This third tool is primarily a tool of the mind/spirit, but it also connects soul (feelings) and spirit (mind).
This tool, used together with Tool #2 (Crying), will help break the bondage of the beliefs we have become trapped in.
It is the mind that forms beliefs and judgments, based on feelings, and then makes decisions based on beliefs. Our Belief System both surrounds us and is the bedrock of our lives. This B.S. is what we build our relationships on, live our lives by, and yet, we very rarely look directly at it. We may occasionally examine one or two of the most obvious beliefs. But we very rarely take a good long look at the entire SYSTEM of beliefs that we are ruled by.
Why don't we look at our beliefs?
Firstly, many of our beliefs are hidden in the deep maze of the unconscious. They are based on pain we experienced very early on, before we were conscious of forming beliefs. And these beliefs were further solidified by every painful experience we had that seemed to reinforce them.
Read: A True Story Showing How Beliefs Are Formed.
Examining these beliefs means feeling the pain we experienced that formed them. That's why it is so important to have Tool 2 ready to hand, for when your pain begins to surface, as it surely will.
Secondly, we don't look at our beliefs because it would mean disrupting our lives. Making a change in one belief will often affect other beliefs, and pretty soon you have a cascading domino effect, with belief after belief falling down. It will feel as though the floor is literally falling out from under you, and you have nothing to hold onto. It's a frightening experience, that most of us don't want to have. It's much easier to stay within the comfortable bounds of a limiting Belief System, than to venture forth into the great unknown.
What you need to know is that a new foundation will be built as you progress, and in fact, is forming just beneath the shaky ground of your B.S. right now. You may not be able to see it or feel it yet, but it will catch you and not let you fall. It's the solid ground of your healed soul, of your own true core, and it will never let you down once you have it with you.
So how can we change our beliefs?
The first thing you must do is look at the decisions you've made in your life. Who have you become involved with? What is the quality of your love relationship? What is your work situation? Do you have enough money? Do you feel satisfied creatively? Do you have areas of your life that bring you joy? Are there areas of your life that you ignore or try not to notice? Take the time to NOTICE. Our Belief System inevitably outpictures in our lives. If we just take the time to look, we can see everything we believe about ourselves, our worth, our position in the universe, reflected in our lives. The importance of Point of Consciousness comes into play here. There will be areas of your life that seem to be in shadow, and the B.S. helps keep those things outside our awareness. Bring your Point of Consciousness to bear on all areas of your life, like a spotlight piercing the darkness. You might find it helpful to just make a list of all the things you observe, the things in your life that you're not happy with, and the beliefs you can detect there. Some examples:
|I never have enough money. I must believe I don't deserve money. Or maybe I don't believe it's "right" and "loving" to have money in this world where so many people don't have enough. I'm afraid of being thought of as greedy and unloving.
|I don't feel good about my body. I believe that when I'm overweight, nobody will love me. People will be repulsed by me if I become too fat. I hate the way I look, I hate myself.
|Every time I try to speak to a group of people, I get flamed and rejected. Do I believe I deserve this? Why do I keep attracting this situation? I believe I'm stupid and have nothing to say anybody would want to hear. I believe it's wrong (unloving) to want to speak my truth.
Notice that each belief is founded on a feeling - fear, self-hate, grief, pain, rage...
And the pain is covered by a judgment that says something is wrong, bad, not good enough, unloving...
And the judgment becomes a belief that carries into our lives.
Sometimes we won't know what the feeling is, or what the judgments are, until the pain gets moving enough to help us understand.
This is a very powerful step. Setting an intention to change a belief is an act of will, and is tied strongly to your soul. It is powered by emotion, in other words. It is fueled by the desire to change, by wanting something new, something different. It is the fire in your belly that will propel you forward. So, when you set an intention to change, draw your desire upward from the pit of your belly. Of course, the first thing you need here, is to feel your desire.
Read: The Power of Desire
The intention usually starts with a statement that looks forward:
I will change my life.
I INTEND to have more love in my life.
I will become a better person.
I intend to have a better income and a freer lifestyle.
I WILL become whole and feel joy and love.
This step takes an erroneous belief and lets go of it. Releasing works well with very frozen judgments or beliefs, especially beliefs that encompass large parts of our lives, such as our basic worthiness. Releasing involves making formal statements of what we have believed, and usually begin with:
I no longer believe ... ... OR ... I let go of the belief that ... OR ... I forgive myself for having believed that
I am unworthy
I am unloveable
I deserve to be poor / in danger / in a state of lack
This step can involve rituals, such as writing your beliefs down and burning them, or just tearing the paper up and throwing it away. Body's involvement in the process can add to the power of the release (and now you have the secret of rituals and spells!). But the important thing is that this step begins the shaking up process. The foundation of your Belief System will begin to rock a little here, and your old buried pain will begin to come to the surface. That is the whole point of this tool.
|If you simply use this tool as a mental process, if you just focus on changing what is going on in your mind (beliefs, judgments) without shifting the underlying pain, you are only doing part of the work necessary to truly change your life.
If your pain doesn't begin to surface here, you're either focusing on a belief that's not truly part of your Belief System, or your resistance is blocking your pain very effectively. In that case you'll have to dig a little deeper, and push a little harder, or try something else. All the tools we've given here are designed to work together, and if one doesn't work or if you find yourself stuck, shift around and try another for a while.
What to expect when the Belief System is jostled:
Read: How the Tools Work Together
NOTE: For some people, just working through the emotions that underlie beliefs and judgments is enough to change old beliefs. For them, shifting the old pain in the basement automatically changes the beliefs that are built on that pain. But for some people, it is helpful to formally release beliefs and judgments, to let go of the old beliefs in order to shake up the Belief System. This is like tearing down the structure of the house, which allows the old pain in the basement to surface and make room for change in our lives, for building a new house. Whether you work best from the bottom (focusing on emotional changes) or top (focusing on mental changes), depends on your primary processing modality, and what you're most comfortable with.
Read: Understanding Who We Are: What is Your Primary Processing Modality?
Read: Changing Our Judgments
You've identified old beliefs and taken the step to let go of the old stuff, your desire has awoken and spoken and you begin to want something new. Next, we begin the process of building a new set of beliefs. This is the step of Affirming.
The word AFFIRM comes from the Latin word affirmare, which is to make firm. Webster's adds: VALIDATE, CONFIRM, to state positively, to assert or decree as valid or confirmed.
Letting go of the old is not enough. You must fill the space with something new. With this step, we begin the creation of a new template for our lives. We begin the process of changing our decisions and beliefs. We MAKE FIRM a new set of decisions and beliefs.
An affirmation is a statement of present reality. It should be stated as a positive, not a negative, and as a present reality, not a future one. For instance:
|I AM confident and relaxed when speaking in public.
|I am not afraid when speaking in public.
|I AM NOW confident and relaxed when speaking in public.
|I will be confident when speaking in public.
|I have a good, loving relationship.
|I will be rid of people who don't appreciate me or don't like me.
|I am worthy of being loved.
|I don't deserve to be treated badly.
Read: The Importance of Now.
So much has been written on affirmations, and this tool has been embraced so heavily by the New Age community, that it has unfortunately become almost a joke.
One of the problems is that affirmations by themselves don't work long-term for most people. Again, as we've said, without allowing old pain to come up and heal, affirmations are only empty lip service and mental exercises designed to try to blot out negative emotions, instead of working with and healing the emotions. Affirmations should not be used to tell the emotions what they feel, or to avoid or suppress pain. Emotions are what they are. They feel what they feel. They live in the reality they experienced, and until fully cried and healed, they cannot just be told to feel a new way.
With releasing and affirming, we let mind and desire speak and say what they WANT to be, do and have. And then, we must stop and listen to what the emotions say in response.
You may release: "I no longer believe I am unworthy."
And you may affirm: "I am loveable and worthy".
But your emotions may still feel unworthy and unloveable.
When the pain held in the unconscious comes forward to tell its story and express, we have the blessed opportunity to heal it.
Next: Tool 4, Changing Our Decisions