How you perceive determines what you receive. Approach 5 people and ask them, “You okay?” You will likely get a variety of responses, such as; “I’m good thank you,” “Nothing is wrong with me,” “I am okay. How about you?”
Some people perceive the question as “How are you?” and some others interpret it as, “Is something wrong?”
Both result in different experiences. One is receptive, and one is defensive. One establishes connection, and one establishes distance.
We do this in all our interactions with all aspects of life; people, situations, things, and abstractions. The way we create our experience is a unique function of our gazillion perceptions.
But even if this principle is easy to grasp, it begs another question …
If you want to change your experience and results in life, is it as simple as altering your perceptions?
But the art of changing it is much trickier business if you are wanting sustainable transformation. Especially when moving from a persisting undesirable experience, and towards the new desired experience.
Remember, any experience you are having now that is unwanted, is something that is precious. This is the positive intention behind all behaviour and experience; something we covered in previous posts, and have built layers of understanding on (The Art of Personal Change III – Doing the best you can … always). There is a larger context at play that the unwanted experience is helping to fulfill.
Without understanding and appreciating the tremor associated with changing underlying perceptions, your attempts to get the change you want might fall apart.
In the context of the change-work I am talking about here, the things that govern the way we perceive are often referred to as beliefs. For the remainder of this post, I discuss the construct of beliefs so you can get an appreciation of how treasured they really are.
You can enrich your understanding of beliefs by reading almost anything in the personal development space today. It isn’t a new concept. But the work I learnt from Carl & Ruth-Anne Buchheit provides a fundamental reframe that distinguishes our approach to transformation.
It is a beautiful reframe that works perfectly with the intended positive outcome presupposition. One that promotes self-unification rather than wasting energy in the overcoming of self.
Let’s explore it …
Beliefs are a set of filters for information, which we use in creating our experience in the world. By nature, they create a bias towards certain experiences and actions. Beliefs help generate an experience, and vice versa. They are two sides of the same coin.
Beliefs also help us generalize, distort or delete information so we can function as human beings in the material world, without too much conscious attention. Just like traffic lights for cars and pedestrians; we generalize red to mean stop, and green to mean go. We do not need to someone to remind us what they mean anymore. They have presupposed meanings.
Without beliefs, we would struggle with information overload, making us almost incompetent at having a human experience. Yet with them, we can equally struggle to create new experiences as the times evolve.
Being neither good nor bad, beliefs are subjective to the context for which they are applied. They can be equally empowering as they can be disempowering. For example, if you believe that you must work hard to have more money; you might struggle to have an experience of flow, relaxation, and ease, on your journey of accumulating more money. On the upside, it might give you a great work ethic and help you establish a strong professional reputation.
Etymologically speaking, to “be-lieve” is derived from Be-Leven, which in Old English means to hold dear or make dear.
Pay attention. This is big news.
To believe is to hold something as dear. It is therefore an act of love. As beliefs are behind all the unique human experiences we have chosen for ourselves–what you are experiencing now is an expression of love, no matter how pleasing or painful.
Your friendly local hippie, caring new-ager or zen teacher might have once told you, that “All there is, is love.” This reframe supports that. And provides an understanding that the every day man can take to heart without having to have an outer body experience.
“Creating a belief requires love.”
– Carl & Ruth-Anne Buchheit
But more importantly, in the context of The Art of Personal Change series–it supports the intended positive outcomes behind all our experiences.
When we try to change the way we believe, in order to have a new experience we want–we are essentially confronted with giving up something(s) we hold dear, in hope of holding something else as dear.
This is sad news because it can feel like loss.
This must be appreciated deeply before we even attempt to “tinker” with beliefs.
They are precious things.
One way to get a sense of how precious beliefs are, is to imagine a loving mother. She hears her baby screaming. She looks into its eyes and says to it in the silence, “I will do anything to protect you. I will do anything such that you may survive.” She doesn’t need reminding to operate that way, it is innate. It is the same thing with beliefs. We innately protect them. We live and die by them.
Take a moment to realize that every human being who is stuck in an unwanted experience that they are trying to change, is confronted with betraying their existing reality. One that is dear.
We don’t necessarily want to obliterate beliefs or label them as self-sabotaging beliefs. This propogates the war within.
I’m being cheeky. But back to the point.
Rather than look at beliefs as limiting or the cause of sabotage. It is wiser to acknowledge them as actions of love with positive intentions of their own. When you appreciate that your beliefs are coming from a loving space–you can build a new relationship with them. Relating to them this way diffuses excessive charge, and opens space for a respectful revision.
My wish is to continue to share the many dimensions of us that are working so hard to fulfill their loving intentions for us. I am certain that lasting change comes from a frame of inclusion rather than one of overcoming-self. Both have their uses of course. But in the context of our human progression, the latter is a perfect solution that has expired. 🙂
(P.S. Click to read the next post in this series The Art of Personal Change VII; Because I love You