THE BLOG

What's in a Belief

06/27/2011 04:51 pm 16:51:28 | Updated Mar 30, 2012

"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

I just finished a rather exhaustive review of the literature regarding the power of belief. Over and over again, from the impact of placebos to the self-reports of our elite athletes, it is clear that something nearing magic is possible when belief is invested in the outcome. Indeed, if you think of yourself as an experience -- a mind full of memories, a consciousness that survives the bodily death -- then our memories and beliefs are key to our very identity.

Let's take that a little further. What if just before you died in some terrible automobile accident, you suffered a blow to the head that led to complete amnesia? Were you to survive, you would regain consciousness but not know who you were or anything else about yourself. In just such a mind experiment presented in my book, "What If?" I ask the question, "Who then would you be?" But for our instance, let's think now of dis-carnate you. The same question might be valid, "Who are you?"

When we recall the most treasured events of our lives we replay them in our mind, we roll the memory tape out and start the internal movie. Our experience is not a tangible thing we can cut out of our brains and place on some table for all to see. Our memories, like our beliefs, are intangible and yet they are exactly what we are.

Studying the ramifications of the power of belief leads to some staggering possibilities and unorthodox conclusions. Perhaps belief is the engine of our reality more than in just some metaphysical way. Perhaps belief is the play and you are its play-writer. The script calls for actors and events and, as some insist, the law of attraction accommodates that in some self-fulfilling prophetic manner.

I remember reading a study conducted several years ago that I wrote about in my book, "Wellness: Just a State of Mind?" In this study the researcher reviewed the birth signs of hundreds of Chinese people. The zodiac system of the Chinese lays out many things including what a person will die of. The study showed an awesome positive correlation between the actual cause of death and the birth signs these people were born into.1 The power of belief again -- or mind as healer and mind as slayer.

Today, of course, we all know that the body is heavier than air and cannot float and when we hear of someone levitating, we often assume trickery of some kind. Could it be that our belief in gravity is stronger than our belief in the possibility of levitation and that's why we can't float on air?

This I know, the beliefs you hold may have a literal hold on you and all that you may experience. Think about that one and measure what you choose to believe accordingly. Here's to the best of your beliefs--those invested in the fabulous and unlimited you!

Remember, believing in yourself always matters!

Thanks for the read and I always like you feedback.

References:
1. Phillips, D. (1994) Does belief influences the outcome of certain diseases. The Lancet,
342:1142-1145

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included research on hypnosis, will and memory that was found to be incorrect and the information unreliable. It has since been removed from the post.