Do you believe the flower to be imperfect, or perfect and beautiful just as it is?
What if this flower were a person looking in the mirror. Perhaps it would be telling itself that it is not perfect, not beautiful, not good enough. Believing in this it would probably be feeling bad, suffering in other words.
We all have them, those beliefs that limit us. This article invites you to explore those limiting ideas, what they might be and mean and give you some strategies for seeing them for what they really are. To get the most from it, sit down with a pen and notebook and do the suggested exercises while you read it.
See if any of the following resonate with you.
- I am too fat/skinny/unfit/stiff/weak
- People don't love/respect/like me
- I have too much/more/something else to do
- I cannot do or be something as I am too ignorant/young/old/female/male
- I need a bigger/different/better organised/ house
- It isn't possible because I live where I live and not somewhere else
If you can add any of your own to this list. Grab your notebook and jot them down, and jot down the versions of these that most resonate for you as well. Don't worry about reinforcing them, we are going to work on that.
Take a look at the list. See if you can arrange them under the following headings (some may seem to cross over more than one, just try to make the best fit for the moment.
- I am not good enough
- There is not enough time
- I don't know enough
- There is more I need to do
- I am in the wrong place or lack space
Did they all fit somewhere in thse headings? These categories I have given are not a random choice but a version of the five Kanchukas, or limitations, which the wisdom teachings tell us are clouding our understanding of our true nature.
- Raaga - limited perfection (shows up as desires which seek to fill up that which is lacking)
- Kaala - limited time
- Vidya - limited knowing
- Kalaa - limited action or doing
- Niyati - limited space (shows up as being confined to a location, as in a body)
But they are not only the limitations themselves but when we start to notice them they become signposts that point us towards our true nature.
- Raaga, limited perfection, points to our inherent wholeness - Perfection
- Kaala, limited time, points to the timelessness of pure Being, which we are - Eternal
- Vidya, limited knowing, points to the all knowing wisdom which is also here, always - Omniscient
- Kalaa, limited action or doing points to there being no doer and the state of not doing that is the state of pure Being - Omnipotent
- Niyati, limited space points to the spacious infinity of pure Being - Omnipresent and Infinite
Now, go back to your list of limiting beliefs. For each of them, find and record next to it, an opposite.
For example, if you have a belief "I haven't done enough" you might take the opposite to be "I always do the best I can" or "I do as much as I can to the best of my ability"
If you didn't get out a notebook and pen, while the others are completing this task, take a moment to think of what prevented you from doing that. Perhaps it was "I am too busy right now, I just want to read this and get it over with". This would be the limitation of time, wouldn't it? Was there a different reason? Is there a Kanchuka there? Not in the right place just now? Limited space. Unsure of where all this is going? Limited knowing. There is something wrong with being asked to do exercises? Limited perfection. Can't be bothered doing exercises? Limited action.
OK, so now look at your list and pick the limiting belief that you find most poignant or resonating with you right now in this moment. Ask your heart and don't hesitate. Take note of the opposite you have created.
In a moment take some time to sit awhile with your eyes closed and take the limiting belief, and explore what it feels like? What emotions does it raise? Where does this live in your body? Sit with that a moment and explore it a bit, being curious. Then take the opposite. If you take this to be true, what does it feel like? What emotions does it raise? where is this in your body. For a little while, as long as you like, go between these two opposites. Take enough time to let the belief, its attendant emotions, perhaps memories, and feelings arise and note the bodily sensations that are there, before moving back to the opposite.
What happens? Does there come a time when they can both be here together?
Now for a critical question. Who is dong all the observing of these beliefs, these memories and emotions, these sensations in the body? Can you just be there, be that?