Our Thoughts & Beliefs Make Us Unaware That We’re Missing Anything
Boxed realities are limited versions of reality achieved by avoiding or rejecting realities that do not accord with the limited version. Boxed realities are usually thought of as complete in themselves, and so there is no awareness or recognition of knowledge that is absent or missing in them. What IS missing or absent in boxed realities is usually more significant than whatever is present in them.– Ingo Swann, Reality Boxes And Other Black Holes in Human Consciousness 2003
Our thoughts and beliefs (some of which we aren’t conscious of) are the lens through which we perceive the world. The lens comes to dictate our truth and our limitation, and thus, our very lives. Our thoughts and unconscious beliefs are thus the basis of our reality.
If we aren’t curious, if we don’t question or test our current reality, we create, as Ingo Swann points out, an extremely limited version of our potential reality. Not only may people neglect to question their beliefs, they often feel as if their awareness is complete with nothing missing; therefore, they can be completely unaware of how much more of vast consciousness they are not recognizing or tapping into.
In the first ten minutes of this 2019 video, Scott Schwenk introduces the power of belief to color our reality.
There are at least five notable reasons why beliefs make such a powerful impact on our lives:
- Beliefs that resulted from thoughts that may once have served a role remain unquestioned, severely limiting personal development.
- Some beliefs can become inseparable from the most basic concept of who we are: our self-concept, our identity.
- Thinking and beliefs are enmeshed.
- Beliefs guide actions which then reinforce beliefs.
- Beliefs and thoughts program the brain, and thus our five-senses reality.
A Mega-Thick Lens
For most people, beliefs form a mega-thick lens through which they view reality.– Paul Marko PhD
Beliefs Shape Our Reality
[The] movie, …“What the bleep do we know?!” … gave a simple and down-to-earth introduction to the confusing world of quantum physics. One of the scientists interviewed for the movie was asked: “So hypothetically – can you walk on water?” To which the scientist replied: “Yes you can, if you truly believe it.” The entire movie is really about the power of belief to shape our reality, and make no mistake – we do it all day every day. The way we view the world and interact with it is based on our deeply held beliefs about ourselves and about reality itself. Those beliefs can drive us forward or hold us back, strengthen or ruin relationships, enrich our lives or make them miserable. If something is not working in your life, it might be useful to examine the governing beliefs that are shaping your reality.– Olga Kabel, SequenceWiz, Do Your Beliefs Hold You Back or Propel You Forward?
People are Addicted to Their Beliefs
In commenting on the resistance he experienced to his own unorthodox views on health, Yale surgeon Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, author of the best-selling book Love, Medicine, and Miracles, asserts that it is because people are addicted to their beliefs. Siegel says this is why when you try to change someone’s belief they act like an addict. There seems to be a good deal of truth to Siegel’s observation, which perhaps is why so many of civilization’s greatest insights and advances have at first been greeted with such passionate denial. We are addicted to our beliefs and we do act like addicts when someone tries to wrest from us the powerful opium of our dogmas.– Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe 1991
Unquestioned Thoughts, Untested Beliefs
Many beliefs “gradually become more rigid” in great part because “we stop testing them.” (Olga Kabel)
- Beliefs formed early in life often remain unquestioned, even after they’re no longer helpful. The profound observation of elephants in captivity demonstrate this point, as in the quote below.
- Other beliefs that will often remain unquestioned are those associated with information that came from a perceived authority figure, such as a doctor, business leader, news source, academic or parental figure.
Why Elephants Can Be Held in Place with a Simple Stake
When I was just a little boy, my parents took me to the circus. I wanted to see the elephants. These mighty creatures [were] held in place with a stake. Elephants] could tear a tree right out of the ground, and yet, a simple stake kept them in place. Well, I didn’t understand. And then, my father told me. He said the stakes were used when the elephants were just young, too small to pull them up, and that the animals never tried to pull them up again.– Westworld
Often People Don’t Question Their Thinking Because the Alternatives Seem Too Incredible
I don’t see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible.– Sir Fred Hoyle, astronomer
A Serious & Telling Example
In 1969, the American intelligence agencies became aware that the Soviet Union, its KGB, and its military were officially conducting major secret research into the paranormal. This came as something of a shock to the American intelligence agencies that had long considered the paranormal as little more than a giggle factor. However, when the actual scope of the Soviet research was confirmed as extensive, alarm bells began going off throughout high government levels… One of the first situations that needed to be addressed was how to convert what was just yesterday an ignored giggle factor into a serious, in-depth study of something that tomorrow might have serious ramifications… Soon it was realized that the conventional intelligence services were out of their depth so, by the middle of 1972, it was decided to form a government-sponsored research project to help assess the threat, and to house it at Stanford Research Institute (SRI)…
[I] was invited to be a part of the new project at SRI that endured for… sixteen years… [SRI was tasked with providing the government with a series of informative papers.] … One of these papers dealt with the historical, sociological treatment of the paranormal, PSI, ESP, and so forth… and required eight researchers and eighteen months to prepare…. It showed societal taboo-like resistance to any development of psychic faculties and other aspects of the paranormal… The paper revealed that paranormal elements continuously emerge time and again throughout history on a scope much larger than was generally understood, but only to be re-submerged by somewhat disgusting means…
During the 1980s… numerous polls in the United States asked individuals what they experienced of the paranormal… In some categories, many of the polls indicated that as many as 75 percent of those interviewed had consciously experienced some form of paranormal consciousness. Since any statistic above 50 percent can be thought as a majority, and hence qualify as normal, the concept of the paranormal began to become normalized, after which the term also became useless…
The forgoing has been a rather longish way to… highlight… the question of what the consciousness of humans can and does experience VERSUS what they are supposed to experience within the limits of this or that sociological norm.– Ingo Swann, Reality Boxes And Other Black Holes in Human Consciousness 2003
[This fascinating and powerful book goes deeply into consciousness and the “craft of keeping people in their reality boxes.”]
The following 17-min video, 4 False Beliefs that Society is Built On, is written and read by Dr. Bruce Lipton and animated by After Skool. It provides intriguing examples of beliefs many people were taught by authorities which have been proven wrong. Have you questioned your beliefs in these areas and evolved them to reflect the truth?
I’m grateful to have a much deeper — and more empowering — understanding of how gene expression works. I am now quite sure that testing for the gene [related to a disease found in her family] is a bad idea. The sad truth is that a negative diagnosis or prognosis can send our minds spinning in the exact opposite direction that we want and need for optimum gene expression!…While understanding that our beliefs and our environment play an important part in how our genes express themselves, and subsequently how disease plays out in our lives, is super-empowering, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. The question is, what do we do with that knowledge? Obviously, the answers to that question extend way beyond the scope of this one article. Entire books have been written on the subject, and more is being discovered every day. However, a simple understanding of this new way of looking at gene expression can be enough to help you make decisions and choices that will be more supportive of your overall health and wellbeing.– Sarah Grace Powers, Confluence Daily, Do Your Genes Dictate Your Destiny?
Thinking & Beliefs Are Enmeshed
From beliefs come thoughts. For example: I believe in myself and the goodness of others [belief]. Therefore, I know everything will turn out alright in the end [thought].
Conversely, repeated thoughts lead to the development of beliefs. Compulsively repeating thoughts such as, People don’t like me creates a pattern that can lead to a belief, I’m unlikable.
Remember that such core beliefs tend to be out of the realm of consciousness and thus may not at first seem “reasonable” or true but are nonetheless running beneath the surface.
- When issues keep repeating and logic isn’t working, then delving into the subconscious can help to uncover the actual source of the block.
- We may then apply strategies to overcome and transform limiting beliefs and subconscious blocks.
In addition, beliefs are instrumental in peoples’ strong tendency to not see that which counters their belief, and/or to actively block some types of input.
Beliefs Form the Basis for All Subsequent Knowledge We’re Conscious Of
It’s amazing how people can live such different lives, mostly because we each have such unique internal belief systems that form the basis for all subsequent knowledge we are conscious of. We can be remarkably ambivalent about the parts of life that we don’t value or believe in, effectively shutting out much of what other people may consider to be the essence and core of their lives.– Cynthia Sue Larson, Reality Shifts: When Consciousness Changes the Physical World 2012
Beliefs Guide Actions Which Reinforce Beliefs
Beliefs Become Habits & thee More We Reinforce Habits, the More Invisible They Become
Over time, these beliefs and actions become deeply embedded habits and routines: a complex, dense, interconnected system of beliefs and behavior that is not easy to untangle and understand. The more we reinforce those habits and routines, the more invisible they become, until one day they are just “the way it is.”– Dave Gray, Liminal Thinking: Create the Change You Want by Changing the Way You Think
Beliefs determine where we put our energy and focus, thus impacting our actions. Consider for a moment the power of our actions. It’s difficult to overstate the importance.
- Actions represent who we are and are the basis for how others perceive us. Our actions shape our very identity.
- As an example of how beliefs, actions and identity are related, consider how repeated negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy:
Repeated thought: I can’t do this. –>
Belief: I am not worthy. –->
Action: Distraction, entertainment, addiction, other actions that are not in alignment with conscious desires. –>
Thought: My dreams aren’t reality because I am not worthy.
Core Beliefs Affect How We Operate in the World
In thinking that you are ugly, you will no doubt struggle with your self-esteem and confidence. If you think everyone is better than you are at their job then you may well feel small and unimportant. If you consider that the world only wants to take from you, then you may find yourself reduced to cynicism, locked in a prism of seeing the world and its people in a negative way. This will affect what you offer to the world and what you are willing to give and share. Core beliefs affect what you achieve and how you operate in the world at large. Negative, and often inaccurate, core beliefs will drastically reduce your chances of joy and self-fulfillment in life.– Sheri Jacobson, Core Beliefs in CBT: Identifying and Analyzing Your Personal Beliefs, Harley Therapy Counseling Blog
Here’s another example:
Let’s say you have a core belief (not conscious) that your personal worth is related to your material possessions. You might focus on, say, acquiring an expensive motor boat — maybe even a yacht. You may look longingly at others with yachts and ask them for their advice about purchasing and owning a yacht. You may spend every free minute preoccupied with the detailed information provided by yacht sellers, reinforcing your subconscious belief that having particular features on your yacht reflects on you and your own inner worth. Once you’ve acquired a yacht, you may find yourself socializing with others who have yachts. By default, you are not hanging out with people who live in simple huts and use row boats, or those who spend all their free time hiking or starting a non-profit. Because you are hanging out with other yacht owners, some of whom are likely to also believe there is a connection between yachts and a person’s inner worth, they are likely to reinforce your belief that your yacht is indeed a reflection of your inherent worth.
With so much input — all caused by your actions that were undertaken because of your belief — your belief is continually reinforced.
Beliefs & Identity Become One
When we explored the definition of belief, it included the idea of “story” and in fact, beliefs are at the heart of what may be referred to as “our story.” Our story is a summary of what we repeatedly think and experience. The result can be insidious core beliefs around victimhood or aggression, for example, or as Light-filled as being adventurous or creative.
At some point, beliefs can become inseparable from the most basic concept of who we are: our self-concept, our identity.
The Almost-Pavlovian Response Becomes a Person’s Identity
“I can’t [attend your upcoming conference],” he replied matter-of-factly. “I have severe ADD and I could never pay attention that long. I’m a mess.” I couldn’t help but notice the way he accentuated the word ‘severe.’… I want to draw your attention to this seemingly innocuous exchange because it’s a perfect example of a person placing themselves in an imaginary box of limitation. That box contains an unconscious belief attached to some past experience or event, and its only purpose is to prevent us from truly changing. When such an affirmation is spoken into existence, the correlating emotion conditions a person’s brain and body into that belief. It’s actually a very simple formula: the stronger the emotion the person feels, the more they remember the thought; and the more they remember the thought, the more it becomes an affirmation. This is the process that programs us into subconscious beliefs. When we maintain that state of being over time, the more we do it, the more such thoughts and feelings become automatic and unconscious.
When this process of affirming thoughts happens enough times, the almost Pavlovian response becomes a person’s identity, because now the brain and body have conditioned the response into a seemingly irreversible state of being. The person is essentially declaring to themselves and the world, this is the way I identify as myself. The reality is that they’ve conditioned themselves over and over with a stimulus and response, an image and an emotion, and a thought and a feeling. For this man, the result was that every time he found himself in a public situation where he had to learn, the voice in his head said, I have attention problems and I’m nervous and can’t relax. I can’t slow my brain down. [The article continues with how to get out of this trap.]– Dr. Joe Dispenza, The Stories We Tell Ourselves
The Brain Tries to Protect Us By Getting Us to Defend Our Beliefs
We see a lot of the same brain systems involved when people think about who they are and about the beliefs that are most important to them… When your most deeply held beliefs are challenged, many of the most biologically basic brain systems, those responsible for protecting us, kick into high gear. These are things like the amygdala, which tells you when to be afraid, and the insula, the part of your brain that processes visceral feelings from the gut and tells you things like if you’re encountering food that’s bad for you. We have a strong motivation to defend those sacred values.– Jonas Kaplan, Professor of Psychology at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute quoted in The Psychology of Belief
This is a personal story about my son’s severe injury and how it helped me to wrap my mind around a difficult concept: beliefs, self-identity, and the difference between the two.
Thoughts Program the Brain & Five-Senses Reality
Beliefs impact our thoughts, and thoughts “program” the brain and body, creating our personal reality.
- While many inspirational speakers, deep thinking philosophers and neuroscientists teach this topic, it can be difficult for a student to wrap her mind around the fact that she creates her reality.
- That thoughts can dictate our reality may inspire resistance because it seems to counter a common understanding of “objective reality.” So how can this possibly be true? Read on to explore this intriguing and ultra-powerful teaching.
Thoughts Release Neurotransmitters Which Control “Virtually All of Your Body’s Functions”
Every minute of every day, your body is physically reacting, literally changing, in response to the thoughts that run through your mind. It’s been proven over and over again that just thinking about something causes your brain to release neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that allow it to communicate with parts of itself and your nervous system. Neurotransmitters control virtually all of your body’s functions, from hormones to digestion to feeling happy, sad, or stressed.– Debbie Hampton, The Best Brain Possible, How Your Thoughts Change Your Brain, Cells and Genes
- We are taught to presume that our brain causes our thoughts. However, it’s actually our beliefs that lead to our thinking patterns, and when we consciously choose different thoughts, the brain responds and changes.
- Repeating certain thoughts, particularly when emotionally charged, effectively “programs” the brain. The brain’s design causes it to look for “proof” of the “input” it has received.
- A simple example is becoming very excited and interested in buying a green car. As you think exciting thoughts of what it would be like to have a green car, you suddenly begin to notice green cars everywhere! Prior to this “thought programming” you never “saw” (noticed) green cars. This happens because your brain is responding to the input, which then alters your sensory experience.
We See Whatever Our Brains Think We Should
The eye and brain work in a partnership to interpret conflicting signals from the outside world. Ultimately, we see whatever our brains think we should.– Denise Grady, Discover Magazine, The Vision Thing: Mainly in the Brain
Beliefs Cause the Mind to Filter Out Non-Supporting Information
For most people, beliefs form a mega thick lens through which they view reality. This distorting impairment only allows their senses to consider data that confirms what they already believe, forming the ultimate do-loop — a hamster’s wheel for the human mind. Therefore their strongly held beliefs shield them from much of the reality transpiring around them by filtering out all of that nasty data that does not support their notions of the way things are.– Paul Marko PhD
There is No Objective Reality
The most foundational limiting belief is that reality is fixed when in fact there is no objective reality. Sages throughout history have taught that we have unlimited power to create and impact how we perceive the world, and quantum mechanics offers insight into how this works.
Physicists Show that Reality Doesn’t Exist
Get ready to have your mind blown. According to an experiment led by two physicists… reality doesn’t exist. Turn on, tune in, and drop out man, because the world as you know it is all kinds of weird, at least on a quantum level.– Sean Hutchison, Inverse, Don’t Panic, but Physicists in Australia Just Proved Reality Doesn’t Exit: Quantum Physics is Weird
Being Cautious with the Law of Attraction
From a World of Possibility, Our Beliefs Impact Our Experience
You attract a situation that reflects back to you from the world of possibility based upon your belief systems.– Matt Kahn interview, Emotional Triggers are Clearing Cellular Memory
While we can agree with the quote above, we recommend considering this as relating to the Now (not the past), and from the perspective of consciousness and vibration. If we casually connect quantum physics topics such as a lack of objective reality with the Law of Attraction, there may be a tendency to look backward and presume the individual has done or thought something “wrong.”
In other words, every human has experienced trauma, disease and loss. Does this mean a person is “choosing” or “attracting” these things because he or she has a deep belief of unworthiness? Perhaps but not necessarily. This may be a collective experience that was set in motion in the past and agreed to on a soul level, or a result of karmic balancing on a grand scale (across lives) and/or an individual soul agreement in order to have a particular experience. No matter what one believes on such a deep subject and no matter the “real” originating cause of negativity and trauma, the point of these teachings is practical empowerment, not self-recrimination. The teachings and tools here are provided to empower individuals to alter and create their reality by making their thinking and beliefs conscious, a technique that works.
No matter what has happened to us, we have a choice in allowing the emotional energy to move through us and then choosing the thoughts we think about it, leading to beliefs and actions that create our desired reality.
Sources & Resources
See here for a list of sources and resources for the entire Beliefs section.
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