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Trail Runner Nation Podcast. Review this title. Audio Books. Free Stuff. Healthy Living Radio Podcast. Beliefs are our reality-making blueprint—the way in which we process the flood of information that comes in through our five major sense organs every single moment of every single day. Your beliefs organize the world for you. Without them to help you interpret the massive dose of stimuli that comes at you on a daily basis, you would be on overwhelmed the minute you open your eyes in the morning.
That which we believe to be true, we tend to then perceive and experience as being true. We rarely call our beliefs into question, which is why they tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies. As long as beliefs remain unchallenged, they shape your perceptions and direct your actions at a subliminal or subconscious level. Your fate is more or less sealed—or, to be more accurate, your reality-making process is governed by your beliefs.
Fortunately, each moment holds the potential to break the spell an unconscious belief may have cast over you.
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Likewise, negative beliefs are likely to foster attitudes and actions—or inaction, as the case may be—that run contrary to your desires or stated goals. The second scenario is the causal factor for many people whose dreams have yet to materialize. The fact that we often do not question negative beliefs and accept them as the way things are makes them particularly noxious. I coined the term viral beliefs to drive this point home.
Viral beliefs are similar in many ways to the parasitic viruses that inhabit and occasionally sicken your body. They can be extremely poisonous, and they can lay dormant until some external factor or emotional trigger causes them to become active again. Viral beliefs can also spread from one person to the next in a highly contagious fashion.
The good news is: no matter what has happened to you in the past, your course is not predetermined. Fate has not left you out in the cold, and the life you desire is just around the corner once you tweak the belief system that governs your reality-making process. In the Native American tradition, the trickster is that one who breaks the rules to stir things up for a positive effect.
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This is the power you gain once you learn how to investigate the who-and-what that created your beliefs in the first place. We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. Many of your beliefs, positive and negative, are hand-me-downs you inherited from your family, community and culture. You are conditioned by certain attitudes, mindsets, and ways of interpreting reality that worked for those who came before.
The good news is, your ancestors survived. The bad news is, they may have done so on the basis of partial information or inaccurate points of view. Regardless of their validity, these beliefs are conditioned into you during formative years long before you are able to understand much less question them. These are best understood as collective beliefs. Some of these inherited beliefs take shape as superstition and govern specific behaviors.
To this day, the very thought of putting my shoes anywhere but on the floor gives me the willies! We also have more individualized beliefs that have their genesis in traumatic events. Viral beliefs can be formed when an experience has high-voltage emotional impact and is therefore difficult to fully feel and release. In this way, past trauma gets superimposed on the present and is subliminally re-experienced over and over again. This thought got absorbed into his subjective reality and became defining for him. As an adult he had tremendous difficulty whenever required to present his ideas to a committee or work group.
It is the emotional impact of such experiences that causes them to take up residence in our body-mind as beliefs about the world and our place in it. Such limiting beliefs grow and mature with us. When we face similar challenges later, the virus becomes active and dictates how we think, feel, and behave. Incident after incident in childhood transfers these messages to us at defining moments. In sessions and seminars I always ask people what they really want in life and invite them to articulate the dreams they would pursue if time and money were not an obstacle.
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The dream might be of buying a home, starting a business, finding a mate, writing the great American novel, or scoring a screenplay. Of course, some people have fleshed their dreams out more than others, and some people are more realistic than others. What does show up here and, as a consequence, there—meaning in the field of all possibility where our highest dreams lay in wait—is a subtle form of terror.
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That may sound strong, and yet I have seen this happen time and time again. A man expresses his dream and within a matter of seconds his posture starts to shift and he shrinks a bit. This shrinking, pulling back response is so widespread that we could call it a syndrome.
This then triggers a cascade of viral beliefs that get in the way of his fulfilling that desire. That tug of resistance causes a loss of confidence that is linked to feelings of fear and resignation located in his body. Like those annoying pop-ups on the Internet, the Enthusiasm Thief jumps onto the screen of your mind uninvited.
Rather than arrest the thief, you give it more of your life power and more power over your life.
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Do any of those ring familiar?