Beliefs is such a major topic that this will be an introductory post, touching on basics and a few key points. All of Seth’s books are essentially about beliefs—both conventional ones and new, intriguing possibilities—and about how we create our individual and joint belief systems and how to change them.
I define beliefs as our thoughts, both generally and specifically, about ourselves, others, and the world we live in. Our beliefs form our value judgments and shape our behavior.
Seth’s succinct definition is “Beliefs are thoughts reinforced by imagination and emotion concerning the nature of your reality.”
(Quote from The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 623, Chapter 5, Page 84)
We each have our own intricate belief system that creates our individual experience of the world. And since our experience reflects back our beliefs, they become “self-proving” in a circular way, which can make them appear to be facts, rather than just beliefs.
The challenge, then, is to become aware of what our beliefs are and reassess them for their validity and value. This reexamination gives us the opportunity to change beliefs that are limiting and unconstructive to ones that are life-enhancing and supportive. Conscious awareness of our beliefs also brings to light conflicting beliefs, as well as conflicts between desire and belief. Conflicting beliefs will create problems or a stalemate until the contradictions are resolved. And whenever there’s a conflict between desire and belief, results will follow the belief, rather than the desire.
We start life with self-affirming, joyful beliefs that celebrate our uniqueness.
“You were born with an in-built recognition of your own goodness. You were born with an inner recognition of your rightness in the universe. You were born with a desire to fulfill your abilities, to move and act in the world. Those assumptions are the basis of what I will call natural law.
You are born loving. You are born compassionate. You are born curious about yourself and your world. Those attributes also belong to natural law. You are born knowing that you possess a unique, intimate sense of being that is itself, and that seeks its own fulfillment, and the fulfillment of others. You are born seeking the actualization of the ideal. You are born seeking to add value to the quality of life, to add characteristics, energies, abilities to life that only you can individually contribute to the world, and to attain a state of being that is uniquely yours, while adding to the value fulfillment of the world.”
(Quote from The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Session 862, Chapter 9, Page 253)
We immediately begin acquiring other beliefs from our families, especially our parents, and later, from the society we were born into.
As Seth explains, “This acquiescence to belief, then, is important in the early stages as infant develops into child. This sharing of mutual ideas not only protects the new offspring from dangers obvious to the parents; it also serves as a framework within which the child can grow.”
But Seth also adds a very important point, “There is no reason, though, for an individual to be bound by childhood beliefs or experience.”
(Both quotes from The Nature of Personal Reality, Session 619, Chapter 4, Page 57).
To evolve into adulthood and a fulfilling life, beliefs need to evolve, or they’ll become too restrictive. Beliefs that are no longer serving us, and perhaps are now harming us, should be discarded and/or replaced. Being able to modify a belief system is fundamental when it comes to supporting the changing needs and growth of the individual.
Structurally, a belief system consists of interwoven core beliefs, defined as strongly held, generalized blanket beliefs about oneself and the world. Many of these core beliefs come from childhood, although significant experiences in adult life can give rise to additional ones. These core beliefs attract multiple subsidiary beliefs that both refine the core belief and expand on it.
Beliefs create expectations and emotions. Our imagination and ultimately, our experience follow. Habitual thoughts help reinforce our beliefs. All of these things—emotions, expectations, imagination, experience, and habitual thoughts—along with thinking a belief is a fact, are potential areas of resistance to changing beliefs. Different beliefs can have different types of resistance. For instance, a core belief is likely to have strong emotional associations attached to it, while a subsidiary belief may simply be an unexamined, habitual thought. So changing different beliefs will require different methods, depending on the strength of the belief and the areas of resistance involved.
With life’s focus being mostly on the external world, the inward concentration and honest self observation that are necessary for discovering and working with beliefs can seem daunting and even self-indulgent. Discovering my own core beliefs and understanding all their ramifications is still a somewhat erratic, convoluted process, mostly because of the multi-layered complexity of belief systems. And some of my most troublesome beliefs are taking a concerted effort to change. But this new approach based on the Seth books gives me more hope than anything else ever has. I believe that it is definitely having, and will continue to have, a positive impact on my life. It just feels right for me, even when I recognize it won’t be right for everyone.