“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” – Robert Fulghum
What do you believe, and why do you believe it? For centuries, belief has always been a point of contention between varying cultures. From the Christians to Jews, Muslims to Hindus, and other traditions across the world, the one unifying factor in each religion is the unbreakable faith of the mass collective. In modern times, religious belief systems not only have to contend with competing religious schools of thought, but scientific processes that challenge their very foundation. Is life now resigned to the cosmopolitan urbanite shunning blind faith while the rural small townie is denouncing deconstructive reasoning?
It seems as if the world is not content with the black and white options of stark atheism and religious pomp. Perhaps the only pathway towards mutual understanding is accepting the common ground between the rational and irrational.
Yogic science might just be that bridge that will rally a new era of contemporary spiritual scientists into pioneering a harmonious process in managing our beliefs. Over the centuries, the yogis have run the gamut of possessing the analytical thought processes of a scientist, while at the same time sharing fantastical mystical experiences. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is one obvious example. It presents a scientific blueprint or a how-to-guide in connecting with divinity, while introducing the notion of special powers, such as mastery over nature and psychic abilities, as being skills earned through the disciplined practice of transforming the mind.
Others may read it, and doubt the truth of such miraculous claims, and understandably so. How is it possible to know something, that we have not yet experienced ourselves? We can witness this when friends share supernatural encounters with each other. One friend listens and strains to believe whole-heartedly in the story because he has never had such an experience while the other friend is passionately yammering away to validate his newly changed beliefs about the supernatural.
So when we are asked to blindly believe, it may be useful to remember that our natural tendencies as human beings is to doubt what we do not know. So let us doubt, inquire and ponder. This is the journey. At some point along the way, either we can become tired of doubting, or perhaps, we bite the bullet and surrender to the power of belief to create a new world of possibilities.
Positive affirmations and meditation practices have illuminated the power of the mind by helping many patients suffering from terminal illnesses successfully recover. So adopting an acceptance policy towards a realm of endless possibilities is something to strive for in daily life. John Lennon said “I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” He reminds us that reality is something that we can co-create. As much as we are allowed to question and deconstruct, it is also our birthright to B.E.L.I.E.V.E, to B.reathe E.phemeral L.ightness I.nto E.very V.eiled E.nigma, making the impossible possible.
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” – Saint Augustine