I’m going to teach a radical concept that is life changing when applied. It is a little bit difficult to grasp. We’re not taught it in schools.
Beliefs or interpretations that are fixed lead to suffering.
I was first introduced to this concept from a mentor of mine—Naomi Boggs when I lived in Boulder, Colorado. Since then I’ve come across this concept through Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, and the teachings of the Buddha.
When we are stuck in a train of thought and it’s causing us lots of pain, it is helpful to ask: Is this true? Is it absolutely true?
Let’s take a fairly common belief: Life is difficult. Now is that true? Is it absolutely true? Is there a way it could be easy? Is there a way it could be easier?
I think these are particularly interesting and fruitful to explore beliefs about money, our own abilities, people in our lives, relationships, and education.
Here are some examples of beliefs you or someone you know might have:
Making money is difficult.
My partner/spouse/friend should not behave like that.
I could never make a living as a ______________ (fill in your dream job).
I’m terrible at math.
Since I didn’t graduate college/high school, I won’t make as much as someone who did.
All the good men/women/people are taken.
My mom/dad made me this way.
All of these and other thoughts/beliefs/interpretation can be loosened when examined further. Here are some steps you can take to get started:
Write down all of your beliefs about one of the following: money, relationships, work/career, parenting, love, life, spirituality, friends, or food (you can go back and do them all, but just start with one for now). Write down as many as you can think of…from childhood to now. It is okay if the beliefs contradict one another—in fact that’s good because it shows the polarity of the mind.
What do you notice about your list? How have these beliefs shaped where you’re at in your life?
Brainstorm new beliefs. The goal here is not to own a new belief, but expand your current ideas.
Look at your list of new beliefs. Which ones feel enlivening, beautiful, expansive, and/or nourishing?
Here’s an example for the money:
Money is fun. I don’t have much money. I wish I had more money. I spend too much money. If I had more money, I would sign up for that retreat. Money isn’t everything. Money is powerful. Money can create change.
There’s a wide variety of love, dislike, and feeling of scarcity.
Money is a useful tool. I feel nourished when I have money in the bank. Money can create beautiful change for the world and myself. I am able to earn money for sharing my work.
My favorite on the list is I feel nourished when I have money in the bank.
If you get stuck and you feel like there is no other belief possible, then I’d encourage you to work with beliefs that feel like they are more fluid—or hit me up for a 1-1 session and we can unravel more ossified views.
This exercise helps us to expand our “view,” which we are almost always certain is right. It’s amazing (shocking actually) how fixed we can get with our beliefs, and how beliefs can confine us from taking action and showing up as love.