This post is a continuation of the first article in this series. Find it here.
In order to examine our beliefs clearly, we must be able to look at them from a place of curiosity and detachment. Occupying this space, or rather, being in this state, allows us enough distance to clearly look at ourselves and our beliefs without being overly triggered. When we look at our beliefs from a place of attachment, we are prone to reacting very emotionally.
This reaction causes a multitude of problems:
- we continue to repeat the emotional reactions instead. This makes examination very difficult. Imagine trying to look under the hood of a car when the car is still running and the engine is smoking. You will not be able to see the parts clearly enough to be able to identify the broken parts.
- we reinforce the emotional reactions. This is like repeating the same motions that caused an injury. Instead of allowing a bone or muscle to heal we continue to inflict the same action that allows the pain and suffering to continue.
- we are more prone to blame and victimhood. To elaborate on the above example, it is like blaming someone for teaching us the motion that caused us injury. Instead of clearly understanding that we no longer have to repeat that motion, we only focus on how wrong they are for teaching us something so harmful.
We have to commit to looking at our wounds, neuroses, and limiting belief systems from a place of detachment. Our wounds, neuroses, and limiting beliefs do not constitute our identity. Most people are too attached to the idea of an identity anyway.
To get to this place of detachment, we have to commit to being calm and present. This sounds incredibly simple but for most people, this is incredibly difficult. That is okay. Being calm and present is something we must train ourselves to be able to do. Most of us spend our days in a manic haze; our minds are busy worrying about the next errand or analyzing some past event or wrongdoing that is usually not even relevant to what we are experiencing in the moment. To make this worse, most of that worrying and over-analyzing is accompanied by even more negative emotional momentum. The more you can remind yourself to come back to the moment and remain calm, the better your life experiences will be.
The best way to allow a state of calmness is through our breath. I emphasize the word allow because it is counterproductive to force ourselves into a state of calmness. Such an aggressive approach only results in more stress and takes us further from our calmness.
To use the breath, first we must become aware of the breath. Most people breathe too shallowly and quickly. Try to breathe fully, drawing the air deep down into your belly and holding that fullness for a moment. Then exhale slowly and hold that emptiness for a moment. Focus on really feeling this breathing and the different sensations that accompany the inhale, exhale, and moments in between. This focus will teach you to be more present and detached. You are surely not emotionally reacting to your inhale and exhale, yes? If this prove uncomfortable, be more gentle with your breathing. Do not let discomfort awaken a wave of frustration and anger.
Learn to embrace this breathing for at least 3 minutes. This can be an eternity for some. Boredom and impatience might flood your awareness. This is ok. Simply continue to breathe while paying attention to how these feelings affect your body. Does the boredom and impatience feel like a tightness behind your neck or an itch in your skull? Take note of it and just let it go away on its own with your exhales.
Once you feel more calm and present, look at your list of limiting beliefs and read one slowly. Let it sink it. While trying to maintain that same state if calm and presence, observe how that belief affects your body. What emotions does it stir up? Where do you feel these emotions? What sensations are they causing? Allow them to build up if they must. Cry if you need to. Just try to remain present and aware. Allow these emotional energies to run their course through you. Trust that each exhale will allow them to move through you so that they can be expelled. Trust that you can breathe them out.
While you do this, your mind will most likely fire up its old narratives. Allow this to happen, but do not feed those thoughts. Focus on the sensations in your body. Doing this will strengthen your ability to stay present and is vital for being able to process your emotions, experiences, and beliefs properly. Sometimes people are very afraid to be alone with their thoughts and think of what hurts them. The truth is that avoiding these thoughts only makes them worse. You have to confront them and “go through the fire” in order to resolve your issues.
You have to be okay with feeling discomfort. The discomfort you feel during confrontation is nothing compared to the total ache and pain of living a life without self reflection.
Give yourself ample time to practice this process. Be very patient and do not expect to resolve these feelings in a day. If you have a lot of pent up emotions that need to be released, this process will take a while. This is okay. Imagine how crazy you would feel if all you did was this release process? Healing is best a little at a time. Do it at a manageable pace.
In the next post, I will talk about insights and cover the mental part of limiting beliefs.
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Have a great day.