- List the specific practices that Dr. Bruce Lipton teaches for reprogramming the subconscious.
- What are some initial considerations when undertaking the deep work of overcoming limiting beliefs?
- Describe how to use mindfulness in overcoming limiting beliefs.
- How can you expand your vision?
- What might you look out for in daily life?
- How can we begin to change limiting beliefs?
- Why is it necessary to abstain from addictive and compulsive activities?
- How might you work with emotions in overcoming limiting beliefs?
Please Note: This is part of a series of related topics. Use the Related Content menu below to navigate within this section.
- If you’ve tried to fix a problem and it keeps reappearing, it may be a subconscious program that is thwarting you.
- If a belief is not supporting you, it can be changed. (Learn more about why we have such beliefs here.)
- For example, if you’ve had recurrent financial issues, you might dig deeper into your beliefs. It’s possible that you subconsciously hold a core belief that you will never have enough money to live comfortably. Your conscious mind may find such a belief to be irrational, but knowing that consciously hasn’t resolved the problem so far.
- Following are some considerations for addressing such situations.
Why it’s Necessary to Reprogram Subconscious Beliefs
The reason you play the subconscious programs is because the conscious mind is engaged in thinking and that’s 95% of the time or more. That means 95% of your behavior is invisible to you…. You’re not operating from your conscious mind except maybe 5% of the time and so your life is really a reflection of your subconscious program… look at your life… what comes to you that you want easily, you’ve got programs that allow that to happen, but what you struggle with… you have an invisible program that is sabotaging you on that point… so look at your life and tell me what you’re having trouble with. That’s the direct expression of a program that’s not supporting you.– Dr. Bruce Lipton
Dr. Bruce Lipton’s Teachings
Here we break down key points from the video:
Why We’re Running Subconscious Programs
- Lipton explains that subconscious programs run because the mind is engaged in thinking about the past or future, and is therefore not present to what’s actually happening now.
- During these times of thinking, he explains, the subconscious programs run so that we can continue to function here and now.
A Note about Mindfulness Practices
While he doesn’t directly talk to this in the brief video above, Lipton’s very important point about WHY the subconscious programs run points to why mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation are so effective at transforming lives:
- To be mindful is to be present and to observe rather than to automatically react to thoughts and impulses. In other words, rather than being lost in thinking, you are watching your thinking.
- This means that mindfulness and meditation result in 1) more time that the subconscious programs are NOT running and 2) increased self-awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations, which likely reflect that programming.
- Thus, mindfulness beautifully addresses the automatic taking over the subconscious, and points to a major reason why we find that increasing mindfulness throughout life leads to growth and transformation.
How the Subconscious Learns
Lipton makes another very important point: Let’s say we read a book or watch a video and increase our knowledge on something. When we do that, we’re educating the conscious mind — but not the subconscious mind. Over time, we might notice “we get really smart, but our life stays exactly the same.” Why? Because, Lipton explains, the subconscious learns differently.
So, how does it learn? Lipton explains that in the first seven years of life, the subconscious learns via a form of hypnosis, as the brain was operating at a lower frequency and was downloading what it observed. (Learn more in the video above.) After seven years, it learns via:
- Repetition and habituation
- Tremendous emotional shock
- Belief change modalities associated with energy psychology that offer a form of “super-learning” or the ability to change long-held patterns quickly
Lipton explains that there are many of these belief-change modalities, one being PSYCH-K, a process of synchronizing the brain hemispheres.
Setting a Foundation for Evolution
Here are a few things to consider when choosing to embark on a process of evolution and transformation.
- Be kind to yourself and make time for quiet rest each day.
- Acknowledge that emotions and change can at times seem overwhelming.
- Remember that you are not alone and you’ve done nothing wrong. Meditation and daily gratitude journaling can help to feel these truths.
- Know that you can change your mind and that although the ego will send a barrage of thoughts that such an action would be akin to dying, in reality, consciously changing mental patterns and beliefs will expand your choices and sense of freedom.
- Make simple changes to your routine such as taking a new route when walking or commuting. Begin something new, whether it be a class or a book recommendation, etc.
- Find a supportive community.
- Volunteer, giving without expecting anything in return.
- Cultivate loving relationships based on mutual support.
Beware of the Ego When Exploring Your Inner World
While a spiritual journey has always been a fundamental transition from ego to soul, I began to see how those in search of truth weren’t necessarily exploring it from the soul’s perspective. Instead, many facets of inner growth were explored from the ego’s point of view…. As consciousness begins waking up, limiting beliefs dissolve, self-defeating choices no longer resonate, and narrow viewpoints are exchanged for more expansive perspectives.– Matt Kahn
Following are more suggestions for using mindfulness as a tool for overcoming limiting beliefs and reprogramming the subconscious.
Self-Study & Mindfulness
Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.– Oscar Wilde
- Becoming present and mindful gives you access to your body’s innate “navigational system” — the ability to discern what is happening internally and externally. (Susan Scurlock-Durana) This is the doorway in to notice patterns and uncover hidden beliefs.
- By definition, subconscious beliefs run our lives from behind the scenes.
- The first step to having more control is to identify unconscious programming and patterns. For example, a belief that Life is just too hard can cause us to take half-hearted action toward goals, leading to disappointing results, which then “proves” the limiting belief.
- Defense mechanisms naturally arise when the ego feels threatened by a change in reality or belief. We unconsciously act out these defenses in various ways, including repression, denial, displacement, projection, regression and sublimation, among others. (See more: 15 Common Defense Mechanisms)
- Expecting perfection is an example of a tricky limiting belief that can easily frustrate expectations. For example, it’s common to have idealism of romantic partners ingrained in the psyche:
Just like perfectionism kills creativity, it also kills love—the more we mythologize and idealize the person we love, the more disillusioned and disheartened we grow as we come to know their imperfect humanity which, if untainted by these blinding ideals, is the very wellspring of true love. That is what playwright Tom Stoppard captured in what is perhaps the greatest definition of love, in his notion of ‘the mask slipped from the face, the stripping of the idealized projection, the surrender to the beautiful imperfection of a human being.– Maria Popova, Joseph Campbell on Why Perfectionism Kills Love
Notice Synchronicities, Setbacks, Connections
- In waking life, pay attention to signs, encounters, setbacks, colors, anything that seems peculiar, synchronistic or intriguing.
- Notice when you have a sense of connection with life, when you feel in the flow. What sensations do you notice and where in your body do you feel them? In what circumstances and environments?
- While you may not initially be able to make sense or meaning of what you’re noticing, if you are patient and perhaps keep a journal, you will naturally learn more about how your inner and outer world relate and what you notice will begin to serve as clues in your awakening.
Expand Your Vision
Replace certainty with curiosity.
- Ask yourself questions that can help to open your mind to different possibilities.
- Is this belief true? Is it absolutely true? How do I know it’s true? What’s an example of how it’s not true? How might someone else see this?
- Where does the story of this belief begin? What is my earliest related memory?
Get Curious About Emotions
To uncover limiting beliefs, commit to being open and curious about your feelings and emotions. This means working to change any patterns of suppressing or tamping down emotions when they arise.
Halting Addictive or Compulsive Behaviors
- Addictions and compulsive behaviors may begin as ways to cope with emotions (Why We Suffer). But at some point, the addictive patterning may become so strong that it’s no longer only a coping mechanism but also an uncontrollable behavior.
- No matter where in the addictive cycle you are, it’s necessary to abstain from addictive and compulsive activities in order to experience authentic emotional expression and release. Trying to work on limiting beliefs while in the throes of addictive behavior will likely be ineffective.
- It’s extremely common in the modern world to have addictions. While shame goes hand-in-hand with addiction, it’s an obstacle to resolution and healing. Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, pain killers, cocaine and heroin are common substance addictions. (The Dawn Rehab) Common behavioral addictions include gambling, sex, Internet, shopping, video games, binge eating and risky behaviors. (Everyday Health)
- Addiction affects the brain’s executive functions (Psychology Today). Thus, your addicted brain will make up reasons to do the addictive behavior. It will also tell you that if you solve your emotional and psychological issues (or go on a meditation retreat, or train for a marathon, or get promoted or have a baby) that the addictive behavior will fall away on its own. Time proves this to be untrue, just more made-up thoughts from an addicted brain.
- Addictive behaviors cover over the true nature you are trying to access. And at some point they will cause additional problems such as anxiety, sleep issues, isolation and disconnection from others, depression, or other negative effects.
- It’s simply not possible to authentically dive deep while engaged in addictive behaviors. Instead, it’s advisable to first work on abstention, and then to dive into the unconscious beliefs you wish to uncover.
Ride the Wave of Emotions
- By definition, core beliefs carry emotional attachments. Emotions are an inseparable aspect of healing limiting beliefs.
- In order to dive into the subconscious, we commit to allowing emotions to surface. This does not mean indulging the discomfort by acting out toward others in anger, for instance. Nor does it mean getting caught in the endless looping of associated thoughts.
- It means staying with bodily sensations and feelings as they arise, using the breath and awareness to “ride the wave” of the emotion as it arises, crests and falls.
- Suppressing emotions goes against a natural force in human life. Allowing emotions to arise and pass can release tension, open space, and inspire insight, among many other potential benefits.
The emotions you feel in your body are the themes of what’s being released out of your energy field. A space has just been created by that trigger. If we then make up a story about the reaction and blame the person who triggered us, or blame ourselves for reacting that way like it’s some bad spiritual thing to do, we then fill in that space… with more debris and the universe will have to create another experience to trigger and release again.– Matt Kahn
Uncover Emotional Payoffs
- Typically, our behaviors (which are reflecting our beliefs) are an effort to get something we want or think we need, such as acceptance, love or safety. How our emotions play into this picture can add a level of complexity and intensity, with emotions keeping us tethered to our beliefs.
- For example, if you absorbed toxic beliefs early in your life, you may unconsciously believe you are not good enough and find yourself expressing your fears to others.
- It may be that your friends feel sorry for you and try to support you by commiserating and giving you attention. This can subconsciously feel like an emotional payoff for self-pity. While none of this may be conscious, you feel good when you have support and love and this emotional connection may then perpetuate a cycle where you highlight your inadequacies in order to gain help, attention and love, which in turn creates more people feeling sorry for you, thus reinforcing your beliefs of inadequacy.
Invite Your Authentic Voice
- Write freely, not filtering it in any way or paying attention to structure or grammar or neatness. Writing freehand (as opposed to typing or entering onto a digital device) tends to prompt emotions and thoughts to arise unfiltered.
- Another tactic is to write with your non-dominant hand.
- Even if resistance arises in your body or mind, write freely without censoring it.
- Upon waking, move as little as possible to support dream recall. Record your dreams and thoughts that occur during the transitional state from sleep to wakefulness. You may wish to audio record your dreams and then transcribe them at a later time. While transcribing, consider possible meaning.
- Meditation practices can support this process.
Sources & Resources
See here for a list of sources and resources for the entire Beliefs section.