Many deeply held beliefs we have about ourselves and our world stem from the original mistaken concept that we are separate from our Source, separate from our good and separate from each other. We were born into this belief system which has been reinforced by our culture, and now accept it as our reality.
This deeply rooted sense of separation gives rise to a variety of erroneous core beliefs. These beliefs are perceptions of how life works, and are not necessarily facts.
At first glance many perceptions appear to be true -- we can even quote statistics to support them -- but upon closer examination we find they are not inherently factual and, more importantly, need not be true for us.
Consider the following examples of common erroneous core beliefs:
* Life is hard and then you die
* The odds are against you
* All good things must come to an end
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* You must compete to get ahead
* You have to work very hard to make enough money to live comfortably
* Good single men (women) are hard to find
* Romance dies after marriage
* True love is found only in fairy-tales
* The older I get, the more prone to illness I am
* There's not enough to go around
Or, any variation of the "I'm not enough " syndrome, such as:
I'm not educated enough, rich enough, talented enough, young enough, well enough, thin enough, etc., to do, or have what I desire.
You can probably add a few of your personal favorites to this list. Many of these core beliefs have been with us a long time and are deeply rooted in our subconscious. Imagine a record album which has a groove deeply scored in the vinyl. Every time the record is played, the needle falls automatically into that groove. In the same way, our core beliefs may be deeply etched in our consciousness, and our minds slip into those grooves automatically.
Brenda has always wanted to have her own business. She's had numerous innovative ideas for new ventures, so many that her friends have dubbed her "the idea lady". Trouble is, each time she considers putting one of her ideas into action, her mind automatically goes to either "Most small businesses fail in the first few years" or "I don't have enough business education to manage it correctly" or "I don't have enough capital to make it happen, and what bank is going to give me a loan?" Brenda stops herself from acting before she even begins. Her heart is telling her that having her own business would express her potential and be a joyous, fulfilling experience, but she pulls back every time.
She can't even consider taking a business course to bone up on her skills, or doing some market testing, or having someone help her write a business plan so she can present it to a potential investor. She can't get this far, because her erroneous core beliefs arrest any further consideration. So, she pushes her innovation aside and stands on the sidelines, watching someone else bring her ideas to life.
No matter how long these erroneous core belief have been with us, no matter how deeply implanted they are in our subconscious, they can be uprooted. The process of uprooting begins with identifying the erroneous core beliefs as mere perceptions, then discovering the Truth which is hidden behind them. When we shift our core beliefs from perception to Truth we see the world and ourselves from a higher perspective. Viewing our world from this vantage-point transforms our experience of it.
The Collective Unconscious
We human beings have many prevailing perceptions we share as a culture. These perceptions are the prevalent beliefs our society accepts as true, generally without question. Psychologist Carl Jung described this phenomenon as "the collective unconscious". Ernest Holmes called it "race-mind consciousness" (referring to the human race).
Many of these shared perceptions form the basis of our human awareness. If we do not make the effort to question whether or not a perception is actually true, it will automatically become part of our belief system and, consequently our experience.
Just as we can shift our individual core beliefs, those of the collective unconscious can also be shifted. History is our best example of this. Examine the following:
There was a time we believed it was impossible for a human being to run a mile in less than four minutes. It was universally acknowledged that the human body was physically incapable of the challenge. Then, Roger Bannister came along and ran it in 3:59. Suddenly the limitation was removed. Since then, runners have been steadily breaking Bannister's record. In fact, running the mile in 3:59 is now considered slow.
We once thought no one would ever land on the moon. In fact, believability standards were set by this core belief, thus the phrase, "Why, I could afford to buy that house about as easily as I could go to the moon!" Then President Kennedy announced on television his intention to send a manned space craft to the moon -- before the Russians. We now had a strong national purpose for achieving this goal. The American people believed Kennedy, and his intention became ours. Keep in mind that the technology for such a mission had not been developed yet! Nonetheless, as soon as we believed we could do it, we found the way.
Ten years ago, it was widely believed that a woman's childbearing years were in her twenties. However, since the rise of the women's movement, many women have chosen to delay parenthood to have a career. As a result, the needs of women have created an expanded consciousness. We refuse to accept the "fact" that an older pregnancy is impossible. Again, in response to the change in consciousness, technology has risen to the occasion. Consequently, in the last decade, births to women over 39 have increased by more than fifty percent. Recently, women in their 40's and even 50's have been giving birth to healthy babies. Today, it's not only possible, it's a common occurrence. Looks like they'll have to update those textbooks.
In each of the above examples, as the individual or group involved refused to accept the current limitation, they collectively shifted from "impossibility thinking" to "possibility thinking". As a result, they experienced freedom and success rather than limitation and powerlessness.
Roger Bannister wrote the following about his experience: "No longer conscious of my movement, I discovered a new unity with nature. I had found a new source of power and beauty, a source I never dreamt existed."
Herein lies the key. When we connect with that Source of Power which is within us, it will expose limiting core belief for what they are -- self-imposed. This exposure to Truth will render them powerless.
What Limitations Have I Been Accepting?
Discovering and correcting limiting core beliefs is absolutely essential if we want to manifest our desires on a permanent basis. If we set our intention to manifest a specific desire while harboring a core belief that insists it's impossible, the good we create will be, at best, temporary. Simply repeating a positive affirmation such as, "I am prosperous" without first eliminating the underlying, negative core belief that there's not enough to go around, is akin to slapping a BandAid on a festering wound. The wound will not heal until we treat it.
In treating a negative core belief, it is necessary to first look at it. We must ask ourselves the following questions: What limitations have I been accepting without question? Is this belief a fact, or a perception? Is it originating from my false self, or from the collective unconscious? Just because it seems to be a prevalent experience, does this perception need to be true for me?
The process of recognizing our negative core beliefs can be a challenge because it's often difficult for us to be honest with ourselves. But, brutal honesty is exactly what it takes. As Emerson tells us: "God will not have his works manifest by cowards."
Freeing Ourselves of Limiting Experiences
We live in a world that repeatedly tells us our good is limited and we're powerless against the forces of illness and misfortune. It tells us life is a crap shoot, and most businesses and marriages fail. It tells us that only a few individuals have the power and it's those who will ultimately determine our fate. It tells us we need to aggressively compete with each other in order to win in the game of life. It tells us to grab for what we can, because there's not enough to go around. This world tells us to fear our neighbors and to be suspicious of everyone we meet.
No wonder we're terrified of trying anything new, be it a relationship or career change. This is why, even when good appears in our life, we tend to sabotage it. After all, our core beliefs tell us, "who are we to deserve it?" "Why should we be successful in every area of our lives? It's unnatural." In addition, the world around us reinforces these beliefs, making then even more welcome in our consciousness.
We have accepted these pernicious lies for so long they have become our reality. A commitment to heal these intoxicating beliefs is what is needed if we truly want to be free of limiting experiences.
What We Accept As True About Ourselves
Right now you may be saying, "I can't possibly be responsible for creating all of the chaos or unhappiness in my life!" Well, yes and no. It is a fact that what we accept as true about ourselves manifests as experiences in our world. So, in that sense, yes, we are responsible. However, we may not have placed the belief there in the first place, and may not even be aware of its existence.
When we're not consistently mindful, many of the beliefs and assumptions of the collective unconscious slip in the back door of our consciousness. So, while we may not necessarily dwell on the idea that we could, for instance, have an auto accident, the belief is there in race-mind consciousness. We accept the fact that car crashes happen. More importantly, we may even fear having an accident ourselves. Somewhere in our consciousness, we are allowing for the possibility. If an accident occurs, we may be surprised it happened to us, but all the while we were subconsciously affirming its potential. So, no -- we did not create the accident, but we didn't disagree with the collective unconscious which assumes that misfortune occurs.
Until we make a determined effort to neutralize negative beliefs from our consciousness and replace them with spiritual principle, we will continue to be victimized by them. So, for example, every time you get into your car, proclaim you are divinely protected. State the Truth that since God is omnipresent, It is right where you are, surrounding your car and everyone else's with Its harmony. This will neutralize the negative programming. The darkness will disappear because you have turned on the light of Truth.
EXERCISE: Identifying Erroneous Core Beliefs
If you have any area in your life in which the same type of problem repeats time and again (and most of us do), this a good indication that you're harboring erroneous core beliefs in that area. In the following exercise you will examine these areas and begin the process of eliminating the erroneous core beliefs that have been creating the problems.
Give yourself 10 minutes to complete this exercise.
1. Study the list below and check the ones that correspond to areas in your life which are frequently problematic.
___ Family relationships
___ Committed Relationships
___ Feelings of inferiority
___ Physical health
___ Personal security
___ Monetary supply
___ Work relationships
___ Feelings of superiority
___ Lack of direction or focus
___ Physical image
___ Living environment
2. Now close your eyes and contemplate the area or areas you have indicated. Ask your inner wisdom to shine its brilliant white light of Truth throughout your consciousness. Visualize this white light shining into every nook and cranny of your consciousness. See it light up all the dark pockets. Let this light shine upon every core belief.
3. Ask your inner wisdom to bring to the surface anything that needs healing. Ask it to show you what you need to know. "What core beliefs do I have that may be limiting my good? What beliefs have I been assuming were facts, but are really merely perceptions? Where do I have trouble knowing the Truth about myself?"
4. Open your eyes and jot down any ideas that may have come to you.
Discovering Our Core Beliefs
Another way of discovering our core beliefs is to examine the attitudes or feelings we have about certain situations. Often, this is where our core beliefs are reflected. The following are examples of some common human attitudes and the limiting core beliefs which may be reflected in them. After the core belief is revealed, a statement of Authentic Truth is offered. The next step in correcting erroneous core beliefs will be to program our consciousness with authentic truth.
Attitude: "Look at the rude guy driving that expensive car. Does he think he owns the entire road? Who does he think he is? Why can't I have a cool car like that? I'll bet he cheats people to make his money. "
Possible Core Beliefs: The Universe isn't fair because it makes it easy for some to get what they want and tough for me. Rich people are rude. You have to be ruthless to make money. Therefore, I'll never get what I want unless I compromise my values.
Authentic Truth: My true nature is limitless abundance, therefore I cannot possibly be limited in any way. Everyone, including myself, has been gifted with all the qualities of the Universe. If one individual has abundance, then it is an affirmation that the Principle works. If t
his individual can manifest a beautiful car, then so can I. The same Principle that brought it to him will bring it to me. Therefore, I can be happy for this person. Also, I know that many people make money doing worthwhile things. If they can do it, so can I! Finally, it is not necessary for me to judge others.
Attitude: "I haven't had a date in months. There are too few available men/women. I've been hurt so many times, if I did meet someone, they would probably betray me, desert me, be cruel to me or break my heart. I'll probably never meet the right person. All men/women are jerks!"
Possible Core Belief: I'm not lovable. I don't deserve love. I deserve to be alone.
Authentic Truth: I am an expression of Love itself and I deserve all the good that God has, in fact, already given to me. This includes romantic love.
I am a loving and giving person. There is a perfect partner for me to whom I can express my love and who will reciprocate. I deserve this love and I am attracting it into my life now!
Attitude: "I hate this job. They don't appreciate me. I work too hard -- and for what? I'm too talented/smart for this. I'm bored, but I can't leave because I need the insurance, got to pay my bills, need the steady paycheck, etc. Also, the economy is so bad right now, no one is hiring. "
Possible Core Belief: The Universe is limited. I'm not being taken care of. There's too much competition. Doing what I love doesn't pay the bills. I'm too old, didn't get the right education, didn't follow the correct career path, am not smart enough, not motivated enough, etc., etc. I don't have what it takes to succeed.
Authentic Truth: The limitless abundance of the Universe within me is the source of all my supply, not a job or anything "out there". I was created as a magnificent, intelligent, and talented individual with a unique gift to give this world. It is natural for me to be
fulfilled, satisfied, successful and happy in my expression. Struggle is unnecessary. I am open, and am being guided, to new opportunities which are unfolding in my life right now. The Universe supports me with an all-sufficiency as I "abound to every good work."
Attitude: "I'm always in pain because of this darn arthritis! My mother had it, now I've got it. There's nothing I can do about it. It's only going to get worse. I might as well get used to it. I guess I'm doomed to suffer. "
Possible Core Belief: I am my body. I'm frail. I'm vulnerable to disease, genetics, and aging. My body is defective. There is no mercy.
Authentic Truth: I am pure Spirit temporarily housed in a body that is not solid matter. My body is a collection of swirling energy and Intelligence -- Divine Intelligence -- which knows only wholeness and perfection. Therefore, every single cell and function of my body is, in essence, whole and perfect. It has been only my belief that has made it appear otherwise. The spiritual prototype of wholeness and perfection is now being restored. My suffering is not ordained. There is a solution to this pain and I am being guided to it.
Our attitudes can give us clues to the beliefs we have about ourselves and the world. In particular, attitudes that are accompanied by emotion are significant signals that our thinking may be misguided. Our emotions are red flags waving us in the direction of our core beliefs. Therefore, if we pay attention, emotions can serve us well.
Focus On What Is Working
Although all of us have areas in our lives that could use improvement, most of us have mastered at least one area. For example, some people have a repeating pattern of pain and failure in their relationships, but are successful in their careers and have manifested an abundance of money. For others, money may be tight or their career is not happening, but loving relationships come naturally. Some have health challenges, yet they have plenty of money or a loving family.
Have you ever noticed how most people seem to focus on (if not obsess about) that one painful area, instead of what is going well? The point is, give yourself credit for whichever area of your life works and be thankful that it flows as it should. It is a law of the Universe that whatever we give our attention to, grows. Therefore, focus on, and give thanks for, the good. In the areas that aren't working, you are simply housing, and perhaps nursing, negative core beliefs.
Resist the Urge to Blame Yourself
Please remember, this is not a blame game. Resist the urge to blame yourself for creating negative experiences in your life. If you catch yourself saying "If only I'd had the correct belief system, none of this would have happened" or "If only my parents hadn't installed this poverty consciousness in me", nip such thoughts in the bud. Blaming yourself or others for things you, or they, could not possibly have known, does not serve anyone. Each of us is in the process of learning. Some learn consciously while others do it the hard way. Either way, learning and growing is the most rewarding part of life!
Few human beings have achieved master status. Those who are a few steps ahead have, most likely, been working on it longer. So, be gentle and patient with yourself. This is a process and may take some time and effort. Core beliefs are often deeply rooted and need regular weeding. They do not need to be obsessed about, or even given much attention to, but they do need to be weeded. Pull the weeds, then focus on the roses.
Get Out Your Mental Eraser
Get into the habit of listening to your thoughts. Take your mind off "auto-pilot" and take back the controls. When you hear limiting thoughts, get out your mental eraser. Then, immediately replace that thought with an authentic truth affirmation.
Remember you have dominion over the core beliefs that occupy your mind and you have the power to change them! Stay with the process, weed constantly, practice your affirmations frequently and work to apply these Principles to your life. In doing so, you will break free from the bonds of apparent limitation and open the door for miracles to occur.
This article is excerpted with permission.
©1998. Published by Self-Mastery Press.
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