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Examining Long Held Belief Systems

Updated on November 30, 2012

We all begin at the moment of birth exploring the world around us and trying to make meaning in it. Our parents, without whom we we not be here in physicality, show us the world from their vantage point and create an "agenda of sorts" for us all. For it is they that decide what is most important to teach us, they who direct us toward our spiritual or religious belief, or lack thereof. From that starting point, we then are instructed to listen to our teachers, our elders and to learn those values inherent in our culture and society.

If we live in the United States or Canada, we understand thing from a different vantage point than a person living in the Middle East, Russia or China. We even may have difficulties within our own country of origin if we are introduced to a different area of that world. There are many beginning points and varied twists and turns on the roads we travel. Even members of the same family can grow up to be diametrically different, one may not do well in school for instance, but is great at a manual craft. And then there are those who have difficulty with relationships, or addiction issues all stemming from their individual experiences.

Is it any wonder then that when students leave home and go out on their own for the first time, that they find the entire "oyster" to be so overwhelming? Parents can have had influence on them for so long and they did not even realize the impact on every single part of their lives. We all accept that we are who we are from choices we have made, but many times we have not chosen to be a certain religion or political affiliation, it is more as though it is an inherited way of life.

It is rather interesting that young people never question their decisions when it comes to their choices about things in the world, but they often go through a rather testy time with their parents about other things. It is not until they are faced with those big questions that adults must winnow in their lives that they begin to see they have been willing participants in allowing others to influence their paths.
One of the other more interesting things they DO choose is their sexual preferences, and in doing so at times, meet with disdain and condemnation by their parents.It is almost as if the universe conspires (for instance) in giving a gay child to a homophobic family. The focus of being gay centers on ones sexual identity for the most part, and not ontheir choice of career, or fashion sense. This appears to limit the parents ability to cope if they are not so inclined. Changing ones religion comes with some rejection in some families, but not as much as the idea the son or daughter "leans toward" this lifestyle. One can choose a religion and change it later, if they so choose, but being gay is not really a choice. It is biological.

When students come to classes in college, they appear to be confused when they are given the opportunity to think for themselves. The modus operandi of their lives has always been for them to obey, memorize or go along with the status quo, or be labeled an outcast for having a differing view. We have seen the direct results of being ostracized is evident by the many shootings that have taken the lives of others, who they deem to be bullying or teasing them . Some parents have gone as far as to homeschool their children to protect them from not only the outside violence of the world, but any ideas that not mesh with their own. This usually makes the child less inclined to ever think for themselves, as their model has been to accept whatever information the parent has chosen to teach them. When the time comes for a young person to be out on their own, the sheltered life they have led can lead them to anxiety and shock when real world crisis's occur.

Examining your own long held belief systems is an eye opening look into the reasons you believe the things you do and how your values have led you to these choices. There is no sense of urgency for someone to change their belief systems, as long as they understand their are alternatives and what those encompass. By shutting down and not examining the reasons for the choices made in life, there is a stagnation in growth that keeps us stifled and stuck on old ways of thinking. One may never change ones core beliefs, but there is something about thinking for yourself, making critical judgments and delving deep into ones psyche that offers a blooming lotus awaiting its full expression.

Examining ones beliefs is one of the adages in philosophy from the past and still is something we need to consider in our own lives in this fast moving world. Accepting who we are without choosing it consciously and authentically keeps us moving along with the herd shuffling though life without meaning and lost in uninformed choices. We deserve to be the architects of our lives, however that comes about. Take the change to examine your own beliefs and become aware of your limited thinking.

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