Common beliefs (Tape 41)
When one lives in a given society, one is constantly subject to the suggestions of that society which are its common beliefs. The person who would evolve must be aware of these common beliefs in the society that surrounds him so that he can be aware of all the suggestions that come to him.
Many, many long years ago there was a great teacher, Hermes, who had a school known as Hermes in Egypt. One of his teachings was that one should be sealed from all the suggestions of society. From this came the words "hermetically sealed" which means absolutely sealed, airtight, watertight, vapor-tight, etc. So in order to have ourselves in somewhat of a sealed state so that we are not subject to suggestions, we will be aware of the general beliefs of the people with whom we associate--the ones we live with--the society in which one exists.
We are going to repeat some commonly observed beliefs. They would be too long to take down in detail so they can be put in the awareness, but we can be aware of these beliefs. We will not necessarily recall them all, but by the end of the week as you consider this discussion--at least once each day--one will be rather familiar with them; and one will hear them from many directions. Now they may be said in slightly different words, but it is the idea--not the exact words--that we are concerned with. We will be aware of these ideas that are believed by the great number of people in society. Not everyone of them believes all of these, but they are very, very common; and one will be exposed to practically every one of these in a week. If one should be unaware of them, they may get caught in the belief without checking it out. The belief may even sound logical or reasonable, and if one is slightly "sleepy" at that moment--which means one isn't paying direct attention-one can be caught up in conflict.
But if one is well acquainted with these, they will sound like a bell and will startle one into awakening. Sometimes it is nice to be shocked. It does wake us up. If a person is very sound asleep in bed, sometimes you have to shake him a little bit to get him awake. If one is acquainted with these basic ideas that most people believe, one will hear them. Of course, they are excellent, also, for a little more self-observation--to see if some beliefs are still lurking around.
PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT BUT THEY GO ON AND DO WHAT IS WRONG ANYWAY.
That, of course, is anti-agape. It says that people know what is right but they go do wrong; therefore, they are blamable and they knowingly prevented me. We can see them as unknowingly being second force; and they are acting out their unconscious decisions--their conditioning-and in checking it out, we see that they could do no other thing (which might be LOVE, AGAPE). But most people believe this, and it is repeated endless times through the week to one--that people know what is right and they go ahead and do wrong anyway. That is the whole idea behind that belief.
"I" HAVE CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS THAT CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM ME,
And then these, of course, we have to "stick up for". This is suggested to us from every conceivable side. "I" have rights. "I" have rights in the home, in traffic, in business." "I" have rights in privacy", and I, also, have a few jillion other "rights".
"I" KNOW WHAT OUGHT TO BE AND, THEREFORE, "I" KNOW WHAT IS IDEAL, AND "I" KNOW WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO BRING IT ABOUT.
This is heard over and over: "This ought to be"; "Well, that ought not to be."; "This should be."; "That should not be." Of course, that endless repetition is a powerful suggestion. So it will sound like a bell whenever we hear it--then we are aware of it, so it doesn't come barging in, and we accept it as true.
"I" BELIEVE "I" KNOW HOW TO DO A THING RIGHT such as move, eat, and all the other things. "I" know how to do it, and "I" know how to do it right.
"I" BELIEVE IN GAMING - THAT IS, IN SUPERSTITIONS.
"I" believe that there are all sorts of little things--that if this happens, it will bring in something else. "I" believe that one can really gamble, for instance.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" CAN BE ATTACKED BY DISEASE AND MISFORTUNE. How often do we read, hear, or talk to someone who says so and so has been attacked by influenza, or their appendix has attacked them, or their heart has attacked them, or indigestion has attacked them?
"I" BELIEVE IN LUCK - just happenstance - the whims of luck.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" SHOULD SAY "I" BELIEVE CERTAIN THINGS EVEN THOUGH I DON'T BELIEVE THEM. "I" believe sometimes that "I" believe those things "I" say "I" believe until the chips are down. We may say that we believe that "all is good" and that we believe in many, many things, but when there is a challenge, we will see the run for something else. How often do we see it?
"I" BELIEVE THAT MIGHT MAKES RIGHT. "I" believe that the country that has the greatest power is in the right and that the weak ones are in the wrong.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" AM RELIEVED OF ALL RESPONSIBILITY WHEN "I" CAN BLAME SOMETHING OR SOMEBODY ELSE.
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING "I" READ IN PRINT, IN THE NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES, AND BOOKS (other than novels) IS TRUE.
"I" BELIEVE THAT WE ARE RIGHT, AND THEY ARE WRONG.
"I" BELIEVE IN THE TEACHINGS OF KARL MARX - that one is the product of his society.
"I" BELIEVE IN FREUD - that "I" am a victim of what was done to me when "I" was a child.
"I" BELIEVE IN DARWIN - that we are the product of evolution and that "I" simply can't help being what "I" am; that after all, "I" inherited it.
"I" BELIEVE THAT THE REASON "I" BELIEVE ALL OF THEM IS THAT THEY ALL SAY "I" AM NOT RESPONSIBLE. One says society did it. One says the parents or early teaching or happenings did it, and the other one says heredity did it. So, therefore, "I" am relieved of all responsibility.
"I" BELIEVE THAT GOD IS A MYTH LIKE SANTA CLAUS. - but "I" must not say "I" believe this. (We will have to observe how people act on this one because the greatest part will say they believe in God, but their every action proves they do not. So let's observe this double belief here.)
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE IS A POTENTIAL ENEMY.
90% of them are picking on me now and the other 10% will.
"I" BELIEVE THAT A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF MONEY WOULD MAKE ME HAPPY.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" HAVE NO SUBCONSCIOUS OR CONDITIONED MIND. "I" BELIEVE THAT "I" KNOW EVERYTHING THAT IS IN MY HEAD.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" HAVE FREE AGENCY AND CAN CHOOSE EXACTLY HOW "I" BEHAVE. "I" ALSO BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN MAKE ME MAD OR THAT YOU CAN MAKE ME GLAD.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPECT FULFILLMENT OF ALL MY WISHES WITH NO EFFORT ON MY PART.
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE SHOULD AGREE WITH ME. If they do not, they are just being plain stubborn because, obviously, what "I" believe is true, and they can know it's true, but they want to be perverse - or maybe they are just stupid.
"I" BELIEVE THAT IF BY ANY CHANCE THERE IS A GOD, HE SHOULD BE MY SLAVE AND DO AS "I" TELL HIM. Now, this would not be said, but let's listen to someone pray. There are lots of people who pray in public, and let's see how they phrase it. See if they believe that God is a slave and should do really what they want him to--if by any chance there is a God--according to them.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" AM VERY CAPABLE OF GIVING YOU ADVICE AND "I" ALSO BELIEVE "I" AM CAPABLE OF GIVING GOD ADVICE as to what things should be done, what He should please observe, and what He should not observe.
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYBODY EXCEPT ME HAS TO DIE. No one really lives as though they would ever die. Please observe that belief. They believe that other people are going to die, but they never believe that "I" is going to die. Observe it.
"I" BELIEVE "I" UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING YOU SAY BUT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING "I" SAY OR YOU WOULD TOTALLY AGREE WITH ME. Now, "I" understand all your arguments. "I" understand them perfectly, but you don't understand my arguments, my position, my opinion; or of course, you would agree with me. You simply don't understand - that's your whole problem!
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" AM ALWAYS RIGHT, AND THAT OTHERS KNOW THEY ARE NOT RIGHT.
"I" BELIEVE THAT IF EVERYTHING WORKS OUT WELL, "I" DID IT, AND IF IT DOESN'T WORK OUT WELL, THERE IS SOMETHING TO BLAME FOR IT BECAUSE "I" DID IT RIGHT. So obviously, "I" am entitled to brag when things work out well, and "I" am entitled to complain when they don't, and of course, "I" am not responsible.
"I" BELIEVE THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A UNIVERSAL LAW OF BALANCE.
"I" believe there is such a thing as cause and effect, blame and effect. Cause is another word for blame. You see, in balance no one believes in it because if they did, they would be much more heedful, wouldn't they? Let's observe if anybody has any conception of the law of balance. The law of balance is much like drawing a seesaw board - a teeter-totter game for the kids. You have a sawhorse and a board across it, and there is a child on each end of it. That's the INITIATIVE, the PASSIVE or RESISTANCE, the FORM and the RESULT. If anyone of those four aspects is taken away, the board, the sawhorse, or either one of the kids, there would be no teeter-totter game. Everything in the world seems to work on that great law of four: the initiative, the passive or resistance, the form and the result. So let's observe if anyone believes in balance or do they believe purely in luck and in chance. And while we are at it, let's make a big line under that one because it is well for one to see if one is observing it or is it not in one's self-observation.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" SHOULD APPEAR TO BE LOGICAL, BUT "I" REALLY DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT IT. We always try to get the idea that if it's logical, it's true. So "I" should appear to be logical. But really "I" reacted a little while ago; and now I'm dreaming up a "logical" explanation as to "why" "I" said what "I" did a little while ago. [expressing emotional anger] Let's observe this one and especially observe if it still occurs in I--not with the idea of condemning it or justifying it either in self or others--but in I observing it. So if it still does act up in I--that it is observed and reported to X. Then we will watch X remove that one.
"I" BELIEVE THAT WHEN "I" DIE, "I" AM ANNIHILATED. Nobody says this except a certain very few. Most say they will have a future life of heaven or something else. Most of course, think they are entitled to a heaven. Now, if someone really believed that this heaven was coming up; and that this miserable world here was so terrible--as most people seem to find it when they compare it to the ideal--they would kind of welcome dying to get to this great and glorious place they have talked so much about. But I have noticed that most people do everything possible--and want it done as long as possible--to prevent it death. SO WHAT ONE DOES INDICATES (BY THEIR ACTION) WHAT ONE REALLY BELIEVES, and by their action, we observe a suggestion working. People say they believe they are going to a great and heavenly estate, but they will fight every inch of the way to remain alive. They say to their children, "Be careful, you'll get sick and die". "Be careful, you'll get hurt and get killed!" In other words, everything is seen that death is the most horrible state of affairs possible. It is almost a national phobia! So let's observe this particular one.
"I" BELIEVE THAT THE VERY WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME IS TO BE EMBARRASSED, EXPOSED, OR TO BE SHOWN IN A POOR LIGHT.
"I" feel this is the very worst possible thing, other than death, that could happen to me - and some people even put death second, because they would commit suicide rather than be exposed or embarrassed. It is interesting to observe children being conditioned to consider that embarrassment would be the most horrible thing that could happen. This is a very interesting belief to observe as one goes about. One might notice that one of the greatest difficulties most people have--the thing they spend the most time in thinking about--is the way to avoid embarrassment--being exposed--as being seen in a poor light, or not having an "ideal explanation" for everything they do--that is to say, an explanation that is very logical and reasonable for their actions.
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT ALL RIGHT UNLESS SOMEBODY HATES ME.
Of course, the Great Teacher said, "Leap for joy when somebody hates you because of what you are studying and doing." But you see, the basic thing is that that person hates me; therefore, he will cause me all manner of trouble. We believe in a form of magic--do we not--that somebody's thoughts over there will hurt me? We are like the man who found the crossed chicken feet on his doorstep.
"I" BELIEVE THAT IF IT'S DESIRABLE TO ME; AND THAT IF IT'S FUN OR PLEASURABLE, IT IS EVIL AND IT IS BAD.
It is due punishment.
If "I" enjoy it, it must be bad.
If "I" have it, "I've" got to get rid of it quick, but still "I'm" going to struggle to get it.
This is the conflict.
We have been taught a Puritan ethic - that to really enjoy anything, it is bad (that's on the "B" side), but we still have the struggle of "A" to gain that pleasure. If we gain a great amount of things, we feel guilty; and we ought to give it away--according to "B."
"A" says we've got to get it all again. So here is somewhat the picture of conflict.
You may observe a person who believes that to really have things to use (not to own them, identify with them, or any such thing); but simply to have them is in someway evil. But then it's evil not to have them. So the person is in rather a precarious position. I believe it is said to be between a rock and a hard place.
"I" BELIEVE THAT APPEARANCES ARE IMPORTANT -
that it is important to impress by appearances, not WHAT I AM but how "I" impress people to think about me or to believe about me.
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYBODY SHOULD HAVE A GOAL - SOME IDEAL TO WORK TOWARDS.
"I" think high ideals are very excellent. In other words, we believe from the man-made world that ideals are very great.
"I" BELIEVE THAT EVERYTHING MUST BE PRACTICAL--SERVE A PRACTICAL PURPOSE, OR OTHERWISE IT'S JUST WORTHLESS. One meets this in many places. They can't see any practical purpose in being aware of self. If you can't sell it for so many dollars--nobody will hire it--nobody wants to rent it, and it won't make you more successful; so it just has no value whatsoever. If you belong to a proper organization--now that has a practical value because the right people see you there and they will do business with you.
"I" BELIEVE IT IS WRONG TO BE "SELFISH" - "I" BELIEVE THAT SELFISHNESS AND GREEDINESS ARE THE SAME.
But you see, one can be aware of the VALUE TO SELF AT THIS MOMENT, or the VALUE TO I--THE VALUE OF WHAT IS; but to be greedy is to want more, better and different than what one has at the moment. [from Marsha………he's also explained greedy as wanting it to keep someone else from having it.]
"I" BELIEVE THAT "NOW" WILL BE JUST LIKE "THEN." In other words, then was pretty bad and "I" think that now will be bad; or then was pretty wonderful, so it "ought to be" that way now. We do not believe that every moment is new and fresh.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" SHOULD BE SPONTANEOUS (that's out one side of the mouth), BUT "I" BELIEVE THAT "I" SHOULD PLAN MY WORK AND WORK MY PLAN.
Are those two beliefs compatible, or are they a decided contradiction? One is from "A" and one is from "B." "I believe that I should be spontaneous," and a second later someone is saying, "I believe I should plan my work and work my plan." Incidentally, planning is one of the greatest fantasies going today. It's probably stopping more things--to try to plan the future and make it all just like "I" want it to be; and of course, every moment something may arise that would interfere with it--so "we better get another insurance policy--or we better put more reinforcement around this--or we better reconsider this whole thing and start over from scratch again." And so thousands upon thousands of human hours are spent planning a mythical future--trying to anticipate for every possible thing. THAT IS, OF COURSE, THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF THE AWARENESS OF X IN THAT PERSON.
"I" BELIEVE THAT "I" HAVE FREE CHOICE, FREE AGENCY, OR FREE WILL, BUT "I" BELIEVE A MOMENT LATER THAT IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE A CHOICE BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
Do you see the contradictions? Now, "I" has been observing the self for many, many weeks now; but, you see, there are still hidden contradictions. WE HAVE ONE SIDE OUT, BUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CONTRADICTION IS STILL THERE WORKING. That is why in each discussion for each week we attempt to remind that one will continue to light that lamp - the light of I observing the self. There are many dark corners in that mansion. You know, there may be sliding doors; and in it there are secret compartments--who knows--but somewhere in there is the conflict.
So let's keep looking, and the fact we got one side off, there is a barrier between it and the other one--like those beliefs that are totally in contradiction: "I" BELIEVE THAT "I" HAVE FREE CHOICE, BUT "I" BELIEVE THAT "I" CANNOT MAKE A CHOICE BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES. And a moment later someone comes up with something all together different on that one too.
"I" BELIEVE THAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE HUMAN NATURE.
That's some belief! LET'S HEAR THE CONTRADICTION: "I" believe that "I" can straighten you out, solve your problems, and get you on the right path if you will listen to me and take my advice.
"I" BELIEVE MY BODY CAN HURT ME. I wonder what "me" is? I wonder what it is that "believes?" I wonder what its relationship is to the body?
You see, these common everyday uses of language of possessing and of avoiding responsibility are highly suggestible to all of us. Let's review, review and review again; and then review some more, this bunch of beliefs that are very common in this society in which we exist. We are subject to the suggestions from these beliefs--that some of them may be still lurking somewhere in a compartment hidden behind a nice barrier that kept the contradiction from showing--and they are still operating.