Belief Change 101

Raison d’Etre

INTRODUCTION

The world is made of beliefs. Everything you see, hear, touch, taste, and feel is created from or interpreted by beliefs. Some of them are unique to you, but the majority originate from your environment. You were born into a world full of beliefs, and as you grew up, you were socialized into accepting those beliefs as true. Basically, we all live in a world of other people's ideas, and somewhere along the way, we've taken them as our own. We've agreed to the beliefs and take them as 'the truth.'

As we grow up, it's very common to forget that we've accepted these belief systems as the 'right' answer. We forget that they are subjective and malleable. Then, at some point in our lives, for whatever reason, we decide to change something about ourselves—lose weight, earn more money, find a partner, leave a partner, have more compassion, become more intelligent, get more work done, remember our dreams, etc. This motivation to improve is a fundamental characteristic of consciousness. We work hard at making these changes, struggling against ourselves, hoping to surmount a lifetime of conditioning and habit. Sometimes, we are successful, but most times after a few hours, days, or weeks, we revert back to our old familiar patterns.

But what is it that prevents us from transforming into the people we wish to become? Why is it that Jeff can't stop eating Twinkies, and, therefore, can't lose that extra 108lbs? Why is it that despite her best intentions, Emily can't find a way to be nice to anyone, even to herself? Why is it that Rich fails to become rich, despite all his talent and intelligence?

The answer to each of these is belief. Deep down, the person has a belief that conflicts with the change they want make in their lives. It's very much like the Titantic.

Even though there is much concern over global warming and shrinking polar caps, the frigid waters of the poles are still littered with icebergs. But in 1912, when the Titanic set sail from Southampton, England bound for New York City, there were even more of these frozen behemoths. The Titanic was the pinnacle of its day, the highest standard in luxury and extravagance. It was a testament to the beauty that mankind could create, the collaboration of so many lives, so much human effort, into the construction of a floating wonderland. After setting sail, Captain Edward John Smith received warning of icebergs further south than predicted. Being careful, he deviated his course into warmer water, believing that was enough to avoid these dangerous ice-cubes. But he was wrong, and the luxury liner—the crème de la crème of haute-couture—barreled straight into one of these floating mountains of ice. Suddenly, the hopes and dreams of so many, the futures, the lives of these people, all of that was dashed away into oblivion because of an iceberg, only one-ninth of which was visible to human eyes. The rest of it, the part that did the most damage, lay silently underwater, hidden from sight.

B eliefs are somethin g like those icebergs —we are only conscious of a tiny fraction of their influence in our lives. The rest lays submerged in the subconscious, purveyors of unimaginable power, driving our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. And sometimes our futures, our lives, the opulence, the abundance that we've created or wish to create slams

up against that lurking danger, sinking us and our dreams. And just like the passengers on the Titanic, our intentions sink.

Basically, people fail to change, fail to create their desires because one, some, or all of their beliefs contradict with what it is they wish to obtain or to become.

But, everything's not lost.. What we often forget in our world of boxes, labels, and classifications is that we are incredible creatures, that human beings have an enormous creative potential. And that's what this book is about. If you read this guide, follow through with the instruction, and persevere in your desire to change, soon, you will be amazed and abundantly rewarded for your efforts. Make no mistake, there is no magic pill. There is no one technique that is going to immediately transform you into the ideal version of yourself. What this book suggests is entirely possible for you, but it will entail your discipline and commitment. Reading this guide, though insightful, will be of minimal benefit. It is crucial to your success that you take action. Nothing less will accomplish your goals.

And that's what separates those who fail from those who succeed—consistent action.

RAISON D'ETRE

The purpose of this guide is to offer you techniques, ideas, and beliefs that will enable you to live your life in whatever way you decide. The point is to put you back into a control position, rather than continuing to allow your habits and routines to dictate how you feel, think, and behave. This guide is better digested slowly and thoroughly. It might be easy to rush through it in one or two sittings, but you will derive the most benefit if you read a small section, then stop for a few hours or a day. Come back, and read it again. You're intending to change your beliefs, and it's a good idea to be prepared for such a worthy task. So without further ado, let's begin.

For the information in this guide to be of any use to you, you must commit to the following:

3 TENATS TO ENACT CHANGE:

  1. Put yourself at the top – Unless you put yourself at the top of your priority list there will always be a reason or excuse for you not to change. This may feel uncomfortable because the media has bombarded you with the notion that you have to put everyone else before yourself, and sometimes that is a gracious, healthy thing to do. But other times it can turn you into a doormat. It's kinda like being on a plane. You know how they do the safety check, and they tell everyone that in case of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down from the compartments? And they tell everyone: Please put your own mask on before helping others. That's good advice, even outside of a plane, because the most well-intentioned, powerful person won't be able to help as well or as much until they've taken care of themselves first. So take a deep breath and put yourself at the top of your priority list.
  2. The only thing you have to do in this world is die. Everything else is a choice. Although it may be uncomfortable to admit, we're surrounded by choices. But we often place ourselves in the victim-role (i.e. not having a choice) because it's easier than making a difficult decision—like asking someone out or finding a more fulfilling job or doing what it takes to create wealth. Always remember that you have a choice. You always have a choice, and if you really want to change, you'll exercise it.
  3. You're capable of much more than you give yourself credit for. I'm not sure if that's reassuring or not, but it's true. Human beings are creatures of comfort and routine, and this means we often sell ourselves short, because growing, achieving more requires that we broaden our horizons, that we forsake, if only for a moment, that comfort and those routines. We take the easy or

known route, because taking the hard way or walking into the unknown is usually frightening. But take heart, you are capable of many amazing things of which you've never dreamed.

Those are the big three. Of course, we're going to cover more, but those are the three fundamentals to enable change. They are a source of empowerment, and to succeed, you'll need to swallow them.

Although most of us go through our day-to-day life, convinced the voice inside chattering away is the real 'us', the majority of who we are lies beneath the surface. The subconscious mind determines most of our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. We're programed—socialized—to act, think, and believe in a certain way. As we grow up, we take this socialization to be the objective truth, instead of its real place as a subjective reality. Associating boys with blue and girls with pink is not essential to the healthy development of any gender, but we forget that it's subjective, that the only thing holding us back from associating boys with green and girls with red is our socialized expectations...our beliefs.

Most of these associations reside in the subconscious mind. Talking about, believing differently with the conscious mind will do little to change the motivating beliefs that lie buried under the years of your life. That's why so many people fail to change—they hit the iceberg. The point of this course is to familiarize you with your subconscious mind. Not only with how it works, but how you can develop a relationship with that often-neglected other you. Basically, we want to increase the level of access we have to our unconscious minds so that we may remove, add, or change existing beliefs. You're going to re-shape the majority of the iceberg that's hidden beneath the water.

The human brain is an amazing creation, a processor of incalculable speeds and an index capable of arranging the enormous amount of information it gets through the five senses into meaningful patterns. What we experience of this information in our daily lives is just the tip of the iceberg. The subconscious filters most of the information, effectively making it invisible to us, beyond the scope of our conscious minds, which is a totally normal thing. If our conscious minds were aware of every bit of information that the subconscious was processing, we'd be overwhelmed and, probably, very soon to be insane. It's just too much.

But it wasn't always like this...

A baby's brain is like a sponge, absorbing everything around it with absolutely no value judgment at all. There is no filter to accept or reject the sensory information, to say that this is 'good,' that is 'bad.' Everything is accepted, and this is where the oldest beliefs are formed. During the first two years of life, the human brain emits electrical impulses, brainwaves, at a certain rhythm called delta. This state could also be called unconscious awareness, where all information received is accepted. The doors are wide open. If we imagine the human mind as a garden, then a baby's brain would be the freshly tilled, ultra-fertile field of the Amazon basin. And in these first 2 years, most belief-seeds are planted. This period in everyone's life is very influential in determining the composition of the personality.

99% of human beings spend a significant part of their sleep time in this delta state, during

which, we have the most access to the subconscious, making it a great time to change beliefs but, usually, we're completely unconscious during this period!

From around 2 years to 6 years, the dominate brain waves change from delta to theta. And here, the belief-seeds begin to sprout. The child's speech and behavior reflects the early experiences she was exposed to. This change of states mirrors the continued development of the personality. The children begin to understand that they are separate consciousness in a world full of other separate consciousnesses, and we can see this in their, sometimes, obsession with saying 'no.'

Most adults pass through the theta state on their way to sleep, or if they are able to meditate deeply. During this state, the person is capable of accelerated learning, profound healing, and other seemingly miraculous acts. It's in this theta state that we have the most opportunity to make changes in the subconscious.

From 6 – 12 years old, the child's mind enters the alpha state. Now, the garden is full of life, some of it healthy—beautiful flowers, nurturing fruit—but there are also some weeds—behaviors, and beliefs that have already begun to choke the spontaneity and joy out of the child. We can see that the core personality is almost fully developed. Adults experience the alpha state in moments of deep relaxation, concentrated focus, and light meditation. It's also space of accelerated learning, often referred to as 'the zone.'

After 12 years of life, the average human brain spends most of its waking time in the beta state. Usually, by now, the garden is wild and overgrown. Some of the flowers blossom in bright colors, but a lot of the healthy plants are choked out by resilient weeds—habits of self-doubt, of defensiveness, of sabotage. It's these weeds that we'll learn how to identify and pluck from our gardens. In beta, we're awake, concentrated, and have minimal contact with the subconscious mind. To mix metaphors, most of us have forgotten there's an iceberg exerting its influence. The beta state is associated with analysis, focus, or even just thinking about your external environment.

Each night and, to a limited level, during the day, we all cycle through these different brainwaves. At a delta level, the subconscious is much more malleable because the conscious mind is either turned off or so minimized as to be unable to filter sensory information. But delta is also the most difficult to reach. To get there and to do change work requires the help of a competent hypno- therapist.

As humans age and this progression through brainwaves occurs, the mind is constructing its map of the world. It's answering fundamental questions and building the rest of its learning based on those answers.

Is the world safe or dangerous?
How do I avoid pain and increase pleasure?

Is this my territory?
Am I at the top of the pack or the bottom?

page7image12878032

Usually, these questions aren't so
clear or concise in our minds, but, if you
reduce enough, you'll find the mind has
answered them in its own language,
personal to you, at sometime during its
development. These answers, along with
a myriad of others, are what the mind
believes about the world. But most of
that is long forgotten. Once chosen, the
mind doesn't need to keep the beliefs
conscious. Slowly, then quickly, they
drift down into the cold waters of the
subconscious, forgotten in our everyday
lives. All we have left to show for them is an inferiority complex, a weight problem, or a constant looking over the shoulder in search of some expected danger.

At the heart of most beliefs lies the fundamental ingredient for life as we know it—language. In fact, for all human intents and purposes, language is reality. Sure, maybe there's something objective outside your experience of it, but the fact remains that you can only know your interpretation of that supposed thing. You can't know the world without your senses or your mind interpreting that experience. Your mind filters sensory information to create a construct of reality, and most of those experiences are filtered through language. We describe, narrate, and judge all that happens around us. The few instances of experience that preclude language are usually relegated to the insane, the mystics, or our dreams. It's a very common phenomenon for the 'I' to mistake itself for the entirety of the mind, leaving the vast subconscious neglected.

Throughout this book, I'm including various exercises that will help you go through the process of belief change. Some are fun, some are insightful, all of them are important. They will help you to gain a bit of perspective, and, sometimes, to loosen the grip on your beliefs, and it's a good idea to complete them all. If you really want to change, then you really have to do something about it. How much action will determine the level of your success. To make the most of this course, which could help you to make the most of your life, it will be very helpful if you write about your experience in a notebook dedicated to belief changes. Sometimes, you might write the actual exercises down in your notebook (which I will refer to as a change-book), and other times you might write your observations, feelings, and thoughts about the exercises or larger process as we go through it.

Let's begin with something easy.

Breathe in, breathe out:

One of the most effective avenues of altering your state-of-mind and approaching that point where it's possible to change your beliefs is often overlooked, because it's so commonplace. The breath. It's not just your brain waves that change as you grow up. Your breathing changes from a deep, diaphragmatic breath, to a shallow, upper-chest breath. In many systems of thought and many cultures, the breath is the first place to begin when exploring the inner world. So take a few moments to get to know your breath. If you've already done this, please participate and do it again. This will only further your success.

First, get to know your 'natural' breath. How do you breathe? Where does it start, and where does it stop? Is it long or short? Deep or shallow? Relaxed or tense? Avoid judgments. Throughout this guide, we want to put our judgment on the shelf, replace it with observation and acceptance, two key qualities to effective change-work.

Second, play with your breath. Observe what happens as you incorporate your diaphragm. To do this, sit straight and comfortable. Place a hand just below your navel and one on your chest. Every time you inhale, intend for your lower hand and the stomach below it to push outwards, while your upper hand stays still. As you exhale, intend for your lower hand and stomach to pull inwards, while your upper hand again stays motionless. This is diaphragmatic breathing. Continue breathing this way for a few minutes. How does it make you feel? Observe how you change. The more you do it, the better you will feel and the more influence you'll have over your inner world. If you took any one thing from this book, this is numero uno, the big tamale. It's simple and easy to blow off, but you can use diaphragmatic breathing to calm down, center yourself, or just relax at any time, in any situation.

Third, for comparison, sit tall and breathe in-and-out through your nose as quickly as you can, pumping the air with your diaphragm, like a bellows. Only do this if you're of sound mind and body, and only do it for half a minute or so. How do you feel? Again, observe what and how you change. This breath can be used for a quick jolt of energy or to sharpen your attention in the present moment.

Take another few minutes to yourself and write about this in your change-book.

Even if you didn't notice any real differences from your 'normal' awareness, you've just changed your mental state. And altering your state is the critical key to effective belief change. Effectively, you want to learn how to put yourself into a trance. I'm not talking about stage hypnotists or the circus side- show. Believe it or not, trance is a normal part of everyday life. Simply, trance is a highly focused state- of-mind. Sure, that can include the gentleman on stage acting like a chicken at the local comedy club, and it does include David Blaine freezing himself. But it also includes watching a movie or the television, reading a good book, making love to your partner, going for a jog. Trance states occur frequently on monotonous drives, i.e., a road trip, as well as on the dance floor. They also occur when you're working out, whether it's doing your morning yoga routine, swinging kettlebells, or the elliptical machine. People also enter into trances when they're cooking, eating, as they fall asleep, or just sitting quietly on the beach, listening to the waves.

As you may understand, trance covers a wide range of experience. Each trance is different than the others, but the one thing they have in common is that the person is so highly focused as to be unaware of other phenomenon outside that focus.

While driving have you ever failed to recall the previous 50 miles? Were you ever surprised that the sun was already setting on your beach vacation? Did you ever wonder how you managed to run for 13 miles? Or even just 2?

Unless you're brainwashed or physically or mentally disabled as to make it impossible, you have gone and continue to go into trance every day. So what happens during a trance? It's simple really. You focus on something, say your breathing, and if you do it long enough, the brain waves in your mind slow down. They drift through the range of beta to alpha, and if you practice enough, they'll eventually make it to theta. This movement from beta to a different brain wave is a trance, and in a trance, you are more receptive to sensory information as well as internal thoughts. It's a great place to make changes.

Remembering previous trance states:

We've all gone into trance. Now, let's remember one. I've just listed plenty of examples, and any memory of those will do. The more vivid the memory the better. Spend a few minutes with this, find the deepest trance. Can you remember a time when you were daydreaming, completely lost in your own internal experience? Usually, the most shocking moments when you 'come back' to collective reality indicate that, previously, you were in a particular deep trance.

Once you've picked one memory, spend some time with it. Sit quietly in a safe place, close your eyes, and remember it. Remember as many details, as much of the experience as you can. Play it over in your head again and again. When the memory is as intense as you can muster, congratulate yourself. You've just put yourself back into a trance!

How? By recalling any vivid memory, your mind puts itself, to a degree, back into the same state it experienced in the memory. That's the only way it can remember anything, by re-experiencing it in some way. This is the easiest way to go into a trance, and it can be very powerful, indeed.

When you've narrowed your long list (if your list isn't long, you're neglecting some experiences), to your one experience. Write about it in your change-book, and periodically, come back to it and remember it. Notice what changes take place in your experience as you go into a trance. The more attention you pay to this, the more you'll be able to do it at will.

(Next Lesson) GETTING TO KNOW THE OTHER YOU
Back to Belief Change 101

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