The Inner Work
Becoming aware of the fears and beliefs that shape our lives is a tremendous first step on the path to freedom from self limitation.
Once we’ve identified hindering beliefs and fears, we can work toward reducing, revising or, ideally, replacing them with empowering beliefs that serve to speed us along the path to our heart’s desires.
Sometimes, as is often the case with fears, we can move into the fear and, by doing what we were afraid to, prove to ourselves that it was a phantom.
When the limiting beliefs and fears are deeper, we must assess the situation and, acting as our own best parent, give ourselves the care, help, and processes we need.
If thinking about limiting beliefs sends you into a state of extreme anguish, terror, or anxiety, you owe it to yourself to seek out a psychologist/psychiatrist, spiritual/religious counselor or family therapist. This is never a choice of weakness; it is an act of true strength and bravery.
If you’ve uncovered some limiting beliefs and feel capable of doing inner work on your own, your obligation is to seek and find a method that works best for you. You may find great success in one approach and less from another. No one has a universal solution.
I’ve experimented with many diverse approaches to my inner work (ie. affirmations, A Course In Miracles, hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistical Programming (NLP), Guided Meditations, countless books, seminars, self-discovery, etc). Some worked better than others; none were a complete waste. The eager mind always benefits.
A method I’ve used with success with myself and others:
Begin at the rational mind. State the following, or similar, irrefutable truths:
- When I was born, I didn’t have the fears and limiting beliefs I do today.
- Many people never have the fears and limiting beliefs I have.
- I did not create these beliefs, most belong to other people who passed them to me without my consent. The rest I agreed to because I didn’t know that there was another way for me.
- I am learning (or, I know) better ways now.
- Other people have overcome more challenging beliefs than mine, I can overcome this.
Truths like these demonstrate that we are not our beliefs or fears, we are separate from them. From this place of spaciousness we can prepare ourselves to embrace, release and replace that which does not serve our good.
Self Acceptance Meditation
Inner change is far more successful when approached from a place of unity within. The following meditation is wonderful for letting go of self-rejection and division while forgiving and embracing the totality of who you are.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably with your back supported. Breathe several long, slow, even breaths; just “watch” the breath.
When you feel settled, imagine yourself in a large, safe and comfortable room. See yourself sitting on a chair in a circle of many chairs. This is a sacred place.
Gradually, fill the chairs around you with the you’s of the past (you as an infant, a child, a preteen, a teen, a young adult, etc). As you look at each one of your prior versions, pay attention to feelings of happiness, sadness, fear, silliness, awkwardness, humiliation, anger, loneliness, joy, grief, and discomfort. Make no judgment, just notice what comes up.
Visualize yourself standing before each prior self. Really look into them. Use compassion, kindness and understanding. If you can, tell them that you love them, you forgive them, you’re here for them, and you accept every single thing about them, just as they are. If you struggle here, be gentle with yourself. You may need to return to this process several times until you understand that you’ve always done your best with what you had and now you can do better.
When you reach a place of peace between you and your former selves return to your seat in the circle. Now visualize each of your former selves taking a seat on your chair and dissolving into you.
Repeat as necessary.
There are few forces as powerful as a person united within.
This meditation becomes powerfully creative when you’ve integrated your past selves and move on to envisioning future selves. The similarities between the self you imagine and the one you become are often startling.