War what is it good for?: The Belief Wars

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War, what is it good for? Well, most of us experience at least a few battles for control of our reality system on a daily basis. What might this look like?

If we watch television, read newspapers or magazines, or listen to the radio we are subjected to an effort to persuade us to believe in a particular way. Usually this has to with a specific product that will make us more beautiful, intelligent or charismatic. We are supposed to suspend our own point of view on this matter and accept that this other perspective is more correct than our own.

If this were simple persuasion, where we felt that there were choices in the matter, perhaps this wouldn't be an issue. Frequently the effort to control goes futher than this however. We are shown the penalties, the punishments for not agreeing with the favored point of view. Images are presented of looking foolish, being ostracized and left behind. Often, there are threats of abandonment. The subconscious mind takes in all of this information and accepts it, especially if we're feeling vulnerable at the moment.

Due to the herd mentality which our species is subject to, we can be strongly affected by a sense that the group has turned against us. The attacks by our peers in school can show how deeply such things can wound us. More importantly though, is the way that we can allow ourselves to be manipulated into believing something which isn't true for us at all. We can choose to change our beliefs for the sake of acceptance.

I had a powerful lesson in this phenomenon recently. I attended a family function where my viewpoint differed strongly from that of every other person there. As it happened, I had information that the others either weren't privy to, or had chosen to deny. I was present to show my support for one member of the family but not for the event itself. The tension was palpable. Many people were waiting for me to cause a scene (I didn't) or to tearfully recant my position (I didn't do that either).

There were no facts presented during this function to cause me to change my mind. No new information came up and no one sat me down to get me to see "the error of my ways". However, I left with serious doubt about my own reality.

It took me several hours to regain my perspective. I had been subjected to the focused attention of about one hundred people who were being a tight "herd", all believing the same thing about what was occuring. Many of these folks were people that I cared about and would have liked to have think well of me. Therefore I was vulnerable to their expectations and judgements.

I've had experience with being the "odd man out" in group situations of differing realities. I've done group counseling on such situations where mediation was required. Yet I was as vulnerable as the most raw teenager looking for outside approval.

In metaphysics we must be aware of this constant push and pull for our attention, our support and our beliefs. This inner and outer war on our beliefs can aspire us to move towards personal good. If we are to manifest the life that we desire, we have to ensure that it is indeed our desire and not a power play that someone has foisted upon us.