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Reflections: To Live Without Belief…

29/04/2011
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“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” Joan of Arc

Reflections: To Live Without Belief... constellation of stars

When I read the Daily Post prompt on something we used to believe in, it made me think about the ways I’ve nurtured and discarded certain beliefs over the years. As a child, I believed that goodness was an inherent quality in all humans and that if you were good/nice to others, they would reciprocate. Life/experience has taught me that while man is/can be inherently good, reciprocity is not guaranteed. People have their off days, their struggles, their petty peeves and worries, and the shades we pull up to look at life vary from person to person.

What I have come to learn most is that belief in self is paramount. Love, respect, honor, praise others and wish them well, but we must do same for self, and trust that our actions will empower us and guide our path. I used to think that by believing in a person and their potential, they would rise to meet the expected belief. Some do and some don’t. Why? It has to start with Self; our sense of self worth. My belief in you won’t matter if you don’t care or don’t believe in yourself. I still believe in the potential of the human spirit but, rising to meet our potential begins with us.  Our Belief = Our Reality.

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

Reflections: To Live Without Belief... sunset on waikiki beach

Many of us believe that if we have faith in our own actions, the universe will rally to support us. This is true but it doesn’t mean that our lives will be without struggle. Struggles/Challenges test our character, show us who people truly are, and guide our way while teaching us wisdom. So to struggle through situations or life doesn’t mean we are not being supported. On the contrary, it means we are being fired in the oven of life; cleansed and brightened to shine. If we didn’t believe this, many would simply stop trying… What informs your belief?

“I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.” Albert Camus quotes

Reflections: To Live Without Belief... the beach in Martinique

A life of faith is important to me but that doesn’t negate your right to choose an alternative route. As a child, I was taught that only my religion mattered and others had less value. Deep in my heart I doubted it… If God created all of us in his/her image, how could that be possible? I believe that my life lessons have formed me and taught me to see the value in all faiths; part of those lessons have included profound acts of faith that guided me … but this is my story and while it might not be yours, I respect your right to your beliefs. What do you believe…?  More below.

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“The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world” Max Born

Reflections: To Live Without Belief... the sun

We live in a complex world that is both beautiful and brutal. I believe that if all leaders acted in the best interest of the people, the lot of many will improve. Some in positions of power use it to uplift their people and others, while some misuse their authority. All claim to speak TRUTH to power; to know what is best for everyone and yet, by their actions we know their hearts. What is truth? Is there only one version/vision of truth?  Recently, I observed that even though many talk about poverty in Africa, some even see the continent as synonymous with the term, the continent has not necessarily cornered the market on poverty. No nation to date has won a Nobel Prize for eliminating poverty anywhere in the world; poverty remains a global problem.

Our world is peopled by many who serve with grace and by many whose actions are not benevolent but malevolent. I still believe we can all make a difference even in the smallest way. I still believe that those with authority should render fair, equitable justice to all. Sadly, this is not always the case. What do you believe? What informs your version of truth?

“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.” James Joyce

Reflections: To Live Without Belief... stars and sirius

In an increasingly challenging world, hope, faith and our beliefs will continue to guide our actions and help us through the fog. When we perform right/good or bad actions, we set the stage for corresponding results. Those results are not always material, they can manifest on the spiritual and mental level. Perhaps, that is why the sage teachers have always advised us to know ourselves and act with wisdom; for we reap the seeds we sow.

To live without belief is virtually impossible because everything we do is based on a set of beliefs; learned, experienced, internalized, externalized…  Some might say, “I don’t believe anything…” Even that statement is, infact, a Belief…  What are your thoughts? What do/don’t you believe in? Do share. . Thank You! 🙂

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PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos of the sun, Star Sirius, Pleiades Constellation, Martinique Beach, and Waikiki Beach via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

21 Comments leave one →
  1. 30/04/2011 12:11 am

    Again, Eliz, if I could only read one person’s blog, it would be yours!
    Beautiful quotes accompanied by stunning photos. Thank you. 🙂
    I also would rather live my life with faith and belief in God, even if at death I were to find out I was incorrect…instead of living with no faith or belief…because that is not living at all, that is just existing. 🙂

  2. 30/04/2011 12:50 am

    I agree with you and Vivian’s statements whole heartedly!

  3. 30/04/2011 1:05 am

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Faith for me has been a journey of self discovery and belief in the unknown. Sometimes it has taken the form of religion, science, worship, personal accountability and / or objectivity. Perhaps this seems to contradict the more expressed thoughts on faith, however as you so eloquently said, we all have our own paths to the faith that heals.

  4. 30/04/2011 1:19 am

    you wrote:
    We live in a complex world that is both beautiful and brutal. I believe that If all leaders would act in the best interest of the people, the lot of many will improve. Some in positions of power use it to uplift their people and others, while some misuse their authority.
    +
    and so I started to compare the leaders of
    Tunisia and Egypt, Bahrain and Syria –
    and, nice, after that wedding yesterday between Kate and William:
    the leaders of Europe:
    in London and Paris,
    Rome and Berlin …
    not the same level of ethics everywhere …

  5. 30/04/2011 3:37 am

    And Eliz, I, like Frizztext have to thank you as well, for you inspired my latest posting tonight….The Conscious Light that Illuminates the Darkness of the Mind.
    Peace and have a great weekend.

  6. 30/04/2011 4:35 am

    I loved “We live in a complex world that is both beautiful and brutal.” It’s beautiful, frightening, and true.

    I agree with your statement that to live a life without belief is virtually impossible. I’m not a believer of any faith, but I believe that whether one has a religion or not, whether one has a god or not, one believes in something. I believe in love, goodness, and honesty. I respect other people who believe in those things, whether they’re religious or not.

    • 01/05/2011 12:41 pm

      Totally agree with you here–this could have been my response.

      @Eliz–Even though I realize reciprocity in goodness is not always guaranteed, I strive to become a better person every day. I like your metaphor: ” . . . the shades we pull up to look at life vary from person to person.” I may have to use that as my Quote of the Day!

  7. 30/04/2011 2:14 am

    thank you Eliz, you inspired me to write on leaders

    • 30/04/2011 3:35 am

      Frizztext, I like your comparsions. It made think of the ongoing battle between the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties here in the states. Some like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Congressmen Paul Ryan are certainly using their powers to help (Sanders) and dismantle (Ryan) elements of our society. Then there is the EPA (protectors of the environment) versus the big oil companies, or the non profit community organizations pitted against the global corportations. The list goes on…..

      • 30/04/2011 3:56 am

        yes, waltersmith3rd, of course we can find not only examples in Arabian countries but also in China or Russia, or in our own countries: your USA or my Germany. And if we analyze history: lots of stuff. “The beasts are the governments” commented the philosopher Nietzsche. Yes, so the individuals have to learn some civil disobedience, as Thoreau said …

  8. 30/04/2011 7:43 am

    “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” Joan of Arc

    This is such a great blog!

  9. 30/04/2011 9:54 am

    Love the Albert Camus quote. I know people who say they believe in nothing greater than themselves and yet when things go wrong they blame God. Go figure.
    My experience has been that those who have a faith in a higher power are kinder and more generous as a rule. Then there are the extremists who give faith a bad name.
    At the end of the day we have to live with our choices, good or bad.
    Great post Eliz!

  10. 30/04/2011 10:05 am

    I enjoyed reading your post Eliz. It reminded me again to think about what I believe in (and used to believe in). With all the goings-on in life, introspection has not been easy.

    Great post as always!

  11. 30/04/2011 1:20 pm

    Beautiful post, Eliz. I used to believe in very little but now I tend to believe in the process of belief itself 🙂

  12. Bree permalink
    30/04/2011 1:40 pm

    You cover a lot of ground here and your questions give me much to consider.
    What we believe in is very impt in a world that changes constantly, like you suggested, we can make a difference but we must know ourselves.
    I agree that some use that poverty in Africa line to the exclusion of anything else on the continent. It is like the old let’s go safari story; a perpetuation of limited ignorant views. The continent has much to offer and interactions on all levels will be beneficial. That old one note description is tired, a new conversation is needed.
    I’m not clear about Frizztext and the ethical question. But to use your line, europe has not necessarily cornered the market on ethics. There is corruption and unethical acts in every nation on earth.
    Great post!
    B

  13. 30/04/2011 8:10 pm

    Wonderful post, especially enjoyed:

    * Life/experience has taught me that while man is/can be inherently good, reciprocity is not guaranteed. People have their off days, their struggles, their petty peeves and worries, and the shades we pull up to look at life vary from person to person.

    * As a child, I was taught that only my religion mattered and others had less value. Deep in my heart I doubted it… If God created all of us in his/her image, how could that be possible? I believe that my life lessons have formed me and taught me to see the value in all faiths; part of those lessons have included profound acts of faith that guided me … but this is my story and while it might not be yours, I respect your right to your beliefs.

    * When we perform right/good or bad actions, we set the stage for corresponding results. Those results are not always material, they can manifest on the spiritual and mental level. Perhaps, that is why the sage teachers have always advised us to know ourselves and act with wisdom; for we reap the seeds we sow.

    I believe that we must tend our gardens!

  14. 01/05/2011 10:34 am

    Beautiful post, Elizabeth! I’d say it was one of my favorites but actually, all of your posts are favorites of mine! I believe that everything happens for a reason guided by God. It is up to each one of us to interpret the reasons why and to grow and mature with each decision we make. No one will always make the right decisions but the reflective process of determining whether a decision is good or bad, will make us stronger. Of course, you can be stronger and “evil” or stronger and “good” or somewhere in between. That is all shaped by years of experiences, decisions, influence, and reflection.

  15. 02/05/2011 4:40 am

    I’m an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything. There are many things I believe in: human and civil rights, equality, caring for those less fortunate than ourselves, essentially most of this things Timethief lists in this discussion in the Off-Topic forum http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/affirmations-of-humanism?replies=27#post-589303

    I’ll admit I was surprised at the Camus quote – I was of the understanding he was an existentialist.

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