by Brandon Pearce
May 13, 2013
Last week, I had a few interactions that reminded me how much our
attachment to our beliefs can keep us from truth, growth, and
freedom. I was surprised at how often we choose comfort over truth,
even when it means restriction and repression. And how terrifying it
can be to seek truth at all costs.
The path to truth isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it’s
frightening, painful, and unsettling. Likewise, a life of comfort is
often riddled with self-deceit, stagnation, and limitations.
If I want truth, then I must be willing to question everything.
I must be willing to let go of the way I
think the world is or how I think it should be.
Otherwise, my resistance will limit my
vision and I will never get to truth, or the real peace that lies
beyond resisting. I’ll also never grow outside of the comfort zone I
imprison myself in.
On the other hand, if I desire comfort over truth, then I must
ignore the questions in my mind, do what has brought me comfort in
the past, and believe whatever I think will make me happiest,
whether it’s true or not.
Then, I must refuse to consider anything
that challenges that view. Many people live seemingly happy lives
this way, ignoring the deeper questions that lie beneath the often
subconscious repression of the inconsistencies their mind discovers.
Ignorance is bliss, as they say.
Is one choice better than the
Is it worth seeking the truth if
it may lead to an uncomfortable reality?
Or can you tolerate a sense of
comfort when you know you may be deceiving yourself?
With so many unknowns in our
world, don’t we all choose comfort to some degree anyway?
I think it’s not so black and white.
Most of us have beliefs we’re willing to
question, and those we hold sacred or refuse to consider
challenging, at least until we’re ready. Several years ago, I
challenged my beliefs about
This completely changed my life...!
Yet I still struggle with questioning
things like the value of certain relationships, my views of right
and wrong, and what it means to be human. But unless I question
these things, how will I know if these beliefs are limiting me?
It can be scary to challenge core beliefs!
For example, having grown up Mormon, it
was terrifying for me to question the source of my spiritual
feelings, and the existence and nature of God. I had to be
willing to give up my world as I knew it in my attempt to find the
truth. And while I still can’t state for certain what God
might be like, I feel much closer to the truth now, than when I
claimed to “know” the answer with absolute certainty when in fact I
had simply been too afraid to lose my comfort by fully challenging
I’ve also noticed that the more beliefs I question, the more beliefs
I discover under the surface that are waiting to be challenged.
Usually, these are beliefs I didn’t even
know I had but are affecting my life profoundly. New worlds continue
to open up as I go deeper into challenging and letting go of my
attachment to these beliefs.
Perhaps the questioning process will never end. Maybe it ends only
with omniscience. Or maybe it stops when I finally realize that I
know absolutely nothing, and hold attachment to no belief at all.
How else can we get to the truth except
by questioning what we think we already know, and being willing to
drop all beliefs in order to see what lies beyond them?
But it can be a tiresome process.
Not everyone wants to take this journey,
and there is nothing wrong with resting in the comfort of
potentially false belief when we choose to, even indefinitely. We
all do it to some degree, usually unconsciously. But by becoming
aware that this is what were doing, we enable ourselves to make a
conscious decision about it.
We increase our ability to choose, which
means we increase our freedom.
We tend to start questioning our beliefs when we tire of stagnating
in comfort, or when we see that the answers we’ve been given don’t
add up, or when we just feel like there is something more that we’re
not seeing in our life experience.
Every person will do this in their own
way when they are ready, but here are a few methods I’ve found
helpful in opening my mind to new possibilities:
Read or listen to opposing views
But not from the perspective of
how to prove them wrong or fit them into your current
framework of reality. Instead, see them without any
judgment. Identify their value and maybe even try them on
for size to see what the world looks like through that lens.
This can be terrifying,
difficult, and very uncomfortable. It is common to take a
glimpse into an opposing view, not know how to deal with the
questions or emotions it brings up (especially when existing
beliefs creep in), and give up before fully exploring the
view. Instead, welcome the discomfort.
Stay with the belief for a
while. Yes, it may completely change your view of reality,
and that can be scary.
But if you give up too early
because of fear or discomfort, then you’re selling yourself
short of reaching deeper levels of understanding and truth.
Spend some time with people who
have completely different worldviews than you.
Travel to foreign countries
where the language, religion, and culture is different. Talk
to the impoverished and the wealthy, the activists and the
pacifists, the traditional and the unique.
Try to see the world how they
do, and see what it teaches you. Notice how some of your
beliefs are not part of their framework at all, and how that
affects them or not.
Study the mind
Learn about how our beliefs are
formed and how we tend to hold onto false beliefs, even when
it doesn’t make sense. Read a book like Don’t Believe
Everything You Think or some of these thought-provoking
Identify hidden beliefs
When we make a statement or ask
a question, there is often a hidden limiting belief lying
beneath our words.
These can be tricky to identify,
but they permeate how we talk and think, and can limit our
view. Here are some examples of possible hidden beliefs in
statements and questions.
“Why did God let my son
die?” (Possible hidden beliefs: Your son died. God
is responsible for that. God cares about your son.
“I wish I had more
money.” (Possible hidden beliefs: More money will
make you happy. It is too difficult to get more
money. Rich people are greedy and are the reason I
have so little.”)
Watch your emotions
If you find yourself feeling
angry or defensive when an idea is presented to you, or when
one of your beliefs is challenged, this can be an indicator
of a belief you may identifying with or holding onto for
Whether you decide to question
these beliefs or not, being aware of the beliefs you’re most
attached to can help you see what’s driving your behavior
and allow you to question them when you’re ready.
These methods are rarely comfortable.
But in order for growth to happen, in
order for us to know the truth, and in order to increase our
freedom, we must be willing to get out of our comfort zone and
sincerely question our beliefs.
I recently watched a moving and funny documentary called Kumaré
about a man from New Jersey who pretended to be an Indian guru, went
to Arizona, and gained a following of real people.
He taught them fake yoga moves and made
Yet, some of his followers were
profoundly touched by these practices, and went on to make positive
changes in their lives. They found comfort in these empty rituals
and made up teachings. He also taught that they didn’t need a guru
and could become their ideal selves on their own, a lesson he was
experimenting with as he taught it.
The most interesting part for me was seeing the internal struggle
this man had with revealing his true self to his followers, and how
they reacted to the news. I won’t spoil it for you, but the choice
between comfort and truth is apparent here as well.
You can watch the movie at
While comfort can be nice, I invite you to ask yourself if you have
a belief that it might be time to question.
Is there something you’ve been
believing that doesn’t resonate with you anymore?
Is there a hidden assumption
that’s holding you back from reaching your potential?
Is there something you have
doubts about but are afraid to look at completely?
If so, I invite you to jump into the
fire, embrace the discomfort, and see what lies on the other side
I can’t make any promises about what you
will experience, but every time I have done this, an unexpected new
world of deeper understanding has opened up to me and changed my
life in profound and positive ways. It can be like waking up from a
dream or hatching out of an egg.
If you have the desire, I hope you will take the chance to break
through the barriers of your limiting beliefs when you feel ready to
do so; and that the world you discover beyond them will bring more
comfort and truth than you’ve ever known.