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Robert Anthony asks:
"Just what are beliefs?"
"They are the conscious and unconscious information that we have accepted as true."
"Unfortunately, we have accepted and been taught things that are not true, because we have not proven them for ourselves."
"Truth can never be revealed to the so called 'firm believers.' They are too busy telling you everything they already know and refuse to believe anything outside their already existing belief system."
"Anything that contradicts this person's belief system is seen as a threat which must be labeled 'unacceptable,' or 'evil,' and that which suppresses the old traditions which are viewed as 'good.'"
"This person cannot see that the truth--no matter how painful--is by its very nature 'good' and that a lie--no matter how convenient or pleasurable--by its nature is 'bad.' Therefore, to protect his beliefs at all costs, he builds a wall around his world."
"Some 'firm believers' have a tall wall over which they will never look and some have a short wall over which they peek occasionally. Regardless of the height of the wall, however, it only serves to shut out more truth than it can hold in."
"The firm believer does not have the option to change his mind. He can only recognize what is found within the walls he has built around himself which prevent discovery and freedom."
"Belief and faith are not the same thing and should not be confused."
"Beliefs are totally limiting, but faith is limitless."
"Faith recognizes that there is more to learn, discover and know, and that life's quest is to seek to unfold more truth which leads to more freedom. 'With faith all things are possible' (Mark 9:23), but with the firm believer s/he is always "right" and thinks s/he knows the answer."
"Mistaken certainties are things that we are sure are true but which, in fact, are not."
"Mistaken certainties are generally based on wishful thinking, which distorts reality and leads to self-deception. We want things to be as we would 'like' for them to be, rather than as they are. We look at the world through the filter of our beliefs which blinds us to what is real."
"We can only change the world to the extent that we change ourselves."
"We can only change ourselves to the degree that we become aware of our mistaken certainties."
"Most of our troubles are from beliefs and expectations that are not realities. Most disappointments result from realizing that our mistaken ideals were false. The reason this happens is because we have in some way been 'resisting reality.'
"The reason we resist reality and are so reluctant to change is we must face our mistaken certainties of how we thought the world was—what it 'should' or 'ought' to have been."
"It is our present level of awareness then that must be addressed, because we accept, relate, or reject everything in our mental and physical environment based on our present level of awareness. Our present level of awareness is determined by our education, environment, family life, childhood experiences, successes, failures, and religious beliefs."
Dr. Anthony writes:
"Intellectually, we may agree that there are things we believe that are not true, but we almost always feel that our situation is different from everyone else. This causes us to avoid, resist, and if necessary, forcibly reject any idea that threatens our beliefs."
"The major stumbling block to changing our awareness is refusing to recognize that our mistaken certainties have distorted our perception. The person who grows is constantly undergoing a normal, wholesome, process of reorganization, but the neurotic personality clings to fixed beliefs no matter what maintaining a false sense of integrity."
"Real integrity is able to admit mistakes and is open to possible change through a humble viewpoint of one's place in the world. Usually, the only way a neurotic will change is when a major crisis forces him to alter old, self-defeating behavior patterns."
"If your mind has been programmed, or conditioned, to accept false and distorted concepts and values, you will develop a lifestyle to justify them. You will assume something is true, even though it is false, then seeking to 'prove that you are right,' you will proceed to collect only the facts that fit your firmly held belief."
"Our number one priority in life is to increase awareness."
"By expanding our present level of awareness we remove the mistaken certainties that keep us from seeing truth."
"You will become self confident."
"We increase our awareness by ceasing to automatically and arbitrarily defend our personal viewpoints of 'right' and 'wrong.'
"Defending them keeps us from learning new information."
"Begin to ask yourself, 'Could I be mistaken?' If another person held your beliefs, you would be able to be very objective. You would, no doubt, present a convincing case to them why they may be mistaken--learn to view your own beliefs in this manner to be wise--not right."
"You will only find a deep sense of inner security when you fulfill the demands of rigorous self-examination and self knowledge. You will learn more and more truth about yourself and others and develop more and more dignity. The starting point of all change is when we change our dominant beliefs that have been limiting our awareness."
"Outward change only comes after a change from within. By changing our dominant thoughts, or beliefs--not faith--we change our inner awareness and our outward circumstances and their consequences."
While I do not support everything Dr. Anthony believes, I have found that his above observations are true.