What Happens When Beliefs Don’t Align With Reality

We see reality though the filter of our thoughts, emotions and beliefs. When beliefs don’t align with reality, they distort perception. This is why, according to the Buddhist teachings, one of the obscurations we need to dissolve if we are to be enlightened – i.e., see reality directly – is the cognitive obscurations, the area of beliefs.

It’s why when we meditate, we train in not labelling or thinking about what we perceive, we simply see, simply hear, simply be without engaging our conceptual mind. But even those who practice this in their meditation find it hard to practice in daily life, especially if they hold tight to beliefs that aren’t in alignment with reality. And sometimes those beliefs are the very beliefs that were designed to point them in the direction of reality.

Look at those in the US who believe that Trump won the election.

This is what I look at in this video.

At the end of this video, I pose a question about how to talk to people who support Trump or believe conspiracy theories. This Conspirituality Podcast gives some good answers. If you’re not already listening to this podcast, I highly recommend it.

Have you had any success in talking to Rigpa people who still believe Sogyal is a Mahasiddha and did nothing wrong? Or those who admit he abused people but remain in RIgpa anyway, unaware of how they’re silently endorsing the very beliefs that enabled the abuse?

My last conversation with someone in the latter category put me off ever trying again. Her attempts to manipulate me were obvious and sickening, and she was so totally brainwashed by the Rigpa party line that she could not see outside of it. She thought she was being reasonable and, using the usual Rigpa-speak tried to appeal to the pliable, obedient self that I’d been while in the cult, but actually she was merely trying to prevent me from gaining access to information. She just covered up that intention with reasonable-sounding words – reasonable to someone who accepted the party line, that is. I felt the dark intent behind her words in my body and decided I could do without that in my life.

I also realised in a deep way just how I’d been manipulated while in the cult and how that manipulation was still going on. (This conversation was after they’d supposedly changed.) They cover over their less-than-noble intentions by using Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in a twisted way. Protecting their relationship with their guru is so paramount to their sense of spirituality that it easily turns into protecting, defending and excusing their guru at the expense of others. Do they truly believe that their intentions are honourable? I think they do. Beliefs have been used in a twisted way for so long, and they follow the Rigpa way of thinking so completely that they genuinely think they’re doing the right thing, when actually they’re manipulating people at best and harming them at worst.

Have any of you shared that experience like that? Or had better luck in communicating with those who haven’t moved beyond the Rigpa temple?

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