“[Shraddha] is literally “that which is placed in the heart”: all the beliefs we hold so deeply that we never think to question them. It is the set of values, axioms, prejudices, and prepossessions that colors our perceptions, governs our thinking, dictates our responses, and shapes our lives, generally without our even being aware of its presence and power.”
–Eknath Easwaran, Introduction to his translation of the Bhagavad Gita
We all have shraddha. We are made of it. Our system, or structure of beliefs literally creates the multi-dimensional beings that we are. And like breath, we exhale our shraddha, our foundational beliefs, into the space around us. They swirl through space, permeating the atmosphere, and are absorbed into the fabric of our lives. Then we inhale, and we take in the collective shraddha, the beliefs that silently pervade our culture, subliminally, under the radar of waking consciousness.
Below the mental hierarchy of beliefs, with the most fixed and solid at the bottom and the most fluid and loosely held at the top, our emotional being has its own shraddha. Less linear but more intransigent. It wells up through your constructed mental reality like mud between your toes, or like an unstoppable volcano of molten stories – self-reinforcing and too blazing hot to approach, too fused to disentangle. Deeper still lies the shraddha of the sense mind. The rules and laws of material reality filter into us and stamp our consciousness with rigidity, impossibility, death.