After seeing the word for this issue, I was contemplating whether to submit an article or not. The word belief is so “large” that I wondered whether I could do justice to the concept. Then the wheels started turning and my mind wouldn’t let loose of all kinds of options.
Finally, I settled on a core idea about beliefs – they are what we spin all our individual stories around – our perceptions of how the world operates. Lots of people – including me on occasion – think that beliefs are centered in reality – the final word on what is real. But beliefs are really just our individual perceptions about the world. Most people have heard the expression, “I will believe it when I see it” but Wayne Dyer had a more accurate perspective when he said, “I will see it when I believe it”!
When we come into this world, we are mostly a blank slate – I say mostly because I believe we have lived before. For those who question reincarnation, I honor your right to do so. I would also add, however, that reincarnation was a part of the original Christian doctrine before the Holy Roman Empire decided people wouldn’t be as controllable if they believed in this concept – much better to scare people with hell and offer heaven to the compliant – but I digress.
So, if beliefs are our individual concepts, how do they form? When we are born and up to the age of about seven or so, our brain waves are moving in a pattern called theta – very slow – which allows us to learn a lot of information in a very short time. This is a good thing but has a big caveat – we don’t have the ability to make rational decisions about what we see – we are taking in everything without discernment. Major contributors of how we see the world come from our parents and their belief systems, our community and any significant emotional experience(s) we may have at that time.
Then at about age 7 till the age of 13, we are in a brainwave pattern called alpha. This brainwave pattern is a little faster but still without conscious rational decision making ability. This is also a brainwave pattern that we still have direct access to – most notably when we are about to fall asleep at night and upon awakening in the morning, when in hypnosis, when daydreaming or when meditating. One of its greatest assets is to help us make new choices at different times in our lives if we learn how to use it properly.
Finally at thirteen and beyond, we are mostly in a brainwave state called beta – our rational thinking process takes over – or does it! We think we are driving the bus, but really a lot of the information that we took in during our earlier years is in the driver’s seat. That information, now unconscious, is what really dictates how and what we see and what we make of it.
When I hear people talking about what they believe, it always brings to mind the story of the blind men and the elephant. The story goes that several blind men approach the elephant and happen upon different parts and proclaim the elephant must be exactly like that part. Each has touched only a part but believe it to be like the whole. In many traditions I have studied, each point to our inability to see the whole – only the part in which we are engaged. John Godfrey Saxe, a 19th century poet says it best in the moral of the poem he wrote about the story: “Moral: So oft in theologic wars, The disputants, I ween, Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean, And prate about an Elephant Not one of them has seen!”
So beliefs rooted in our unconscious – are there any ways to change them or make new ones? If you are so inclined, there are many options that are available to do just that. In my coaching practice, I use a lot of different strategies to help my clients change and grow. I am assured that other coaches, ministers and change workers have just as many good options. The final choice is always yours – if you are in a place that life seems not to be working for you – think about your firmly held beliefs and seek a resource to help you broaden your horizons. May it be so!
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.NewDirectionsForHealing.com / (256) 764-1153
Linda was raised in the Midwest, graduated from Saint Louis University and hired into a corporate position with Reynolds Aluminum. She met, married and traveled with her husband for a number of years before moving back to his home place – The Shoals in Alabama. There Linda was introduced to life coaching and took to it like “duck to water”. Her empathetic nature coupled with a desire to help people help themselves; led her to and through a number of certifications, in different modalities. Linda currently practices as a Wellness Coach plying her trade in Florence, Alabama.