In Living Deliberately, I briefly outlined the content of four types of belief system: Type One contains mostly dogma, indoctrination, and controlling beliefs. Type Two contains common sense beliefs. Type Three contains scientific, fact-supported beliefs, and Type Four contains intentionally created beliefs, or what you know as primaries. Today I’m going to talk about the intentions that are involved in each of these four types of belief systems.
First, what does it mean to believe? If you trace the word back to its roots you’ll find that it means to be comfortable with or satisfied with. The belief that a person in a Type One belief system is comfortable with and satisfied with is not always the same thing that a person in a Type Three belief system is comfortable with and satisfied with. We have an idiom in English for that: Different strokes for different folks.
When I say, “I believe you,” what am I saying? I’m saying that I’m comfortable with what you told me, or that I’m satisfied with what you told me. Truth and efficacy are not necessarily factors of why I believe something. Some truths are very uncomfortable, and hard for me to believe. Some lies are easy for me to believe because they make me feel comfortable. If you tell me that my mistakes are not my fault, it’s easy for me to believe.
If you tell me that my mistakes are my responsibility, that is uncomfortable and I would rather not believe you. I find it a little bit of a revelation that belief has more to do with comfort than it has to do with truth. Any effort to find truth will likely take you out of your belief comfort zone.
If you said to me, “Hey there are three elephants in the parking lot,” and it’s a totally made up story, how am I going to process it?
Part of my mind goes, “Wow, that’s unusual-three elephants in the parking lot!” Then another part of my mind says, “Well, it could happen.” When we were at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, the Ringling Brothers Circus was moving out as we were moving in for the Wizards Course. The Ocean center has a large freight entrance that they call the Elephant door. As the soon as the elephants went out the Elephant Door, our sound truck drove in the Elephant Door. Five minutes sooner and the elephants and the wizards would have run into each other. So I’ve had that experience, and when you say, “Hey there are three elephants in the parking lot,” I check my experiences and decide, “Yea, that could be true. There could be three elephants in the parking lot.”
In a type one belief system, “Yea. It could be true,” amounts to verification.
So I believe your story, because it could be true. And I even pass the information on to someone else, “Hey Miken, did you know there are forty elephants in the parking lot.”
Now, I have been known to tease Miken occasionally, April Fools’ Jokes and that sort of thing. So she’s going to receive my story about the forty elephants in the parking lot with some skepticism. It doesn’t feel comfortable to be fooled. “Sure, Harry,” she says.
“Would you believe three elephants?”
“Maybe.” She is checking her experiences to see if it could be true.
And as long as she’s checking to see if it could be true, I tease her: “And one of the elephants stepped on your car?”
The intention behind a Type One belief is to be right. A person in a Type One belief system will find this belief very comfortable: “I am right and they are wrong.” This is the intention that leads to war and strife. It sets family against family, and neighbor against neighbor. “I am right and they are wrong.”
Type One believing is more or less taking an inventory of your memory and determining the plausibility of some statement. As long as you come up with, “Yea, it could be.” And the source of the information is making you right, you will be persuaded. Persuasion in a Type One belief system is based on the emotions connected with being right or being wrong. That is the Type One process of believing: someone says something; it sounds plausible; and you get this little emotional surge because what you suspected was right is really right or what you suspected was wrong is really wrong. This is also the formula for getting elected by a large group: say something, make it sound plausible, and stimulate some righteous emotion. Most political platforms consist of Type One beliefs.
Ok, lets move up a level to Type Two belief systems and see what it means to believe there.
With Type One believing, you checked the record to see if a statement was plausible, but with Type Two believing you don’t have to check for memories because you already know. You know without looking. Knowing has more certainty in it than remembering.
How many times do you have to experience a cause and effect sequence before you know? How many times do you have to repeat an action, always producing the same result, before you can say that you know without looking what the result of that action will be? That is a Type Two belief.
Type Two beliefs are common sense and there is really no effort involved in believing them. You just know. If someone tells you they dropped an object and it fell to the floor, you’re going to go, “Doh! What did you expect?” You don’t have to check to see if it is plausible, or if the person is making you right, because you know that dropped objects fall to the floor. The belief is transparent. Now, if someone were to say that he dropped an object and it fell up and hit the ceiling, you’re not going to feel that your rightness is threatened, you will just consider that the guy is some sort of whack-job.
The intention behind Type Two belief systems is to conform and act rationality. And in this case, rationality is based on transparent beliefs that everyone pretty much agrees on. If you want to persuade someone of a type two belief, you appeal to their sense of conformity.
OK, lets move up another level to the Type Three believing process. If you want to experience a complicated believing process explore a Type Three belief system. The intention behind Type Three belief systems is prove it. You are going to persuade by presenting facts that support your theory, and disputing facts that that don’t support your theory. There is still a shadow of the urge to be right from Type One.
Type Three is the realm of physical sciences, …and facts, …and hypothesis, …and propositions, …and suppositions, …and theories, …and especially, measuring devices. Did you know that there are measuring device to measure how accurately other measuring devices measure? It’s a fact.
The mantra of the Type Three believing process is, “What evidence do you have for believing that?” A large part of the Type Three believing process is arguing over evidence. And the only way of settling a Type Three argument is with measuring devices. And even that doesn’t always work.
The Type Three process of believing is a factual investigation of the perception of a reality, which, based upon transparent beliefs, is assumed to be real.
For example, two Harvard psychologists discovered that when a 110-volt shock is applied to right side of a rat’s cage, the rat moves immediately to the left side of the cage. From that experiment they were able to conclude that rats are intelligent enough to avoid being shocked. After the experiment, one of the psychologists accidentally stumbled and touched the live electrodes. Responding to his screams the other psychologist, instead of moving away, grabbed the first psychologist and both of them were so severely shocked that they required medical attention.
Proving that a rat is smarter than two Harvard psychologists. Type Three beliefs are based on scientific evidence, which is based on measuring devices, which measure something that is assumed to be real. Science doesn’t so much extend the frontier of human experience, as it extends backward from the frontier of human experience. Anyway, even with its shortcomings, I’m a big fan of Type Three belief systems because that’s where you find the best power tools and heavy equipment. Why travel across space by changing consciousness when you can ride in a rocket ship? Come on.
The Type Three believing process is a maturation of the Type One believing process, and the Type Two believing process falls somewhere in between.
So here you have the evolution of the believing process. You have a linear evolvement of child, adolescent, adult. And you might think, that’s it: superstition evolving into the scientific method. Where else can you go?
Have you ever noticed when a process is close to reaching perfection that there is often a sideways step that opens a whole new vista? We don’t just evolve linearly, sometimes we mutate sideways. When the electronic vacuum tube had evolved to near perfection, there was a sideways step into the transistor. When propeller driven aircraft had almost reached perfection, there was a sideways step into jet propulsion. When reptilian scales thickened and reached their maximum insulation value, there was a sideways step into feathers. And feathers, which were developed as protection against the cold, took a sideways step into flight.
Avatar is a sideways step into a Type Four belief system. The intention in a Type Four belief system is to create deliberately. This sideways step is what makes Avatar different from other practices.
Many people – positive thinkers, inspirational speakers – have speculated that you could create an experience simply by believing in it. In fact, many contend that that is really what people are doing all the time.
The crux of a Type Four belief system is that the process of believing comes before the process of experiencing. Type One, Two, and Three belief systems look at past experiences to determine present believing. Now we’re talking about a paradigm in which present time believing determines future experience. This really reshuffles the deck.
The whole concept of believing in something because you are comfortable with it goes out the window. Because you cannot be comfortable with something you haven’t created yet. The definition of belief in a Type Four belief system is closer to “create forward” than it is to “be comfortable with.” The whole believing process has changed.
Section II of Avatar is a demonstration that belief can create experience. It is quite revolutionary.
The believing process has taken a sideways step, from passive observation and deduction about what already existed in the past, into an invitation to create what you would like to experience in the future. When you learn to do this, not just talk about it, the skill is priceless. You learn how to create a belief with enough certainty that the experience actually arrives. Wow!This Avatar walks into a bar and says, “Things always work out for me.”
And the Type Three scientist, taking out his power-measuring device-which also samples and weighs-says, “Do you have any evidence to believe that things always work out for you?”
The Avatar says, “Nope. Things just always work out for me.”
And the Type Two rationalist, carrying a whole list of secondaries, says, “Do you have any reason to believe that things are going to work out for you?”
The Avatar says, “Nope. Things just always work out for me.”
And both the Type Two and Type Three get very agitated. “That’s crazy,” they say. “Totally delusional, unproven, unsupported, no confirmation, unjustified, you have no evidence or reason to believe that.”
And the Avatar says, “Not yet.”The Avatar has realized that basing her beliefs on the past is like driving a car by watching where you’ve been.
With the Type Four believing process, we are talking about awakening source beings, who within a very broad parameter, can make primaries that re-structure their own mind and create future experiences. That is a concept that may take some getting use to: a source being who can
re-structure his or her own mind. Is your mind controlling you or are you controlling it? If you are entirely new to this concept, the first question you need to answer is, “Whom does my mind belong to?” And the next question is, “Who decides what I believe?”
Do past events of the physical universe control my mind, or do I control my mind?My mother, bless her heart, could sometimes be an impatient woman. Was your mother ever impatient with you?
My mom would say, as I hovered in the doorway with snow blowing into the kitchen, “Either go out or stay in.” This of course, presented me with a problem. Should I go out? Or should I stay in? And finally, as I stood there with the door open, snow blowing past, my mother would give her final direction: “Make up your mind. Or I’ll make it up for you.”
Make up your mind, or I’ll make it up for you. That is pretty much what the universal mother is saying to us all. Make up your mind, or I’ll make it up for you. So who is making up your mind? Is the universe making up your mind? Is the past making up you mind? Or are you living deliberately, and making up your own mind?
How much avoidable suffering can you save yourself from in the future by re-structuring your own mind today?
When people really understand the consequences of what you are doing here, they will drop everything to do Avatar.
Millions of people are trapped in comfortable beliefs that will continue to self-sabotage their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their health; and they are blaming events that they believe they can do nothing about. That is called victim consciousness!
So discovering that most difficulties are the result of your own comforting beliefs, and that you can do something about them, is a huge step. It is a discovery that requires effort and courage to confront. You can’t become a basketball star by reading about basketball, and you can’t become an Avatar by reading about Avatar; you have to do the training.
Reprinted with permission from Star’s Edge International. This article appeared in the Avatar journal Summer 2007 Volume 21, Issue 2. Avatar is a registered trademark of Star’s Edge International.
For more information on Avatar visit: Star’s Edge International
It will look like this: Make Up Your Mind