"Irwin, I want to know what you believe about yourself and about your life? Do you see possibility or do you see lack?" I answered truthfully and told him it depends on the day of week...some days I'm a lot more optimistic than others. I think some of this, at least, has to do with what's going on in the world and how good...or bad...the day's new is. Well, needless-to-say, Dharma looked shocked and a little dismayed. "My boy, you can't let others dictate your beliefs. Your beliefs are your own and you alone control them. Do you want to believe that life if good and that you can succeed? Or would you rather wallow in sadness and self-doubt?" The answer was obvious. I LIKE being happy and positive.
"The frog who stares at the closed door, Tadpole, will never see the one that's open. Simply put, Irwin, your beliefs are thoughts that are true for you. And they can be very limiting. And as much as you may want to to think your beliefs are universal truths, they are not. Take the news for instance. If all you see is negative news you may come to believe that there isn't any good news. But what you're really seeing is only what the news people are choosing to show you; it's their version of the truth. There's lot of good things happening, but good news doesn't "sell." Each of us must look at our beliefs and see which ones are creating the kind of world we want to live in and which ones are acting as impenetrable walls, shielding us from the sun. Change your thoughts; change your life. It's really very simple," Dharma said quietly.. And indeed I could see the benefit of questioning my beliefs.
Our beliefs, when we hold on to them tightly, have an effect on our life and how we experience it. Limiting beliefs limit our world and our possibilities. But, as Dharma reminded me, long-held limiting beliefs are the hardest ones to change. Why? Because our reality keeps strengthening it. It's a kind of "Catch 22" where escape seems impossible. But there is a way out. It begins, as Dharma suggests, by observing others. We can see that their views, on the same subject, are different than our own. And they hold on to their beliefs as tightly as we do our own. So who's right? Once we can begin to accept that other beliefs are possible, it makes them a little easier to change. But change doesn't usually happen quickly. It takes time, patience, and perseverance.
The next time you find yourself facing one of your limiting beliefs, stare at it for a moment, and then ask yourself if you truly believe this...or is it just possible that, perhaps, another viewpoint might be more advantageous. If something hasn't worked for you in the past, why believe that it'll work now? Growing and evolving...that is what life is all about.
I know that after today's lesson with my wise teacher, I have many limiting beliefs that I need to look at. I find it rather exhilarating to know that I have the power to control my own life. Me. No one else. Change is scary and very difficult, to be sure, but so is everything else worth having. And I like knowing that if my beliefs aren't doing the job I hired them to, I have the power and the authority to say, "You're FIRED!" And, starting today, many of my limiting beliefs will be standing in the unemployment line.