"Suffering is our call to attention, our call to investigate the truth of our beliefs"
What are some of the beliefs we hold about ourselves that get in the way or limit us from feeling open-minded and open-hearted?
We can begin to understand what beliefs are limiting or empowering us as we reflect and experience the way the beliefs live and feel in the mind-heart-body. To inquire a bit more deeply, let's reflect on the following questions:
How do we know if a belief is limiting or empowering us?
By pausing to notice how the mind-heart-body is directly experiencing the belief through underlying thoughts, feelings and sensations. A limiting belief contracts the mind-heart-body as tightness, heaviness, irritation, judgment, shame, anxiety, isolation, fear, anger, jealousy, inferiority, etc. An empowering belief creates a feeling sense of expansion in the mind-heart-body as lightness, spaciousness, open-ness, joy, clarity, connectedness, trust, acceptance, compassion, wisdom, etc.
How do we know if a belief is true?
We have thousands of thoughts throughout the day. Sometimes these underlying thoughts come from beliefs that we hold as absolutely true. Some examples of deeply rooted beliefs that I've heard when working with parents of children with a special need is that the child will never speak, behavior appropriately, go to college or have friends. Other beliefs I've heard from working with children and teenagers are "I am not good enough to hang out with typical kids or "I have no control over my anxiety or anger." These are powerfully limiting beliefs! Are they true?...Are they absolutely true? Let's inquire:
**Take about 5 minutes (for deeper mindfulness practice, sit in a quiet, distraction-free space for about 45 minutes daily) to pause whenever you notice a limiting belief that is standing between you and feeling neutral or good. Experience what comes up for you as you investigate with gentle curiosity about where the beliefs is rooted and if they are true/absolute. In the process, there is no need to judge or criticize yourself or others. Be as compassionate and at ease with yourself as able. If we allow for spaciousness in the mind, we may find that there is a continuous flow of change, a coming and going of all phenomena - thoughts, emotions, sensations, etc. and that nothing is static, fixed or bound or limited. Let's simply sit and be with it all, just in this moment.
Author, Nina Bhatty
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