In a person of integrity, stated beliefs and behaviors correspond to deep beliefs, which in turn correspond to the way things actually are. For most of us (all?), this correspondence is mixed at best. Deep beliefs, which are often unknown to us and to others, reveal themselves in emotions and behaviors that may be inconsistent with stated beliefs and values. These deep beliefs are the framework upon which we make sense of the world. We interpret events and perceptions according to our deep beliefs and that interpretation drives our emotions and behaviors. Our response to these emotions and behaviors provides feedback that either reinforces or undermines deep beliefs.
Say someone claims that something I hold to be true is actually false. I respond in anger and either sulk or explode. If we look behind the behavior (sulking or exploding) and the emotion (anger), we may well find the contours of the deep belief that my being right is the only way I can hold my self-worth intact.
If I respond by questioning my emotions and behaviors, my erroneous deep beliefs are undermined. If I respond by claiming my right to behave and feel thusly or by doing nothing, my deep beliefs are reinforced.
- How can we correct false deep beliefs?
- How can the faith community participate in this process?