2012 is the year to know and live the truth of who we are. All that stands in the way is our limiting, false beliefs. Once these beliefs are seen for what they are and released, what’s left is simply the love that I AM.
Virtually all of us developed a wide variety of limiting beliefs when we were very young. Many of us formed a deep underlying belief along the lines of, “I’m not good enough,” or “There’s something wrong with me.” Many also developed beliefs such as, “If I am simply myself, then people won’t like me,” or “If I tell the truth, then I will be attacked.”
Such beliefs led to the development of our false self or personality. (This word is derived from a Greek term meaning “mask.”) We went through life pretending to be someone other than the Love that we are. We played it safe, holding back from expressing our Power and sharing our Truth.
Many of us, including me, were propelled on a spiritual journey, seeking to get away from the pain of the false life we were living. This worked to a point. Like many of you, I was blessed to have profound experiences of awakening to who I AM. But, my deep, false beliefs and the fear they engendered never fully went away. I bounced back and forth from experiencing myself as a Divine Being to feeling like a scared little boy.
In recent years, I finally was ready to deeply examine and free myself of the false beliefs which, after all these years of spiritual practice, were still profoundly limiting me. I discovered a wonderful process called “The Work,” which was developed by Byron Katie. Through trial and error, I added in some other elements to create a extremely effective model for creating deep, sustainable shifts. Here is a step-by-step guide to this model.
Identify a belief which appears to be limiting you or causing suffering. Take a few conscious, grateful breaths. Feel gratitude for the chance to explore this belief. Then ask yourself the following questions:
1. Is it true? (Answer simply “yes” or “no.”)
2. Am I totally, absolutely sure it’s true? (Only necessary if you answered “yes” to #1.)
3. How do I react to this belief? (It’s important to look for an answer to this question in your body or emotions, not your mind. Find the place in your body, where the reaction is strongest, then explore this reaction as deeply as you can.)
4. Who would I be without this belief? (Again, directly experience the answer in your body or emotions as deeply as you can.)
5. How do I react to this belief? (Going back and forth between these two questions at least a couple times is very powerful. After you’ve deeply experienced your reaction to this belief, invite fresh energy into the center of the pain or contraction as you inhale, then release it on exhalation.)
6. Who would I be without this belief?
7. Could I let it go? (Is letting go of the belief a possibility?)
8. Would I let it go? (If letting go of it is a possibility, would I choose to do so?)
10. What is a new affirming, supportive belief I could substitute for the one I am letting go of?
11. What will my life be like with this new belief? (Close your eyes to see, hear or feel images from your new life.)
12. What can I do in the next week toward moving forward into this new chapter of my life?
This approach is built around asking yourself questions. I’ve found that self-inquiry is an extremely powerful tool. When you ask yourself questions with genuine desire to know the truth (not simply to validate a preconceived opinion), you are opening yourself to the possibility of real change. The key is to look for the answers in your body, not in your mind. The most powerful answers will come as a direct experience, not in words or concepts.
The first question, “Is it true?” is a critical one. When I am guiding clients through this process, I often throw a pen in the air, then ask, “If I throw this pen in the air 100 times, how many times will it come down to the floor.” The answer is, of course, 100 times. That’s the definition of true I use in this process. A belief is true only is if it 100% accurate. Realizing a belief is not true is deeply liberating. We begin to see that unlike the law of gravity, which we are always subject to (at least as long as we make our home on this Earth), the belief we are exploring is just a thought. That thought only has power over us to the extent we accept it as reality. Once we question it, it begins to lose its hold on us. We can then make a conscious choice of whether or not to keep that belief.
The last question, “What can I do in the next week toward moving forward into this new chapter of my life?” is also vital to the success of the process. There is an old saying that, “Actions speak louder than words.” If you go through this process, but continue to act in a way that is consistent with your old belief, the work you’ve done to shift it will be undermined. On the other hand, if you immediately begin to take actions consistent with the new belief, you’ll build some serious momentum toward a deep and lasting shift.
If a belief is deeply embedded and held in place by fear or other strong emotions, it probably won’t disappear forever after the first time you use this process. If you go through this process honestly and deeply, you will almost certainly weaken the belief. Most likely, it will come up again to challenge you.
When this happens, the key is to be grateful that you’re aware of the belief, rather than unconsciously falling back into it. From this place of grateful awareness, you can simply chose to refocus on your new empowering belief or, if the old belief still has a strong hold on you, go through the process again. As many times as the limiting belief, comes up, continue to meet it with grateful awareness. It will get weaker and weaker until you are free of it.
The more these old, false beliefs are released, the more the truth of who you are will shine through. You will be a beacon of peace in these changing times.