This morning the sun is shining and the warmth of the early Spring is here and welcome. I was thinking this morning about freedom. This is on my mind because I often look to see what is in me and in my way. Freedom is only possible if I learn to first free myself. What blocks my freedom is my limited beliefs about myself and the world. I am a collection of my memories, programming and expectations. The past has shaped how I look at things. With this past influence I see things from the filter of what I have learned.
Our minds as we grow up are programmed by our experiences and this shapes how we look at the world around us. By the time we have reached adulthood we are a collection of thoughts that are too often limited and limiting. Freedom comes from watching the mind and the 40,000-50,000 thoughts we have each day. Now obviously we can’t watch most of those thoughts because we wouldn’t be able to do anything else. The good and the bad news is that 80-90% of those thoughts are the same as the day before. Good because we have lots of time to observe and not so good because the limiting thoughts keep getting repeated.
This computer system we call our mind is constantly programming our lives. The goal here is to listen inward and begin to understand the themes and major messages the mind continually repeats. With some watchful, non-judgmental observing we can find out what our limiting beliefs are. This process takes patience and an openness to just see who we are and what we think. Many of our limitations come from those we learned from growing up including family, schools and the other institutions in our lives. Now, there is obviously much here to explore.
Here are a couple of important rules to make this exploration successful:
• Avoid judging our being critical of what you discover, do not blame others or yourself
• Take what you discover and consider changing your thoughts to ones that are empowering
• Keep a sense of lightness and do your best to enjoy your insights and your new choices
Here are some key things to watch for:
• Decisions you made about life when you were only a child and working with insufficient information
• The viewpoints of your parents and family which were often limited to their experiences
• The limiting perspectives schools put on you for the purpose of control rather then learning
• The use of fear and guilt by institutions like churches and others for the purpose of control
• Peer pressures to conform, to be accepted
Now here are a few ideas that you will find helpful in exploring your own freedom:
• Take time each day to listen inward and get to know your self-talk and thoughts. Great times to tune in are in the car by yourself, a morning walk, riding the bus, any time that you can be quiet
• Be aware there is an usually a powerful inner critic; instead focus on appreciating who you are as a wonderful unique person
• Writing in a journal can help you sort out some of your insights
• See yourself as the one who creates your experiences; so decide to design your life the way you want it
This is maybe too much information? Take what connects to you and explore it. This process of self-discovery and setting yourself free is life long, so take it easy along the way.
“Wherever my travel may lead, paradise is where I am” Voltaire
“What we are looking for is what is looking” St Francis