topiary cats

topiary cats

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Knowing and Believing

I've come to realize there's a world of difference between knowing something happened, even knowing why it happened, and believing it.  Because when she cut off contact, yeah, I knew what happened.  But it took me a long, long time to believe it.

Some days, I still don't quite believe it.
                                    -from Where She Went
                                     by Gale Forman

You know how sometimes your mind and heart aren't quite in sync?  When your heart is going one way and your head another?  There's the old phrase "Follow your heart"...sometimes that is definitely the right thing to do and sometimes it is definitely not, depending on the situation.  Hearts are funny things.  Well so are minds, come to think of it....

The difference between knowing something (or not-knowing) and believing it can be so vast.  Belief can either be a liberation, a life raft, or the strongest prison.  It can be tricky to sort it all out.  Beliefs can be false; so can knowledge.  Both can also be true. Both can hurt, both can heal. They can both be empowering or dis-empowering.

While both knowledge and belief are strong, I think belief is a little bit stronger.  Minds are much easier to change than hearts. It can and will overrule knowledge. It will hang on long after knowledge has been assimilated.  It will reject solid knowledge if it wants to. Belief is where hope resides, whether it is false hope or true hope. It is also where faith resides.

Here is an excerpt from Mo's column this week:

Hope is that burning ember within us that urges us on, even in the face of insurmountable odds. Hoping for the best is what we do. Those of us with an interest in metaphysics are apt to embrace a philosophy of hope, because we know that everything can change, and often does.

The cycles of nature prove that hope is around us, every moment of every day. The return of the seasons, a withered plant revived, the blooming of flowers in the spring, all teach us that the potential for change is boundless. As long as we can keep our hearts and minds open, we can do almost anything we put our energy to.
Aside from being aware of our beliefs- those we choose and those which are instilled in us- it is important to periodically re-examine beliefs and make sure they are still relevant.  Letting go of beliefs can be scary as it is a falling away of structure- but as we grow in life experience, beliefs can also be outgrown.  It is important to make sure we control our own beliefs instead of letting someone else control and define them for us. I don't- er, believe- in holding on to beliefs just for the sake of them, because someone else tells you to believe, or simply because that belief has always been there.  They can be roadblocks and prevent us from expanding. 

Beliefs can also keep us hopeful in the most irrational of circumstances.

Sometimes I don't know if that is good or not. 


  1. Belief and faith have carried me through some very bleak times, I agree.

  2. Oh, this is a good point...


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