Originally Posted by Valkyrie
What methods, if any, do you use to discern whether beliefs you have or would like to have are true or false? How much emphasis do you put on the truthfulness of your beliefs relative to how useful or agreeable they are to you?
Hmm... in a lot of cases I think flexibility is helpful. In some things I am flexible, and in some things I have direct experience which makes it more difficult to fully release an understanding about metaphysical notions. I know that may seem rigid, but others who have direct experience of something may understand what I mean here.
For example, I've had conversations with the sort of "originating" energy for our realm (or, if you prefer, my own reality of Earth), and it has verified my previous thinking that all the various labels for it are okay with it and point to the same thing, that energy. And it really doesn't care what we call it, frankly. (Nor does it care if we call it anything, or there is not any negative-sounding consequence from it if we don't.) If I had not had that direct conversation it might be easier for me to accept an idea that there is only one "right" or "true" thing there. (And that energy is also entirely content with being seen as us, as an aspect of ourselves that doesn't quite fit into our physical forms. I would say that understanding is also accurate according to a oneness/nondual view. It is probably entirely content with being the Void/wholeness/emptiness too but it becomes practically beneficial for me to be able to communicate with it, so it humors my preference to consider it a sentience I can speak with, since its structures can be organized and manifested in so many ways.)
To evaluate the personal truth or falseness, I usually discern how it feels to experience the belief as true. Does it generate feelings of being right (for me, based on my existing alignment) or does it generate feelings of distortion and interference? I mean how it feels for the heart, not the mind. I have a range of beliefs and not all of them are rosy and perfect but they still feel accurate.
Not sure about the usefulness or agreeableness... since these methods of evaluation basically bypass mind (the Western notion of individual mind I mean) it is hard for me to evaluate a belief based on what mind wants to be true - though I am sure there are a few beliefs in my head that are based on that. When it comes to new ideas, I evaluate how the vibration/energy signature of that belief meshes with my own and I don't take it on for myself if it doesn't feel right. But I engage those who choose it anyway, if they wish to engage me, and don't expect them to take on my understanding of things.
And most of this applies to my own path. I don't like the idea of assuming my understanding is the only right one when there are so many others here. Some of the things I have come to understand about metaphysics... well, as unpopular as it may be to say this, it is more than just belief. It feels more like knowing, because of the direct experience. But I do my best not to come across with that attitude and it only applies to certain things - even then, it is only "knowing" as far as my personal understanding of the universe is concerned. Of course even with those things I could be wrong about it, but the experiential aspect makes that feel less likely even though it is possible.
I started a thread on discernment here a while back, you might find some interesting answers there as well.
Oh, and my own understanding is about love. I am sure there are folks who would not be interested in an uplifting understanding of metaphysics, but in my experience most folks are not as likely to find a problem with understanding that boils down to love - if they engage metaphysics at all.
p.s. Logic is not without its place. Many of these ideas that end up feeling right have a kind of logical consistency to them as well (though others applying their own standards about it might not agree). However, I suppose I evaluate beliefs on a relatively new idea I have accepted that says - as far as my own path is concerned - I am closer to where I need to be using the right hemisphere, not the left one. Since I spent a lot of time using the left one it can come into play when, for example, I evaluate something that sounds far-fetched to me (like sungazing). But I still try to focus on believing anything is possible, because I experience more of the everyday miracles that way - and those are fun