A belief system is a structured process by which we evaluate everything in our lives. Our personal belief system not only determines how we interpret the world, according to our observations and experiences, but also what we believe to be possible.
When looking at the current political landscape and certain societal conditions, such as hunger, inequality, racism and indifference, it is difficult to believe that better possibilities for our world have any hope of coming to fruition.
In light of the many reasons one can use to justify hopelessness, apathy and lack of belief in possibilities for better conditions, it appears as if it’s more important than ever for us reassess what we believe is or is not possible.
The beliefs that you hold influence your thinking; and if your thoughts are can or can’t, either of them will become your reality because “whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”
The question is, what kind of beliefs do you and I have that have led us to where we now uncomfortably find ourselves?
In an exclusive interview Deepak Chopra, a pioneer in integrative medicine and global and personal transformation, discusses the expansive benefits of examining your beliefs through meditation:
BJB: You have been quoted as saying, “When we embrace our most positive beliefs, we can reach our highest potential.”
DC: The basic understanding is that your beliefs about yourself are reflected in the outer world, in your relationships, in your circumstances and events in your life, which mirror your beliefs about yourself.
Those people who have a belief in a higher intelligence, or a bigger mystery, and see themselves as a part of greater being, have a perception of themselves and the world is quite different.
As somebody who studies the science of this, it is known that our beliefs shape our perception of the world, but they also shape our knowing of the world. They actually structure the connections between neurons in our brain that allow us only to see who or what we believe in.
So when people say, “Seeing is believing,” it’s actually the other way around. Believing is seeing.”
BJB: Why do you think many people linger around negative beliefs when there is proof around the benefits of positive beliefs?
DC: Normally our beliefs are shaped in our childhood. The people we’re surrounded by such as our caretakers, our parents, and the environment that we’re brought up in, shapes the belief structure of a child and that goes on to the perceptions and doings of adulthood.
Most of our beliefs come from our conditioned mind and it was conditioned before we had any choice. That’s why it’s difficult for people to change their beliefs.
Recent research has actually shown that the only way to change these beliefs, the negative beliefs that people have about life and about themselves, is to engage meditation or do some reflective self-inquiry in which you ask yourself why you believe something and why do you think it’s true.
The more you question your limiting beliefs, the more you realize that they’re just ideas that were programmed into your mind when you were a child.
Once you become aware of this you are able to shift to a higher level of awareness.
BJB: Considering that limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs contribute to a lack of self-worth and self-love, how does meditation re-condition the body and mind to re-claim self-worth?
DC: Meditation takes you to a level of awareness which is beyond the mind. So even though some people say, “You know I never find that my meditations quiet my noisy mind. I have too many thoughts.”
The fact is, in every meditation there are little gaps where your awareness goes to a level which is beyond the mind because you are connected to core consciousness. At that level you kind of wash off some of the conditioning.
So the more people practice meditation, the more they realize that they don’t have to be bound by the hypnosis of social conditioning by society, by media, advertising and economics, history, culture and so on.
BJB: So it helps you release your attachment to limitation?
DC: It helps you to release your attachment, but it also is a form of stress release. People shouldn’t complain of having too many thoughts because what is happening is you’re cleansing your mind.
BJB: What is the one belief that is pivotal for all of us to embrace in order to uplift the collective consciousness of society?
DC: I think the one belief that we all need to embrace is one that is based on a good understanding of awareness that at the source of our perception, we are all intricately one.
When we share our beliefs with others, we experience the truth that we are more alike than we are different. When we accept and embrace this truth, we replace our “us versus them” mentality with “we are one.”
There are two intentions in this world that are the most important:
service and love.
If you act from that place the possibilities for your life are endless.
According to Dr. Chopra, “The state of contracted awareness is the enemy of finding a solution to a crisis. Real solutions to a crisis come from expanded awareness, where the inner feeling is no longer tight and fearful.”
Knowing that “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it,” it is vital to recognize that our individual, and collective experience of any challenge or situation is influenced by our perception of it.
“What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for.”
With the arrival of spring, this season of transition ushers in a phenomenal renewal of expanded possibilities.