Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
An authentic life is one of making distinctions about the nature of reality. Many people think that what they believe about reality and what they know about reality is the same thing, but unfortunately its not. There is a fundamental difference between believing something to be true, having faith that something is true and knowing something to be true. Believing means that you have accepted a truth, faith means that it may be true, but knowing means that you are certain about that truth. These distinctions need to be made if we wish to invite sublime possibilities into our lives.
When you say 'I believe that angels exist,' what are you really saying? What you are implying with this belief is that you don't know about angels because it is not within the realm of your experience. Do you believe in angels because they are appealing or because you have arrived at this truth through personal experience? Do you have faith that angels are among us or do you know for certain that they are? Or you may say 'I am Divine' but again what are you implying? You believe that you are divine, you apply faith to this belief but do you know for certain that you are? Is your belief based on knowing or based on an outside source?
On the path of self realization, how we arrive at subjective knowing or at what depth we know it at, will determine the quality of the choices and decisions we make in our lives. Beliefs, ideas and concepts are of the mind which helps us to formulate an opinion and communicate it to others as a means of expressing ourselves in the world. However, beliefs are not absolute truths and faith doesn't imply that they are.
For a believer or a person of faith, when something sounds good, they will accept it without question, which prevents them from thinking about life or reality on their own. They have in fact given away their power to something that may or may not be the absolute truth. They place greater value on an outside authority rather than acquaint themselves with their inner one. The submission of reason preempts the journey of self realization because it is easier than having to face the paradoxes of life.
To know something deeply and intimately has the power to influence, transform, and enhance our lives. We do not need an outer authority to tell us what something is because now we know it first hand. Even if it is discounted or ridiculed by others we are secure in our knowing. While believing blindly leaves room for doubt, knowing leads to confidence because you trust with awareness.
When we know something to be true, just like you know what your name is, you have no need to prove or fight or coerce others into believing it too. Your knowing simply is. For when we know something to be true we are elevated to the plane of the most profound perception of reality. We all have the capacity to know or experience a truth, to engage with it directly and know it on a visceral level. Truth is not the province of the few but of the many.
But objective reality says 'if you cannot see it or touch it -- it cannot exist.' Science is only capable of understanding what is within its domain -- the domain of the physical. Science is not reality but a tool with which to explore a portion of reality. There are many other aspects to which it does not apply. Methodology is not the mystery. For this, something else is needed.
Unlike faith and belief, knowing does not operate in the mind. Knowing transcends both belief and faith. It is based on our experience of something. In this sense, we can say that experience just is. Can it be proved or disproved? No. It can go to more profound levels of knowing, but generally it is only ourselves who are a witness to it.
There are many people who are afraid to admit or share what they know. Since their experiences cannot be validated by others, they automatically invalidate it themselves. But if one yearns to experience the mystery in a way that is so personal that doubt is banished requires going beyond the mind into knowing.
When tested knowledge becomes knowing and converted into a belief based upon your knowing then the application of your faith elevates your life to a whole new level -- the realm of certainty. When knowing is missing from your experience then doubt and fear dictate what you believe and where you should place your faith. The knowing is what anchors your knowledge in the world.
In a world obsessed with the mind, it is often difficult to appreciate that we know something of worth or value. We may have had intuitions or insights that are quite profound. We may have had mystical experiences or divine communication of some sort or other spontaneous breakthroughs. Yet, because the experience may be fleeting, we quickly dismiss them as not being real in the first place. No one wants to be seen as foolish or crazy.
However, within the spiritual experience, we can know something for a MOMENT and that MOMENT is all it takes to transfigure our life forever, to alter our relationship to everything, and change us in the deepest sanctum of our being.
Many have had such experiences and are afraid to affirm it because it lacks physical proof that it actually happened. The imprint of spiritual reality does not exist in time, it exists deep in knowing, and if we claim our knowing, a moment is more than enough for eternity to make a lasting impression. This is how powerful spiritual reality can be.