Does What You Believe Belong to You?

What a silly question. How can it be otherwise?

Are you religious? A believer in one faith or another? Were your parents believers in that faith as well? Your extended family? Your grandparents? Your neighborhood? Your nation?

From your birth, were you given a chance to choose from a variety of religious faiths or perhaps no faith at all?

Were you even taught, as I was, that when you walk past a church other than Catholic (fill in your own denomination) you were to spit? Or should you as much as step foot into another church, which constituted a mortal sin, and did not rush to immediately confess yourself you were liable to be plunged into hell for all eternity without recourse or remedy (again fill in your own sin)?

Have you tried to deconstruct what you believe and arrive at your own conclusions as to the verity and validity of what you believe? Did you succeed? Some do. But most give up the effort because it takes painstaking and meticulous commitment to trace what one believes to its core and thus be able to question it, dissect it, and eventually get it to evaporate (sort of).

This is all true, in one form or another, of all religious dogma and doctrine. And these pronouncements have been in place and preached for millennia so they did not originate when you came into this world. I ask again—were you given a choice?

The point here, using the example of religion, is that the task of uprooting and dissolving unconscious beliefs brings with it an inordinate demand because much of what must be identified and unraveled is buried out of sight in the unconscious. Only and until life visits you with a belief-breaking event does it (in most cases) even arise to mind that you might be embedded in an illusion—or at least some precept that no longer works for you.

In An Ambition to Belong Jim, now 13, is betrayed by his fellow street-gang member in a way that collapses his hope for feeling accepted and respected and that launches him on a journey of self-discovery that takes him into re-defining who he is and what his life actually means to him.

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