is reality. “Maybe I don’t know for sure?” – with a strong rightness bias, I’m likely to drop back into defense through justification.
- Surrender – I accept that my reality may not be right, justified, and/or proper. It’s okay to not know.
- Meaning – I recognize my reality as a symbolic representation – a map! I’m curious about and seek its meaning.
- Realization – I differentiate the map from the territory it represents in order to bring them together and combine them into one meaning. I stop burning my map as fuel and start reading it with intent to understand! Enthusiasm grows as I recognize the meaning of the symbols on the map.
- Integration – I appreciate the meaning of the map in the territory it represents. I consciously integrate the map maker and the map reader into ONE UNDERSTANDING- the X that marks the spot where searching and defending stop.
To get me started, I might notice people and groups around me that represent to me my competitiveness. It’s okay – it’s just a belief. Perhaps noticing that my perception of competition in “others” shows me MY competitive nature may crack open the treasure map.