On your spiritual journey, how often have you come across the concept of ‘limiting beliefs’? Many times, yes? All those motivational articles and blogs that tell you that you must ‘remove limiting beliefs’ in order to succeed. How you need to substitute your negative beliefs with positive beliefs. How about ‘beliefs create your reality’? Heard that one? Sure you have. So what are beliefs? How can we move beyond these artificial precepts and the limitations of belief?
What are Beliefs?
As Abraham-Hicks says, “A belief is merely a thought you keep thinking.” True enough in simplistic terms. A belief is a habit of thought. The problems come when those habits of thought turn into actions – or non-action. When belief transforms into conviction. While not wanting to venture into the realm of religious debate here, isn’t it true that all conflict and war stems from belief? One side is convinced their beliefs are right; the other thinks they are wrong and seeks to impose their beliefs over the other. And thus the first shot is fired, the first victim murdered and retaliation follows.
So a belief is made up of habitual thought, an assimilation of facts and evidence, coupled with an emotional connection with them. As we move through life, we are attracted to more of the stuff that confirms our beliefs. We ignore anything that doesn’t fit in with them. For instance, for years now, we believed that ‘eating fat makes you fat’. Science is now saying that isn’t necessarily true. However, people who still believe that fat makes them fat, will only see evidence that fat does indeed make them fat.
Our beliefs can serve us if they are inspiring and motivational. Yet they can just as often hinder our progress, limit our capacity to understand, filter perception and hide the truth. So wouldn’t it be better to cast aside the limitations of belief all together? To aim for a state of no-belief? Maybe that needs work?
Dispel Self-Limiting Beliefs?
Imagine you are two or three years old. You are conscious of the world around you, or at least your small part of the world. You haven’t yet learned to process thoughts, events and emotions into beliefs – you still react in the moment. You are primed to absorb what you see and hear. In other words, you are a blank slate. Ready for your parents, siblings, teachers, friends, and enemies to write on. Right now, you are in a state of no-belief. You laugh and you cry; you need hugs, food, security and not much more. Things are what they are. People are who they are, and the world is just the way it is. You can’t consciously change anything and neither do you want to. Wouldn’t it be great to be like that again?
If it were possible to wipe the slate of your belief system clean and start again, would you do it? You could add just the beliefs that represent the person you are. You could restrict yourself to beliefs that serve you well, that help you reach your goals, make you a better person, make you rich? That would work, wouldn’t it? Sound like a plan?
Many people spend their whole life attempting to do this. They read books, websites, take workshops, attend seminars, undergo therapy, tap themselves into a coma, and do all that they can to restructure their belief system. Usually they end up being the same person they always were, complete with all those old beliefs but with less money in their bank accounts.
What is No-Belief
No-belief is a state of non-judgment, of having no opinion, of surrender. In other words it is being in the moment. Try this: focus on the now moment. Just sit and let yourself be. Let the world be. Let time be. Let ambient sounds around you be. Let your thoughts be. Breathe and simply exist in this single nanosecond, and the next. Repeat for as long as you like.
For a short while there you suspended all your beliefs about anything. For those few seconds or minutes, you were you. The pure essence of you. You didn’t need to wrestle those dratted beliefs to the ground and kill them. You didn’t need to work at it. You didn't need to believe anything. There was no effort involved. The sky didn't fall. That’s no-belief. Could you do that again? And then maybe again later?
I Can’t Live Without My Beliefs
Probably not. It’s a human thing. We create a supportive grid system of thoughts and beliefs for ourselves. Not realizing that when we choose a course of action, we’re doing so according to our belief-grid. We are so entrenched within it that we don’t realize that we could be free of the grid and thus free to create a new reality.
But the Facts…
“I believe in fact,” you say. “I believe that the earth is a sphere, of course I do. I believe that rain falls from the clouds to the earth. I believe that Santa stops time in order to get his deliveries to all the boys and girls.” Facts are quite ephemeral things. We look upon facts as being the supporting structure of reality. Know those facts. Have all the knowledge at your fingertips. Facts is facts. Except when they are not. Facts that appear to be incontrovertible often aren’t. How often has science surprised itself by discovering that reality is not all it appears to be? Innumerable times; past, present and future. The more we know, the less we know. Thus be cautious when putting your belief, your faith, in facts. They are slippery little devils.
Adopt Temporary Beliefs
What if you could choose to adopt a belief only for the time it is useful to you? During a debate, you could choose a belief; in fact that’s what debating societies often do. Participants have to build up an argument for their side’s cause, whether or not the individual believes it or not. When it’s done, discard the belief – it has no further purpose to you.
A Day Without Belief
When you wake tomorrow, decide to have a day of no-belief. Every time you make a judgment, either thought or spoken, let it go. Say nothing, or “I have no opinion on that.” Pay attention to those sneaky little self-judgments too. Or rather, don’t pay attention. It’s okay, you won’t turn into a bad person. When faced with someone else’s opinion, smile a little smile and allow them to express whatever it is. Notice how gently you move through the day. Feel how peaceful you are without the limitation of belief. Deal with what is in front of you and don’t worry about the future. Worry is negative expectancy via belief. You don’t need it. Drop the words, “I have to…” and “I should…” or “I must…” Simply do what you have to do without attaching it to your beliefs.
One technique you can try is very simple. When you catch yourself thinking or speaking a belief, say “That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.”
- I can’t lose weight however hard I try – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I’m not good enough – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- People don’t like me – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I’m not important – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I can’t do this – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I haven’t got time – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- God tells me to… – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I should… – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I can’t find a job – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
- I have an idea, but it will never work – That’s only a belief; it’s not the truth.
So don’t believe all you hear and read about limiting beliefs – or positive ones, for that matter. Belief is a choice you can let go of in an instant. You’d better believe it.
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