What comes to your mind when you see the picture above?
Nothing is impossible? Must be a photoshop? Or, how cute?
Life is a game of beliefs. Some may even call it a war. A challenge against the elements. If this plant or its seed were a human it wouldn’t be hard to imagine it playing a game of beliefs. A human would probably look up into the skies, check the weather forecast, measure the thickness of the concrete, look for cracks, evaluate whether it’s safe to come out, whether there are other plants already, what season it is, are they going to be weeding soon etc.
But this plant has only one plan. Shoot up if there’s enough light, water, and free space. It too plays a game of beliefs of sorts. But it only has one belief as it were.
How you play the game of beliefs is your own choice. And thankfully so, we might add. A life with only one belief that we love and follow is great, but a life with only one choice of belief to humans would be boring. If there’s no fun, no excitement, no enjoyment, no emotion or something to look forward to with all your being how otherwise could we justify something so frail as our physical existence on Earth.
Whatever we think about the picture above doesn’t really take away or add to the drama of the moment. If we say wow, life is full of examples of impossibles proven possible, and unbelievables turned upside down, we’ll see in us that which can break through concrete of unconscious acceptance of impossibilities in our own lives.
You may say, I don’t want to play. Well that’s a conscious choice we can make, but we’ll still be playing it unconsciously. The game of beliefs is played out on many levels. Starting from a person as an individual, extending over a group, a society, a nation, and to the human kind as a whole. We play our own beliefs against one another all the time. One minute we can be in good mood, the next we’re trying to figure out who’s been plotting against us. Others approve or disapprove of our thinking, words, and actions based on their own beliefs. What’s believed to be acceptable in one country may be an offence in another.
So why play? Aristotle said over 2,000 years ago that our lives only have meaning if we are reaching out and striving for our goals. I’m not sure about goal setting as a purpose of life. I believe living a life that excites and fulfils me while contributing to others achieve the same certainly is. This is far from playing for the sake of playing. But if you find that the game gets stale after a while isn’t it great that we have a choice of beliefs?
Putting aside philosophical opinions, most will agree that all the knowledge and advice in the world simply won’t guarantee fulfilment. Unless we’re consciously following the advice and applying the knowledge, we may find that we’re not getting the results we want. We don’t have to be like robots affirming our goals every minute of the day. It doesn’t help all the time coming up with excuses for not doing anything about it either. If I make myself aware of what I want at least it’s the first step. Play the game and remind yourself. Take this first step as long as it takes until you get to the next step. What’s the next step? Just ask yourself.
Give your brain nothing to seek and it will default to seeking out problems and threats. Someone said that we human beings are capable of thinking about anything we want, but we’re incapable of thinking about nothing. After all, our brain’s job is to keep us alive. Subconsciously our lungs breathe, our hearts beat, and our inner ears keep us balanced. Our brain is in charge of all these functions even though we’re mostly unaware of it.
When we make ourselves conscious of what we want, our brains looks to find a path to it. If we say, brain, this is important to me, it’s life and death, our brains will work hard to keep us alive. All this is of course common knowledge. And we have a tendency to disregard common knowledge. I do it all the time. We’re always searching for new theories, new best-sellers, and novel explanations of the same things that were around 2,000 years ago. We look for new forms of packaging the same content. And that’s the game of beliefs we play.
Seeing too much stuff as common knowledge makes for common lives. It’s common knowlegde, so I don’t care about it?
When we make ourselves conscious of what we want, we turn unconscious belief into conscious belief. And then we can change it. As long as we’re aware of what we believe, we’ll make a distinction between good and harmful beliefs. For example, before going to bed have a listen to some music you normally find annoying, or you wouldn’t listen to or perhaps you used to listen to as a child because your parents played it. Guess what tunes you’re going to wake up humming the next day. Common knowledge, right?
Unconsciously believing in what you want makes you stand out. People might say, you’re in the zone. You’re having a great day. And I’d dare say every person who’s ever been proclaimed a saint would have something to say about unconscious faith. For the rest of us including myself we experience it several times in our lives at best. It’s when you just know something will happen, no matter what. You believe it so strongly that you behave as it’s already true. You know it in your bones, as they say. I wrote about this previously in Trust Your Heart + About.
We can however nurture unconscious beliefs we desire by cultivating our conscious beliefs. Here are some common-knowledge steps which can help strengthen our conscious beliefs:
– Meditate to calm your thoughts and visualise your day before it plays out.
– Write down want you want, describe it in detail and go through it every day at least once.
– Surround yourself with people who will uplift you and engage you in pursuit of your best self rather than discourage you.
It’s important to balance your game and not to be hard on yourself too. I won’t say, accept yourself just the way you are, because you already do, don’t you?
When I was a student of languages an old professor said to me that the best way to learn a language was to immerse myself in a text, movie, or music that makes me emotional and excited. Not just interested. If something is exciting, it will be on my mind, and if it’s on my mind, it will be in my life. And I will have enjoyed that life, just as I’ve enjoyed the medium or activity that made it exciting for me.
We’re not that different to plants after all. We too need light, water, and some space to grow. But we’re also so much more.
Life is a game of beliefs, whether you play it to win or to participate, make a choice to play it for keeps. Keep every experience. Own it. Enjoy.