Posted 31 October 2016 by Sal
Prayer and Belief
I went through a really painful experience of letting go of my concept of prayer, meditation, connecting to the divine. It was really painful. I felt like I was letting go a huge part of my life. This must be such an normal part of the process, that we have all of these ideas and concepts that, for me, have given me a sense of being taken care of or having some comprehension that there is a reason, and it's comforting.
Look how many people believe in god, that is exactly why they do, for those reasons you explained. It gives comfort, hope, meaning, purpose, etc. As well as the feeling of being taken care of. And many seekers these days who were raised in a religious culture or family in the west start to doubt that and then move over to more eastern beliefs. Now they derive hope from enlightenment in the future, or nirvana or other dearly held beliefs about spirituality—Advaita, non-duality or whatever their belief is. So in that way, nothing has changed essentially for them; they have just switched to a new set of beliefs. These new beliefs feel exciting and offer new hopes and comforts of becoming in the future. How many people are willing to be free and to stand alone? To be reconciled with the fact that what is, is, and there is no escape? To be willing to be fully human, with all of its joys and pains? Suffering comes from not being reconciled with what is, and instead, arguing with what is. It's understandable to not enjoy painful or unpleasant experiences, no one does. But if one is honest, one must see that that is a fact of this life. This body mind organism does not only experience pleasure; it also experiences pain—physical and emotional.
That's why what you are doing here is not for everyone. It's very mature to want to actually know what is true. We can only see for ourselves, now. Now is where freedom is. Most people are too afraid to lose the known of their beliefs and the sense of security they seem to offer. To stop believing in a perfected future, which includes—enlightenment, Heaven, Nirvana, etc. These beliefs are almost always to do with escape and fear of some sort. I understand that, of course. No one wants to not feel good. So, those beliefs may offer comfort in the midst of unpleasant experiences.
For whatever reason, and we have no idea why, the intention to find out for yourself what is true appeared for you. Because of that, these things I mentioned can be reconciled. And then the suffering that comes from arguing with what is, in the form of avoidance, escape, hope and becoming can end.
It can definitely be painful to have those beliefs fall away, or even be challenged. But it is not something you even need to think about, just keep knowing what is true and those beliefs will just be gone, and you won't miss them.
But you can still have fun with it, right?
Just be honest. Is it fun or is there a belief there, based on a need for security or comfort? You have to see for yourself. You can say it is just fun, but still be secretly harboring some hope that it is true. Only you know that. But there is nothing for you to do anyway. Just by having holidays and a shift of knowing and coming to know something that is essentially true here and now this has happened for you. By knowing this, those beliefs have been put into question and can be finished. You didn't do that, or even let go of it, knowing truth started it and knowing truth will end it. So just keep knowing what is true and whatever goes that is not true will go, without you needing to let go, or do anything at all.