A FOR­MULA FOR RE­PLAC­ING A LIM­IT­ING WAY OF THINK­ING

Is your mind so pre­oc­cu­pied that you find it’s all too easy to al­low your mind to fall back into old pat­terns and to per­ceive through the lens of an out­dated be­lief? Here’s some ad­vice about catch­ing your­self and stay­ing present to what is hap­pen­ing in yo

Living Now - - Personal Development - By Leon Van­der­pol

In all per­sonal growth work it’s bound to come up sooner or later. It’s that roar of angst and frus­tra­tion at the sticky grip that a deep-seated be­lief can have. Ar­rgggh… all the work I’ve done and it just won’t let go! Years I’ve been work­ing on this and I’m still liv­ing it out. Why!?

Brett (not his real name) ex­em­pli­fies the te­na­cious grip that some be­liefs have. Brett was raised by his mother in a sin­gle par­ent house­hold from the age of nine, and is the el­dest of four sib­lings. Through­out his for­ma­tive years, un­der the in­flu­ence of his mother and his aunt, he was ex­pected to shoul­der the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the el­dest son in a fam­ily with an ab­sent father: to be the care­taker of his sib­lings, do his fair share around the house, main­tain ex­cel­lent grades, fol­low the right ed­u­ca­tional path, and of course lev­er­age that into a great ca­reer. “Be­ing re­spon­si­ble for oth­ers is your duty” was drummed into him at ev­ery turn.

Thirty years on, this is how Brett lives his life. Peo­ple ex­pect him to do the re­spon­si­ble thing, and time and time again he does. The chal­lenge fac­ing him now is his acute aware­ness of hav­ing long lived a life for oth­ers; of lay­ing aside his deep­est de­sires out of con­cern for their well-be­ing – and he feels ut­terly trapped. There is a part of him that yearns to take flight and live his life, yet the grav­i­ta­tional pull of the need to be re­spon­si­ble keeps him stuck in a pro­hib­i­tive pat­tern of thought, per­cep­tion and be­hav­iour. I have worked with Brett on and off now for many years, and, de­spite our work and his ef­forts, the ef­fect of this be­lief con­tin­ues to play out in his life. Has he im­proved? Ab­so­lutely. Is he free of it? Not yet – which causes him frus­tra­tion and grief. We have all seen or per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced the strug­gle to let go of con­di­tioned be­liefs, even in the face of dire con­se­quences.

Once a be­lief is es­tab­lished in the DNA of our be­ing it can be very hard to dis­lodge and highly re­silient to change. How can we ef­fec­tively re­lease be­liefs that are held so deeply they are wed­ded to the fab­ric of our self-iden­tity?

One of the most pow­er­ful tools that we have at our dis­posal is the power of con­scious thought. Once we be­come aware of a men­tal pat­tern that is no longer work­ing we have the choice to change our mind. The dif­fi­culty peo­ple have is that shift­ing thoughts oc­ca­sion­ally does lit­tle if any­thing to

build in and sus­tain a new pat­tern. There needs to be a con­certed and con­sis­tent ef­fort over a span of time in or­der to work out the old be­lief and work in the new.

The me­chan­ics of it are straight­for­ward: V.C.R. – Vig­i­lance Choice Rem­edy

There is a need for height­ened vig­i­lance of thoughts and per­cep­tions which arise from the be­lief (or of its tell­tale con­se­quences; it is pos­si­ble that a thought goes un­ob­served but its ef­fects do not) and there is need for a re­me­dial thought to sup­plant it. The will­ing­ness to be vig­i­lant leads to in­creased aware­ness, and higher lev­els of aware­ness in­crease our ca­pac­ity to make con­scious choice.

In his book Power vs. Force Dr. David Hawkins talks about ‘will’ as the pri­mary con­di­tion for shift­ing per­sonal con­scious­ness to higher lev­els. “Higher lev­els can cer­tainly be at­tained. In prac­tice, great will is re­quired…a con­stant re­peated act of choice.”

Will is a key driver of all hu­man growth pro­cesses, yet as peo­ple go through their daily do­ings, how many of them ac­tu­ally main­tain such a high level of will, pres­ence, and self-aware­ness that they are al­most im­me­di­ately able to choose a new pos­si­bil­ity for them­selves when­ever a lim­it­ing thought arises? Most peo­ple are caught up in un­con­scious, au­to­matic thought pat­terns. They are nei­ther present nor vig­i­lant to the prod­ucts of their mind un­til, at last, they lift their heads up and take no­tice. It’s very dif­fi­cult to out­work a deep-seated be­lief through spo­radic at­ten­tion.

Yet if a per­son wil­fully, and with great con­sis­tency, starts to think, for ex­am­ple, more lov­ingly about him­self, he will ex­pe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of those lov­ing thought pat­terns and sus­tain them for longer and longer pe­ri­ods of time. It is will­fully ini­ti­ated con­ti­nu­ity of ex­pe­ri­ence that is the most pow­er­ful means for sup­plant­ing a way of think­ing.

My own life ex­pe­ri­ences has shown me how easy it is to for­get to re­main vig­i­lant to the ac­tiv­ity of my mind or to ne­glect to con­nect an ex­pe­ri­ence with the thought qui­etly play­ing in the back­ground. It’s easy to al­low my mind to fall back into rou­tine pat­terns and to per­ceive through the lens of an out­dated be­lief. To catch my­self, to stay highly present to what is hap­pen­ing in my mind, that is work – and, since my mind is ac­tive 24-7, it’s a full time job! The old pat­terns are quite com­fort­able and will hap­pily re­main in place as long as I’m not pay­ing much at­ten­tion.

This is Brett’s pit­fall. His mind is so pre­oc­cu­pied with his daily do­ings that he has lit­tle time or en­ergy left for V.C.R. He pro­fesses a will­ing­ness to change, but his ac­tual at­ten­tion to do­ing the work is spo­radic. V.C.R. is not easy to do, but it is nec­es­sary work for those who want to move be­yond a crip­pling be­lief. The world we per­ceive is nei­ther solid nor im­mutable; it’s plas­tic and elas­tic and al­ways amenable to a new way of per­ceiv­ing.

But it re­quires V.C.R. n

Leon Van­der­pol is the founder of the Cen­ter for Trans­for­ma­tional Coach­ing and cre­ator of the Deep Coach­ing ap­proach. The DCI is com­ing to Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, in May 2016. cen­ter­for­trans­for­ma­tion­al­coach­ing. com/dci-syd­ney to learn more.

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