Published on Monday, May 25th, 2020 10:43:33 AM
No, no, no, this isn’t where I begin a religious rant or a New Age indoctrination process to welcome you into a strange cult. This is where I simply say that those who have a belief system to sustain them through times of crisis and trouble do better than those who don’t. It’s that simple.
Now what do we mean by a belief system? Ah, that’s harder to put into words. I guess a belief system is what you think the world is all about—the universe and everything. It’s what you believe will happen to you after you die. It’s what or who you pray to when the night is dark and you are in trouble.
Those who have a handle on this curious thing called life seem to be the ones who have worked out, satisfactorily for themselves at least, what they think it’s all about. And it doesn’t seem to matter what it is they think that is. You could believe in God or many gods, or you could believe in something or someone else—maybe that we’re all the product of some weird alien experiment, or you might be a fervent flat earther—it doesn’t matter.
Well, I guess it will to you, but as long as you have a belief system, you will do better than those who don’t. Being a seeker is not conducive to having a happy life.
I know you’re going to say, “But what if I haven’t been able to find an answer and don’t have a belief system? What am I supposed to do then?” Why, carry on looking, I guess, but do try to wrap this one up pretty quick, as it’s an important Rule. Put aside some time to think about it, and make sure you put it high on your list of priorities.
I hope you notice I’m not giving you any advice here as to what sort of belief system to have. Any one will do as long as it supports you in times of trouble, answers your questions about your life and what you mean to the universe, and gives you comfort. You have to be comfortable with your belief system; it’s no good having one in which a vengeful and violent deity watches your every move and terrifies you into submission. (Sorry, if you’ve already got one like that, you might need to rethink it.)
You might want to think about whether your belief system makes you feel guilt-ridden or unhappy, asks you to cut bits off your body or in any way mutilate or change your appearance, excludes anyone else on the basis of their race or sex, or needs any formal ritual to bring you the comfort it promises. For some, the ideal belief system won’t have any sort of figurehead who needs worshipping, obeying, or submitting to in any way, shape, or form. This is personal, but it’s worth thinking about what you are OK with.
A belief system has to be that—a belief. You don’t have to prove it to anyone else, justify it, [or] show it, convert anyone else to it, or preach to the world in general.
You may feel free to take bits from all other belief systems to build your own. But if you can, have something.