Beliefs come in all shapes and sizes, just like people. In fact, it is our beliefs that shape us, literally.
Scientific research into the field of Epigenetics shows that our mind controls our body; more specifically, our beliefs about the world and our self in the world have a direct effect upon our genetic make-up. For example, believing that the world is a stressful place causes stress hormones to flood your body which redirects the blood flow normally destined for the conscious, creative forebrain to the primal, reactive hindbrain. Your blood also shifts away from your immune system and vital organs and heads to your arms and legs for use in ‘fight or flight’ mode. Simply put, stress makes you less intelligent and more prone to disease.
To bring you a little deeper into this understanding, any idea that becomes a belief causes your cells to develop in a way that is more receptive to certain chemical signals than to others. Taking the previous example into consideration, your cells would develop more receptors for stress hormones, leaving less entry points available for healthier chemical signals to gain access to (and influence the programming of) your body’s basic building blocks.
Can you imagine how different two people would look if one grew up stressed out while the other believed the world to be a safe place full of good friends and happy families? Over time, your whole body would change according to this programming, inside and out; and all of this programming begins before you have any conscious control over what you would like to believe, before you are even born.
It’s nature’s head start, programming you for your mother’s world while you are still being formed in her womb. Her interaction with the outside world is based on her beliefs about the outside world, and the chemical signals these beliefs and interactions send around her body become imprinted upon your own genetic blueprint. That way, when you’re born, you are better ‘prepared’ for the world you are being born into.
At a recent presentation by Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, I met a woman who has started up a Prenatal Psychotherapy practice after realising how important these formative months are on the rest of our lives. Looking back on my own life, I see a correlation between what my mother told me about her experiences at that time and what I then came to believe about my own relationship with women; a belief that manifested a painful pattern in my romantic relationships until I finally learned how to reprogram it.
My conscious mind was saying, “I only want to love and be loved,” but my subconscious mind was telling the universe, “I hurt the women I love and they leave me.” When I first found this out, it was a revelation. Finally the pattern made sense, and I thought that since I had become aware of it, it wouldn’t happen again, but that wasn’t the case. I have only recently realised that being made aware is not enough, we need to change our subconscious habits and beliefs if we really want life to stay changed.
Habits of thought or action are formed through repetition. Every time you think, feel or do something, electrical signals are sent from one part of your brain to another. When a signal travels along the same path often enough, that path becomes hardwired in your brain. The general consensus is that if you do a task everyday for 30 days it will become habitual, which means that you are likely to keep doing it from then on without having to consciously think about it.
Our initial programming continues up until the age of 7 when your personality blueprint and sense of identity are firmly established. After that, your conscious mind becomes creative, but it can only play within the confines of your subconscious beliefs. The subconscious is at least 95% of our mind. It’s the part that really controls the world we manifest, both inside and outside of our ‘physical’ body.
Scientists used to believe that we are purely physical beings living in a mechanical universe, but quantum physicists now believe that we are actually energetic beings having physical experiences. For those who grew up believing the former, this new idea may take some time to get used to, like the shift that occurred when people were told that the world was, in fact, round and not flat.
Understanding the scientific evidence that mind controls matter and that we are fundamentally energetic beings in an energetic universe, it is easy to see how our beliefs affect our external environment; both on a social, psychological level (e.g. Religion) and also on a physical, material level (e.g. Faith Healing).
Your assumptions about situations, and the repeating patterns of experience in your life, show you what’s really going on with your beliefs. When you become aware of how your subconscious sees the world and how it relates to your behaviour towards others, towards the planet and towards life itself, you can decide which (if any) of your beliefs you’d like to change.
Some people are not consciously ready to alter their beliefs, but a change might do you good. That is if you have ever wondered how you could possibly still struggle with money or relationships after all of the amazing insights you’ve had into the nature of the universe. I mean, shouldn’t you simply be able to ask for what you desire and have it arrive on your doorstep the very next day?
We are creatures of habit, and while we do learn many new and exciting ways of interacting with the world while travelling along our spiritual journey, unless we use these new ideas to create better habits, our life will keep going back to the status quo of our subconscious reality.
Luckily, I have come across some amazing new techniques for doing just that which don’t involve years of psychotherapy or counselling. Techniques such as Non Personal Awareness, which helps us to stop identifying with experiences – which is what causes us to hold things in or hold things out instead of letting life and life-force flow through us as it’s supposed to.
We build our identity by holding onto certain ideas. Then, once our identity is established, other ideas which do not fit with our current collection simply pass on by. Realising this, we can consciously choose to release old ideas that no longer serve us and embrace new ideas that serve us well.
In his book, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, Gregg Braden says, “Belief is defined as the certainty that comes from accepting what we think is true in our minds, coupled with what we feel is true in our hearts.” If any of what I have just shared with you rings true in either your head or your heart, I hope it helps you along your life path.
From my own experience, I believe that it will.
First published in Positive Life – Autumn 2010