OF FAITH AND FABLES – February 2010


By Bob Haynes

Choosing What We Believe


In her book “Dreams Are Whispers from the Soul,” Marcia Wieder said: “All obstacles are either what I refer to as “internal,” something you believe about your life, or they are “external.” If the obstacle is external, we must develop a plan to try and change it.

If the obstacle is internal, the most important task is determining whether it is “real” or simply an “illusion.”

We must be willing to look within ourselves and realize the fact that we can choose to believe either that the obstacle is impossible to circumvent or we can allow ourselves to choose to believe that it can be overcome.”

In my own life experience I sometimes am presented – at least in my mind – with obstacles which seem to block my way. What I have learned is that some of these obstacles might just be illusions and I have chosen to believe they are real.

“Our attitudes and beliefs impact our thoughts and feelings which in turn, shape our choices and decisions. Beliefs either move us forward or hold us back, but what many of us forget is that we choose what we believe,” Wieder said.

Fact is, Wieder said, “You can choose to believe something that will empower and move you forward, or believe something that will limit and hold you back. On a challenging day, when you may have buckets of doubt, this becomes the critical moment to choose a belief that will support you.”

In other words, beliefs can be limiting or positive. That’s not to say it’s easy to choose the positive belief. To do so, says Wieder, takes willingness, courage and practice.

I read somewhere that trials are really only lessons that you failed to learn, presented once again. If you made a faulty choice before, you can now make a better one, and thus escape all pain your original decision brought you.

I have also learned that sometimes those faulty choices are made from ignorance; at other times they simply represent what Daniel Boorstin called the ‘illusion of knowledge.’ He wrote: “The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents and the oceans, was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.” Daniel J. Boorstin, historian and educator, 1914.

As we begin our journey into 2010, it seems to me that we might need to recall those words of wisdom about both obstacles and keep in mind the concept of the illusion of knowledge. Sometimes we are too quick in our decisions to take a direction and later learn the sad truth of realizing that when the decision fails to reach the conclusion we wanted is not ignorance, it was simply that we thought we knew we were on the right path when we really were not.

M. Scott Peck said: “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

The world condition today has placed all of us in positions of how to overcome some very important obstacles… However, we can choose the positive approach or the negative approach to overcoming them. Yes, we face opposition, but I’m reminded of what Stephen Covey said. “Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” Shalom!

Ojo Del Lago
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