Pondering … Choosing What We Believe

How many times have you heard or thought about something that piqued your interest to a point of excitement? And, how many times have you, after hearing about this new idea or thing, actually pursued it?

I recently had the opportunity to lead some people in a guided meditation. Half of the group practiced meditation regularly, while the other half was much less familiar or comfortable with the practice. The goal of the meditation was to take them to a place deep within, where they could hear the ‘whispers of their soul’. As soon as I mentioned we were going to do a meditation, one lady reacted very strongly, and very negatively. She proceeded to tell everyone how much she hated meditation because she couldn’t do it and never got anything from it. I took the group into it anyway in hopes they would each reach the point of ‘whispers’.

When we finished, each person was asked to write down their experience; what they received so we could talk about it. I noticed the one lady wrote something down very quickly. When everyone was ready, I asked her to read what she wrote down. Picking up her pad of paper, she read “nothing”. We spent the next 15-20 minutes talking about how we reinforce that which we choose to believe.

For this lady, the initial emotional reaction to the idea of doing a meditation came swift and with great urgency behind it. It gripped her so fully you could see the fear that drove the initial reaction, and the anger that quickly followed. So the question became ‘why do you not want to do this?’ Both the fear and anger were obvious, but where did they come from? What belief laid so entrenched behind it?

When asked about her reaction, her anger reddened her face while she repeated her previous statements of hating it and being unable to do it. She commented as well that her mind was constantly on the go; not stopping and preventing her from hearing or seeing anything.

I began to wonder … does the mind chatter to prevent you from going within? Does it do that to prevent you from moving forward? Or, does it chatter to reinforce old, worn out messages deposited in your psyche long, long ago? Is the mind the repository of all that has been in the past? Does it work to hold it’s position and prevent you from experiencing, engaging, or otherwise sampling something new? Something that may perhaps replace something old?

You hear people say, “Don’t try to change him/her. They are set in their beliefs/ways.” If you believe you cannot do something, then you have set your limit. On the other hand, if you believe you can do anything, then what is to stop you from achieving whatever you set out to accomplish?

If you believe in possibilities, are you limiting your potential? When someone compliments you on a job well done, do you think about all of the things you could have done to have made it better? Or, do you walk away feeling really good about yourself and the job, and think about some other possibilities that might arise that you could handle just as well?

When thinking about doing something outside of your comfort zone, once the excitement of it wears off, do you focus on all of the things that could go wrong, or do you think about the excitement of the unknown? When looking to stretch your current capabilities, do you find yourself feeling excited about the possibilities or do you fear you might not be able to complete or accomplish the task? Or, does your mind quickly reinforce the idea that you cannot do this so don’t even try; or, does it entice you into trying something new or again and filling you with optimism?

Going back to the lady and meditation, was she afraid of succeeding or failing? Or, was she afraid of the ‘whispers’ she might hear? Did her anger arise from her mind’s resistance, or because she might succeed, which would cause a change in her belief about meditation and her ability to do it? Was there a message from long, long ago that said she shouldn’t, for whatever reason?

Everyday we choose what we want to believe. Thousands upon thousands of times a day we choose to reinforce beliefs that have been handed down to each of us. Beliefs you never give a second thought to, e.g., what you like to eat, how you would react in certain situations, how to pick a car or buy gas, or whether there is such a thing as space and time. When was the last time you looked at one of your fears; dissected its root, cast out its shadow and recognized the limitations it had placed on you?


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