Belief vs Knowledge

Wise Old Wolf

The Wise Old Wolf

How Wisdom Is Created

Blind faith is something we teach against in most pagan circles. Simply because someone else said this is true, or that is fact doesn’t make it real or accurate. Simply because something comes from old knowledge or understandings doesn’t mean it’s valid today.

Think about what people were sure of 1,000 or 1,500 years ago. Everyone believed the Earth was flat and if you sailed to far, you’d fall off the world. Of course today we know how silly that is. Image 1,000 years from now and wonder what is it that we’re sure about today that will be completely invalid in the future.

Blind faith doesn’t teach, it doesn’t inspire, it doesn’t allow an individual to experience, expand or grow. We cannot limit our experience in life by what we believe we know to be true. We must put our beliefs to the test.

“The word ‘belief’ is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it- I don’t need to believe it.” ~ Carl Jung

But you cannot prove blind faith or belief, nor claim it to be true or accurate. That’s the whole point of belief. You either believe it or you don’t. You can share the same concepts of belief with others. But every person may have tiny little differences in how they apply those beliefs to life and the situations around them. So they’re never exactly the same. But why?

I was about to write “I believe”, but I think maybe a better way to start this sentence is “I’ve come to know..”. So I’ve come to know that everything we learn from a spiritual perspective is based on belief until we experience it for ourselves. Through that experience we move from a place of belief to a place of Knowing. And it’s from knowing things that we create the world around us.

Triquetra

The Celtic Triquetra

Our reality is based on perception and our perceptions are based on our experiences of reality.

It’s not a catch 22 as much as it is an endless circle of learning. When we stop learning, we stop growing and we stop living. I think this is one of the powerful messages we can learn from the ancients who tried to share this wisdom and implemented through the utilization of circles or never ending spirals as their symbolic structures of life.

The never ending intertwined patterns of the Celts say that for me. The endless flow of a Celtic knot is a depiction of the continual process of energy, knowledge, understand and life. Similar to how many cultures view the circle and the world as cyclical.

In “Black Elk Speaks” by John G. Neihardt, the Oglala Sioux medicine man explains that all things in life, including life itself, is a circle.
You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” ~ Black Elk

As we put our knowledge into practice and experience our beliefs we come to know which parts of our beliefs are inaccurate and which parts are true. When we continue that cycle AND when we allow ourselves to experience our beliefs with openness, we create the opportunity to expand our awareness. The more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know and we go back to research, exploration and additional expansion of the knowledge we have obtained.

The important part of this continual cycle is; there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” when it comes to belief. There’s what’s “right” for you at this time and place in your life and what’s not.

By this I mean we don’t so much stop knowing a thing, as we expand our view and evolve our knowledge about what we believe. In the exercise of trial and error, experience and practice we evolve our understanding of belief into practical knowledge. This is how we attain wisdom. And this is the true gift of knowledge and experience.

At one point in time some of you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only way to Heaven was through Christ. Through gaining new knowledge, new experiences and evolving your perspectives, your reality of that “fact” has changed, or what I’d like to label as evolved. You didn’t stop knowing that initial information, you evolved beyond it. Some of you may have even decided “heaven” is a limiting view of the afterlife and expanded your view of what that spiritual place is. You didn’t stop knowing, you merely expanded your knowledge of the potential possibilities.

This is one of the basic tenants of Pagan Metaphysics. All realities are valid for the individual person who holds it at this time and space in their life. But that same reality may not be valid for all because we all experience our beliefs in different ways and at different times of our existence (in past lives, present ones and future incarnations).

We can all sit down and read books, study other belief systems and write about what we have learned. But we never understand it or find its true value until we experience what we have researched. You can read all the books in the world, but if you do nothing with that knowledge you can never attain the wisdom those words had to offer.

None of us believe in exactly the same thing because we all have our own personal experiences that have validated our knowledge and connected the subjects or topics of that knowledge together in different ways. In this way we have created our own perspectives and interpretations of our individual experiences that are specific to us as an individual. And that’s ok. Because we’re all here to learn, experience and move forward in our own ways to step closer to enlightenment.

Rochelle Staab

Rochelle Staab

We don’t need to read all the books in the world, because our soul has chosen a path for us to tread in this life and our own Higher Consciousness will help direct our attention to the right books that are specific for us in this incarnation. But its still up to us as incarnated souls to pick up the book, read it and put it’s words into experience and practice.

The first time you sit down and try to do something, no matter what it is, you’re experimenting with what you learned. Each time you practice the experiment you learn something new that helps you build on the experiment the next time. This trial and error method is something we do from the day we’re born, but we seem to forget to do it as we get older and when it comes to beliefs. And that’s when it’s the most important.

What you know is different from what I know. But here, and in places where we share our knowledge openly, we can learn how we each look at the Divine Universe and open our view to new possibilities. We also gain an understanding of each other and how other people look at the things we see.

Perhaps you and I stand on a small town street and see the “Golden Arches”. As we look at the sign we both see its color but we both perceive the color differently. You may see yellow, where I see sunshine yellow. Add someone to our group who is color blind and they will see a varying shade of gray. Include someone who is fully blind and they will see the color by how we describe it. What would you say to describe “yellow”? Would you say yellow is the color of the sun on your skin? Or would you say it’s the smell of a lemon? How would your experiences help you put a color into a descriptive perspective?

Belief is something we hold within our being. It can bring us strength, it can create fear and it can limit our perspectives if we allow it to. Or we can choose to put our beliefs into practice and experience the energy of their concepts in our lives to attain knowledge and understanding. The more we research, explore and experience those beliefs, the more we attain the wisdom of their teachings.

© Springwolfs Hanko

© 2013 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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