"Good morning, Dharma! We've sure got a steamy one this morning, eh?" "Yes, Irwin, it is warm and only going to get warmer, I'm afraid," he replied. "I hope you haven't prepared anything too heavy for breakfast." "No, Sir," I answered. "It was far too warm to cook so I kept it simple." We sat down to dine and I noticed that Dharma was being unusually quiet. "Everything, okay?" I asked him. "Tadpole, do you know who you are?" I had to think about this for a few seconds. "Yes. At least I think I do. I'm a son, a brother, your student, a friend, a writer....." Dharma smiled, "No, Son, I wasn't asking about what labels you've assigned yourself. No, I was asking more about your beliefs. What do you believe about yourself?" I wasn't sure where this was going and I didn't answer. Dharma continued, "Irwin when a frog lets go of what he is, he becomes what he might be. We all hold limiting beliefs about ourselves. But once we can accept that it's safe to let them go, it then opens the door for our lives to dramatically improve. Frogs, and humans too are our own worst enemies." I agreed with Dharma but I had a question for him about the best way to let go of these tightly-held and limiting beliefs. What follows is a synopsis of what he told me. I found it very helpful and I hope you will, too!
The understanding of the mind/body connection is a fascinating and expanding field. Humans are only just beginning to fully understand how one can affect the other. This science is called PNI or psychoneuroimmunology. "It focuses on studying how specific stressors affect specific areas of the body. Psychological studies have shown that certain emotions have more impact on the heart like anger, for example." What is less understood, though, is the idea that our "suitcases" carry not only limiting beliefs about ourselves but also self-imposed limitations on negativity and doubt. Just in case you are wondering, "Doubts are limiting decisions and/or limiting beliefs about yourself and your abilities. Self-doubt manifests in words like "I can't," "I'm not good enough," or "I'm not smart enough."
Dharma reminded me that when these limiting beliefs pile up in our mental "black bag," they prevent us from seeing where we need to go or what we need to do. "They cloud your judgment and sometimes make you take a misstep. Many of us feel like we are stumbling around "in the dark" at some point or other. This is the effect of maintaining those black bags beyond their usefulness," Dharma instructed me. I was beginning to see the light. Without realizing it, I, too, had a suitcase that was overstuffed with negative thinking. I begged him, "Wise One, PLEASE tell me how I can get rid of these beliefs and doubts. I find the idea of change rather unsettling and I'm hoping you can explain to me how I can begin to unpack my own large and very heavy black bag."
"Tadpole, you're not alone in your thinking. Many frogs and humans, as well, find the idea of change unsettling. I don't believe that anyone can or should expect someone else to fix that fear for them. It's something each of us must do on our own. Sure, we hire a life coach or find a teacher, like me, to help guide the process by giving them a road map but, ultimately the journey is a solo one. But there is good news. Once you consciously decide that you are ready to release what should be released, the conscious mind invites the higher self in with the help of 'good spirits'. All the conscious mind has to do is relax and let it happen, and be willing to let go. The higher self takes care of the rest. When we release limiting beliefs, we allow light to shine on and illuminate our path." So it's all up to me, Dharma?" "Yes, Irwin, it is. I can promise you that I will be there to answer your questions and to encourage you in every way that I can. But the decision to change, to face your fear, is all up to you. You and you alone have the power to transform your life, as long as you're willing to face your limiting beliefs and doubts. Each of us has the power to be our own superhero, to swoop in and save the day. Our inner-superhero will help us become what we're meant to be."
After Dharma hopped away, I gave some thought to what he had told me. I'm not sure I'm ready to release ALL of my doubts and limiting beliefs right away, but I know that I will get there with Dharma's help, love, and encouragement. I know that not everyone, especially humans, has a teacher as wonderful as Dharma Frog so I hope that by posting his weekly lesson I can help those of you who may need a little loving encouragement now and then.
Please come back by tomorrow for a look at empathy and how it can be used to help heal a divided world. It seems an appropriate topic, given the global discord that's happening right now. But until we meet again, I wish you (and your inner-superhero)