01.03.2011

Live Your Belief

Belief is the foundation of our life and our inner wisdom guides us better than anything else
Over the past 12 months, I have written in NOVA about Trust, Intention, Intuition and other related topics but they all come back to Belief. This is a very personal topic for me at the present time because I've been dealing with a health issue since last October. Here's some of my journey by way of illustration of the topic.

Self Belief
My health issue became evident last October and, ever since then, I have been seeing doctors and having tests almost non-stop. Having worked on living with total trust over the past 25 years, all my beliefs had to be put to the test. I went within for the answer and the answer was that I'm not seriously sick. The biggest enemy in these situations is fear, but I am mentally very strong and I refused to believe the alternative. To me, it was just that simple. I used every bit of positive evidence at my disposal - I researched my symptoms, of course I consulted the stars, I had kinesiology, I took herbal treatments, I followed my inner wisdom, I began seeing "signs" everywhere which reinforced my resolution, I even had dreams about it. Messages came from everywhere - in November's NOVA a quote from Caroline Myss said, "Only the soul has the power to bring the body back to life", I saw Eat, Pray, Love which also had a lot of relevant insights for me. And then these quotes came through Lessons from the Source on Facebook:

"Worry is one of the most destructive emotions. Worry implies that something can happen in the physical world that is not for your highest good. It is the assumption that something 'bad' could happen to you. This negative emotion is not consistent with a God-centered consciousness.

"It is easy for you to identify and give thanks for the major blessings in your life, and your gratitude for them is very important. But what is harder for you to understand is that everything in your life - every person, every encounter, everything that happens to you, everything that you can see or feel or sense in any way - is a blessing.

"The challenge here, of course, is in seeing everything as a blessing. Human consciousness finds hatred and anger and pain and despair and illness and all of the other 'negatives' of the world to be anything but a blessing.

"It is agonisingly difficult for you to find the blessings in life's most difficult moments, but it is essential that your faith remind you of the importance of acting as if they were there. Offer thanks for them, even when you have no idea what those blessings might be."

The synchronicity in my life has been amazing, partly because I needed it and partly because I was open to it. One thing I didn't do was talk to close friends and family about my situation because I can't stand to worry or hurt people, plus I had to do a lot of internal work which meant not scattering my energy with too much input.

If you have true trust, you don't do any of the following:

keep checking and second-guessingworryingbeing afraidtrying to control

So, I haven't allowed any doubt in the face of all the medical intervention thrown at me. It has taken prodigious mental effort and spiritual work to get to this point. I feel really proud of myself but I still have to face treatment for the problem. As awful as it's all been, I know I have gained a lot of gifts and growth.

I feel much stronger in myself and feel now I could face anything in the future. These are the lessons that I've been preaching for years and have been tested to the max over the last several months:

total self beliefwe can only attract what we need to learn fromintuition can never lead us astrayalways trust your inner wisdomnever hand your power over to anyone, no matter how convincingtrue happiness is accessible at all times, under any circumstancesNEVER worrylive in the present momentnever give in to fearawareness of negative sides of ourselves operating side by side with positivity

I'm not special, I just work a bit harder than most people to live my beliefs. Everyone can deal with life's challenges in the same way.

Self Doubt
This is the greatest enemy and hindrance to any kind of belief in life. It is much easier to practise because you will be supported by all the negativity around you. To stand firm in the Light and believe when all the evidence proves you wrong - that takes real courage. We doubt ourselves because we don't value our own judgement. We flounder when life throws challenges our way, as it always will. We lurch from one bad decision to another, caught in a vortex of emotion and confusion. We hand over our power to others, too afraid to think for ourselves in case we're wrong. Some caution in decision making is prudent, but if we allow ourselves to be immobilised by doubt, we'd never do anything at all.

The best way to overcome self doubt is to practise working with inner wisdom, listening in the silence to the voice within which can never lead us wrong. The mind is full of faulty information and the heart will lead us only to our fleeting desires, but intuition is linked to the God-force and thus, contains only truth. Self doubt, like fear, is crippling, and leads to an empty, unfulfilled existence. Indecision, too, is very stressful. Once you've thought a matter through, trust yourself enough to act. Dithering and procrastinating will only add to the doubt.

It's all connected to self esteem. Arrogance is not to be recommended, but simple self value and calm resolve most definitely is.

Core Beliefs
These are the deep seated beliefs garnered in childhood. We can gain them in a number of ways - what we hear, see, receive, don't get, pick up from what is implied. By the time we go to school, we have literally thousands of beliefs tucked away in our subconscious, and they range from the basics of life like home, family, love, marriage, work, money to minor issues such as types of food.

Some therapists liken the storage of these beliefs to carrying them around in an invisible suitcase; I like to say we carry them inside us as a series of images like flash cards, which we use as terms of reference on our journey through life. If something occurs that doesn't match the picture, it takes us out of our comfort zone, and we either reject it at the start or wreck it later.

To illustrate, here's an example in the area of relationships - let's say a girl grew up in a family where she saw continual fighting. Her belief about marriage will be that it involves continual fighting. If she meets a guy from a similar background and they date, then marry, they will probably have a long lasting marriage full of - continual fighting!

On the other hand, if she meets someone calm and placid who doesn't want to argue and fight, she might be attracted to him at first and even love the peace, but, after a while, it will cause an itch she just has to scratch. She will gradually become so uncomfortable within the relationship, she will have to either leave or stay and sabotage it by provoking what she believes is inevitable - fighting.

You see, it's a vicious circle, which can only be broken by understanding how core beliefs work and identifying one's own. This is not simple, unfortunately. By the very nature of core beliefs, they are buried deep. They were learned subconsciously so they have to be released subconsciously.

But there is hope! Core beliefs can be unearthed by looking at the physical reality of your world - what does it look like? Taking the five key areas of life - home, relationships, money, health and work - do you have a home that is a comfortable haven? Are your relationships positive and healthy? Do you suffer from financial woes? Are you in good health? Do you do work you love?

Usually, there will be one negative area that stands out. Mine this as a rich source of information about your belief structure. For example, if you are always ill, what is your belief about health? Did you have a constantly sick parent? Did you get sick as a child to get attention? What negative ideas might you be holding about health/illness? Trace it back and, like an unbroken thread from the past, it will lead you straight to the answer.

So, belief is the foundation of everything we do. When our lives are not working well, we need to look to the cause from within ourselves. Ask yourself, 'What belief led me to this place, this relationship, this decision, this mess, etc?'

If I asked you for a definition of love, you'd probably say it's a warm feeling towards another, caring, contributing towards the happiness of others and so on. But your core belief about love might be quite different. Perhaps you learned in childhood that love hurts, love traps, love disappoints, love fails, love leaves. How then might you choose relationships? How then could you be happy?

It's powerful stuff and most of us are walking around totally unaware of how we're being driven by this belief system which, in turn, creates the patterns we live by. That's why we keep repeating the same mistakes, the same self defeating habits, the same harmful behaviours. The desire to learn more about core beliefs is a good start, but it will take patience and effort to uncover them bit by bit. It's probably impossible to ever reach down into the deeper recesses of the mind and know everything about ourselves, but it's worth getting as much as we can. Knowledge is power and awareness is crucial to mental wellbeing.

The most important core belief of all is the one we hold about ourselves. If you have a negative self belief, it will permeate into every facet of your daily life whether you know it or not. You can't be successful if your internal image is of yourself as a loser. As with relationships, you might be all right for a while, but, somehow, you'll spoil things and be left wondering why, like people who break up from a lovely relationship out of fear. Risk is easy when you have nothing, but terrifying when you get something you really want and there's a chance you might lose it. So people jump ship prematurely to avoid the risk of loss or rejection. I find all this terribly sad because it is completely avoidable.

Detachment
What has this got to do with belief? It goes back to trust. Trust must be 100% or it really isn't trust. As I said at the start of this article, I live by an extreme form of trust and it has never failed me. Fear is the antithesis of trust. When you truly trust, there can be no fear. One cancels the other out. That's why I'm not afraid about my health. That's not to say bad things can't happen to me but even if they do, there's a good reason for it. It has something to teach me, a lesson, a gift so how can I not be accepting and grateful?

Detachment is part of this process because trust requires that we step out of emotion and observe our own experiences almost as a stranger would. I learnt about trust and detachment from Florence Scovel-Shinn who wrote The Game of Life, a life changing book for me. These are not attributes that came easily to me, but in embracing them, I have found a peace and acceptance I never knew I was capable of. People often ask me if I'm a Buddhist and I have to say, in fact, I'm not religious at all, but many of the Buddhist tenets are life affirming, the practice of which brings inner peace and spiritual love for all, the importance of which we saw in last month's Compassion theme.

My message in departing this theme is - always be brave. We are powerful beyond measure and happiness is available to us as a constant. It's nothing we have to earn or manufacture. We attract what we believe so believe good things.

Ref: Lessons from the Source: A Spiritual Guidebook for Navigating Life's Journey Jack Armstrong

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