So today, let's consider a few things that would be part of a sniff test. Hopefully I can write this in a way that is enlightening and not threatening to people. After all, most people hold their beliefs very close and dear to their heart. If you challenge them on it, they feel like you are threatening to kill them.
#1 Sniff Test - Your ExperienceThe way I see this is, has this been your experience? Do you have some personal narrative to back up what you follow and believe. Is it just something you think may be possible or it sounds plausible? If you experience something firsthand, then you know without a shadow of a doubt that it is true for you. However, even though it is true for you, it may not be truth for everyone.
#2 Sniff Test - Truth In What Is SaidAre you following and believing something that everyone says is true or what someone has told you is true? We hear so much in our day and I am amazed at what people automatically believe. There is no filter it seems and often there is no scrutiny of what is reported. As people, we often follow things blindly and are at times ready to defend what we hear as if it is the last breath among the living. We don't stop to think outside the box we live in to see if it is really truth or not. We just follow it, blindly!
#3 Sniff Test - What We Were TaughtToo many of us follow what we were taught almost to perfection. More often then not, we never look past what we were taught because it is so buried within us, that we are not able to see it and take a moment to question it. There are so many things that were unconsciously passed along from parent to child or grandparent to child that we just accept as truth. Unless we take a long hard look at this part of our life, we are sure to repeat that which we were taught without question.
#4 Sniff Test - Our ControlWe can only control what we do in this moment. We do not have control of yesterday and we do not have control of tomorrow. This moment of "now" is what we can work with. Even in the movie, Back To The Future, the premise at the end was that no one's future exists because it hasn't been created yet. We are more in control of our life if we focus on this one moment and make choices that benefit us towards the long term.
#5 Sniff Test - Our ThoughtsEvery minute that goes by, our brain is producing thoughts. Most of the time, our thoughts are based upon past experiences as they filter everything we see in the present moment. If you're not actively trying to view how you see things, then you are being held hostage to your thoughts. You will find freedom if you learn to base your thoughts on what is truly before you, rather than through the filters of your past experiences.
#6 Sniff Test - Impact Of OthersIf you think that others can constantly impact your life and control it and manipulate it, then yes, I would agree with you that others run your life. However, we all make choices what we do and what we allow ourselves to be impacted by in a day. We can choose differently. Of course, a small child may not be able to make this choice as freely, but as adults, it is up to each one of us what we allow others to do to us. If we focus more on our self and changing our self for the better, it won't matter what people around us do.
#7 Sniff Test - Your SourceWhere do you get your input in a day? Is it from the media or social media or the water-cooler gossip? Is it from the chatter in a prayer meeting with the juicy details? There is the old familiar saying of garbage in, garbage out. What you take in is what you put out. It does not mean you have to be a cave dweller, but you need to be careful that you're not basking in the sea of things that do absolutely no good for humanity. Politics is one such example.
#8 Sniff Test - NumbingHow much do you really feel in your day? Are you fully alive? Are you aware of everything around you and what happens in a day? It is all too easy to numb out when the daily buildup of stress joins with all your experiences in life that build up to that moment. When we numb, we don't truly feel. We focus on being happy and unaware. We shun all parts of life and choose only ones we want. We are not fully alive, but lost in the sea of confusion and despair known as numbing.
#9 Sniff Test - The Individual Or ProgramAll too often, we swallow what someone or some program is saying as if it is THE truth for life. We don't see the blemishes or the parts that do not work for us. All we see is that everything the person or program say is true all of the time. We put the person or program on a pedestal. I often remember hearing ministers say that they should not be put on a pedestal, but unfortunately that is what happens. For the people or programs that we follow and believe are what we lean against and build our life upon. Just be careful you're not leaning against a column of air and space.
#10 Sniff Test - GrowthIf what we believe and follow keeps us doing the same thing and acting the same way and believing the same way, then are we growing? If we come through difficult moments and are still the same person we were before, is there growth? It is only when we allow ourselves to evolve and grow that we discover more of who we are and more of what it means to be a soul living in a human body.
These are just a few of the things that could be used as a sniff test on what we follow and believe. Heck, don't take my word for it. Evaluate it and scrutinize it. See what works for you and what does.
Blog Post And Images (c) 11/7/15 by Don Shetterly
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