My realisation went like this:
“I am not going to carry beliefs for them* any more. I am done. No more.”
*Them being “men”. Men in general.
I am not altogether clear on what this meant, so I’m going to try to find clarity by writing about it here.
“Holding Beliefs for Others”
Holding Beliefs for other people can be a wonderful practice, if done consciously.
Like when I hold a belief for my friend. It works like this:
When she’s having trouble believing good things for herself, I hold that belief for her. I say “I believe you are amazing, and you are capable of awesome things in this world”. I say it and mean it.
She does the same for me, when I reach a crisis point, when I’m in a bottomless pit and cannot see my way out. She holds beliefs for me, such as the belief that I am going to do great things in the world, or the belief that I am worthy of love.
I learned about this practice kind of accidentally. Someone must have asked me a question about the… “love” topic, and I must have said “I don’t think it’s going to happen”, to which they replied “you can’t know that”.
I realised at that point that they were “holding the belief” that I will find love.
I cried. I was… moved.
You can hold beliefs for others… secretly
I’m pretty sure that’s what yoga teachers do. I’m positive it’s what my yoga teacher did for me, when I would show up class after class in a tidy hot mess of tears and rage.
And I often hold beliefs for strangers. I have moments where I *feel* in my heart this clear sense of “Listen, you are a child of the Universe, you are made from Love and you are worthy”.
Yes, I am believing wonderful things for them, because I can see that they are not believing them for themselves.
When this is a conscious practice, it’s wonderful
And kinda life changing. It shifts things in you, to “know” that someone “out there”, someone “outside of the bottomless pit” is actively believing that you will make it out, and you will find Beauty, Love and Truth.
It’s like they are holding the blueprint for you to “grow into it”, as it were.
And yet, there was my realisation: “I am not going to carry beliefs for them anymore“. “Them” being “men”.
Huh. What could I possibly mean by that?
What do I not want?
Let’s look at a very clear example. Sex.
Men in our culture go around thinking of sex in very degrading terms. To put it mildly.
They are caught up in a cycle where, as Charles Eisenstein put it:
“They will need always to up the dose, to push the degradation of women to new levels. And still it isn’t enough.”
I believe that sex is the gateway to Sacred Union. That sex is a portal to experiencing the Divine, if only for a short while. That sex is revolutionary in its capacity to convince us of the Beauty, Truth and Love in the world.
And I am tired of being *with* men and *around* men who don’t see sex like this.
I am tired of doing all the emotional heavy lifting in relationships.
There. I said it.
I am tired of being around men who can’t be bothered to believe in “better”. To believe in more Beauty, more Truth, more Love.
Belief is hard work. We don’t wake up one morning believing in good things, not when we have gone through our share of pain, and we have been exposed to… this human world. There’s a shocking absence of Love in humanity right now.
The challenge is to stare at the face of horror and emerge on the other side, with a renewed belief in Love.
It’s what I’ve called “Return to Innocence”.
We can carry beliefs for other people, and that is wonderful. But we can’t do the work for them.
Ultimately, it’s up to each and every one of us to stare at the face of horror and emerge on the other side. Others can believe we’ll make it, and believe in what we’ll find when we’re outside. They can tell us what they found when they made it outside.
They can even remind us when we forget, because we all fall into bottomless pits many, many times over.
But we have to get to the belief ourselves.
My opinion as a Recovering Feminist…
I don’t now if this is a “thing”, or whether I am projecting my personal experiences with men to all men. And I am careful with generalisations, because I am Recovering Feminist. But… it seems to me that we women do this for men. We are emotionally and spiritually more mature, and so we “take care” of their emotional and spiritual needs.
Eventually this system “gives”, because it has to. And you find women filing for divorce, after years of tedious and unrecognised carrying of a man’s emotional baggage while the man is left wondering “what the Hell?!?”.
I don’t know if this story is “accurate”. It’s a story. Take it if it serves you, dump it if it doesn’t.
But it’s true that this story doesn’t serve anyone. Men are left emotionally and spiritually immature, having never learned how to take care of their own emotional and spiritual needs, and women end up exhausted.
As for me, I have to be careful, because my emotional and spiritual capacity is kinda huge. (Oh, really, Mary?!? It’s no like you have a website devoted exclusively to exploring emotional and spiritual ideas, or anything.)
My Personal Resolution
And I am tired of men who cannot be bothered to believe that sex is sacred spiritual union, a direct connection to Love. I want a man who knows himself.
I cannot help everyone. And I cannot do the internal work for people. I cannot “believe for them”.
I can hold a belief for them, a belief that is truly mine, and I can remind them of it. But I cannot do the work for them.
I cannot save people from the consequences of not believing in “Better”. From not believing in Beauty, Truth and Love.
So here’s my resolution:
First, I shall try to stay present whenever I notice my beliefs don’t match someone else’s. When I feel this jarring of “goodness, they actually believe in degradation!”. This is difficult, because I would much prefer to run away.
Second, I shall remind myself that I am allowed to have my beliefs, and that they are allowed to have theirs. Boundaries in action!
Then I shall try to wish them “spiritual enlightenment”, and I’ll consciously hold the belief that they are a child of the Universe, *if* that is what I’m actually believing.
And I’ll probably have to do this a chinchillion times in the future, because I struggle with the sense that I am not allowed to have my own beliefs when they differ from other people’s.
I am getting better at holding my own beliefs. Ha!
May it be so.