My recent conversation with Bruce Lipton on Mental Health Exposed inspired me to ponder beliefs that contribute to the decline of civilization. Imagine millions of individuals acting on their individual versions of the following five beliefs and you are not far from a world of greed, terror, materialism and unnecessary suffering.
To make your contribution to a more enlightened world, notice when you are acting upon the following beliefs and consider what other options you have. Change begins with seeing the truth!
After describing each belief, I make suggestions of specific things you can do to raise your consciousness where the belief applies to you.
1. If you are right, I must be wrong (or if you are good, I must be bad, etc…)
Even though many people are capable of understanding that two people can be right or good at the same time, we often do not react as if this were true. For example, why is it so difficult to admit when we make a mistake? Why do we cringe with envy when a colleague succeeds and enjoys a few moments in the spotlight?
Because we tend to live on a teeter-totter of right and wrong, good and bad. If you’re up, I’m down. If I’m down, you’re up. It is intolerable for anyone to feel they are chronically in the wrong, or bad. Therefore, we all strive to be right and good.
In the process of striving, if we must make others bad and wrong, to be up and put them down, then we have set the stage for a continual battle, which is what we have on this planet! The battle plays out in our homes, communities and on the world stage, day in and day out.
Raise your consciousness: Learn to admit and let go of your mistakes. Realize that doing this does not make you wrong and others right. It simply sends you in a new direction and, in fact, inspires others to do the same. People will feel safer around you.
Make a list of five mistakes or errors you have made in the last week. Tell appropriate people about them and take corrective action. No big deal!
2. If you have more, there is less for me.
This classic zero sum mentality creates societies based upon social and material rank – the “haves” and the “have-nots.” The thinking that supports this belief is that resources are finite. Therefore, the more you get, the less I get. Modern life has become a competition (or a war) for who gets the most and who gets the leftovers.
It’s true that many material resources are finite, but the most important resources are infinite. Love, joy, fulfillment, happiness and other inner resources are the foundation of healthy, peaceful living. These states are always available to people that learn to tap them. There is no shortage – anyone can have as much as they want!
When life’s infinite resources are in place, the finite ones tend to take care of themselves. Two happy, peaceful, inwardly fulfilled people tend to work out how to divide a pizza! Better yet, infinite resources expand when you share them.
Raise your consciousness: Identify the unlimited inward resources you need to tap into. As you identify them, consider a few ways you help others tap into them as well. If more happiness is on your list, write down some ways to make others happy as well. The more you share, the more you create.
3. I need it now.
A hallmark of American culture, the get it now mentality displays all the maturity of a toddler. Seriously. One of the indicators of maturity is the ability to delay gratification. When a two-year-old wants something, he wants it now! If he doesn’t get it, he might throw a tantrum.
Mature people (notice that I did not use the word “adults” here) can delay gratification for years at a time without acting impulsively.
Raise your consciousness: Take pride in delaying gratification. If you want something that you can’t have yet, give yourself permission to feel a deep self-respect for waiting until the time is right.
4. The only reality is physical.
This one keeps us focused on the material world and dovetails with beliefs #2 and #3. If the only reality is physical, then the most important resources must be physical and, well, there are only so many of them, so I need to get mine right now, before they are all gone.
When reality expands to include the invisible, the world changes dramatically. Of course, some of the invisible is taken for granted, such as the future. Most of us count on the future being there, period. If we were to believe even for a moment that the future is NOT there, panic would immediately take hold of us. In fact, people in the midst of full-blown panic attacks report a total future blowout. During the episode of panic, the future vanishes – a blackout.
The intangible, invisible world within and around us is powerful. We unconsciously take it for granted and when it vanishes, we are left powerless. We could make a case to suggest that intangibles are the most important aspect of our lives. Love, respect, cooperation, peace, the future, the past, a spiritual force or God, knowledge, wisdom and spirit should be foundational for everyone.
If this were the case, why would you care what kind of car you drive?
Raise your consciousness: Make a list of the tangible things in life that you overvalue and resolve to enjoy them, but to make life’s intangible gifts a priority.
5. I live in a bubble.
Most of us recognize that we are physically separate from other people. It is therefore natural to assume we are also spiritually or psychologically separate. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After we are born, the formation of our beliefs and identity, as well as the fundamental skills of developing language and making meaning, all come as a result of the intervention of others. We cannot separate ourselves from others in that way. Who we are is inseparable from the interactions we have with other people. We carry their messages with us minute by minute.
Believing in psychological separateness leads you to feel that your actions do not really affect other people (Conveniently, you may still claim that their less than thoughtful actions affect you). This is a delusion.
At another level, this belief causes us to see each others as less than human. If others are separate creatures “over there” (as opposed to people like me that I am connected to) then it is easy to justify all manner of wrongdoing in the name of some purpose that is real to me (that “they” just don’t get).
Raise your consciousness: Make a list of what you feel is most important in life and trace it back to your interactions (positive and negative) with other people. Then, write a paragraph describing how you want to positively influence key people in your life.