When Do Convictions Become Dogma?

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I was walking down the sidewalk in San Francisco Monday, and I overheard a snippet of conversation between two young men.

“Don’t Hesitate, if you hesitate your worst fears come true!” He was speaking earnestly and with strong conviction. What he was saying wasn’t an idea he had just come up with, I could tell from the way he spoke that it was part of his foundational beliefs. It was part of his truth!

 

I could tell he believed this with all his heart and to him it was how the universe operated. We all have many beliefs like that. Some of the beliefs are so ingrained in us that we can’t even articulate them, but they are part of the fabric of our lives. You could almost argue that they are part of our operating systems, when X occurs we respond with Y. These ideas are part of our foundation and they dictate how we function and respond to the world around us. But what if they are wrong?

 

I’m not saying that the young man on the sidewalk was wrong, and I’m not saying he was a fool. But I am saying that he’s grabbed onto a specific interpretation of the events in his life. At the risk of over analyzing the statement, I present this. There are situations where I have charged in boldly, without hesitation, and my worst fears of come true. There are also situations where I have hesitated and my worst fears have come true. Therefore, worst fears coming true result from a function independent of hesitation. But in the mind of this young man, a correlation has been drawn and will no longer subject itself to dialog, this has become a fact. And this is where we enter Dogma.

 

Dogma is defined as: a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.

 

With a little artistic license around with word “authority”, dogma can become anything where we understand it to be true and aren’t aware that it is up to us to change. The idea that something is a universal truth and unalterable may very well start in our own minds. We may be holding ourselves up to rules that we have made up, that have no reality to them and that simply hold us back, AKA, dogma.



The world is changing. Or more specifically the world continues to move. However, by our very nature, we desire to stand still. We seek solid unmoving ground to anchor ourselves into. We find a ‘truth’, it stands up to verification, and we deem it infallible. Over time it is integrated with our core and we use it to make decisions, but the truth isn’t always the same as what we held onto. While we hold firm, the world keeps moving.

 

So I encourage you to be a person of strong convictions. Stand firm on your beliefs. While at the same time, being aware of your convictions and allowing your most sacred convictions to be the subject of inquiry.

 

Don’t become untethered, thrashing about like a small boat on stormy waves. Do allow yourself to model a kayak on a river deftly navigating the rapids, flowing with the world around you.

 

Namaste,

 

Kevin

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