Your belief-system is what causes you to think and feel the way you do. Your belief-system will determine whether you're depressed, happy, sad, excited, or bored.
Your belief-system determines your courage, fears and behaviours.
You only need to examine your life to see your belief-system at work, as reflected in your level of success, your health, wellbeing and the quality of your relationships.
Your belief-system is your "auto-pilot" — the beliefs you hold and the "facts" you automatically take for granted. Your auto-pilot makes you do what you do, and is the root source of all the wonderful things in your life: the loves, the fun, the money and the pleasant surprises, as well as all the drama, conflict, frustration, stress and other negative situations.
An unknown author wrote (the following is, I believe, incorrectly attributed to Viktor Frankl):
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response."
Understanding and learning to "catch ourselves" when responding in habitual ways is a key to change. We learn that we are not victims to emotions, and that we cannot justifiably blame drugs, alcohol or other factors such as culture or peer groups, for our behaviours. Most importantly we learn we are not "victims" to some difficult-to-reach subconscious — it's all available to us consciously if we remember to catch ourselves responding habitually, particularly those responses and emotions that we fear, or wish to avoid.4,5,6
How does a belief-system affect my life?
Your belief-system determines whether you are going to be well, sick, rich, happy or sad (see footnote7).
What are some examples of people's beliefs?
Despite the obviousness of the following 'facts', it is our beliefs about said facts that remains irreducibly central to belief-systems.
- Eating healthy foods will bring me good health.
- Smoking is bad for your health.
- The Earth is round.
- The Sun circles the Earth.
- I'm going to be rich.
- I'm going to be poor.
- Sunlight can give me skin cancer.
- Getting ample sun helps prevent skin cancer
- Money can't buy happiness.
- Money can buy happiness.
- Men who wear beards are untrustworthy
- Women who wear makup are shallow
- Wheat and gluten products are bad for you
- As we get older, we lose strength and good eyesight
- "Herd immunity" provides protection against infectious diseases
How can a belief-system affect my health?
For around 30 years research has consistently shown that your beliefs are the primary determinant of health, more so than diet, exercise, genes etc. As Dr Herbert Benson affirms "We now have scientific proof that the mind (beliefs) can heal the body. This means that you have the innate ability to self-heal diseases, prevent life-threatening conditions, and supplement established drug and surgical procedures with mind body techniques that can improve your physiology, biochemistry, brain functioning, and genetic activity."8
Our belief-systems are central to how we approach food, diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, rest and play. Even the idea itself, that beliefs can improve one's health can be immensely reassuring to, and beneficial for those afflicted with illness. Conversely, "a study of more than 7,000 people over 12 years found that those with health anxiety at the start of the study were about 70% more likely to develop heart disease than those without that state of mind. Additionally, the researchers found that the higher the reported anxiety, the higher the risk of heart disease."9
Of the 9 factors found to be common to those who recovered from "terminal" (untreatable) cancer, 7 of those 9 factors are belief-system based.
How can it/they change my health?
Having a solid belief and conviction in health (not just wishful-thinking), will drive you to do those things that will lead to better health (or in some cases when fears, depression and negative thoughts dominate, your belief-system will generate ill-health).
How do I change my belief-system?
Changing your belief-system is first and foremost driven by your desire to change. That is the first step.
It is not for naught that for thousands of years we've been advised that desire and belief are necessary to getting "what things soever ye desire".10
Is a belief-system my thoughts?
Yes, as well as your deep-seated emotions, your likes, dislikes, opinions, fears and so on.
Even what you smell is driven by your belief-system. It has been demonstrated countless times that people, when hypnotised, can believe an onion tastes and smells like an apple, and can eat that onion, as if it were an apple.
How do I stop unpleasant thoughts?
Great question. "Unpleasant thoughts" are usually due to two factors: fear of our personal safety, wellbeing, health and financial situation, and our fear or belief that we're not as good, moral, strong, virtuous, rich or as beautiful as our partner, family, friends and the wider community wants or expects us to be.
In other words, unpleasant thoughts are usually our fear that we'll let ourselves down (fail), let others down (and possibly "hurt them"), or be scorned for not fitting current societal norms and expectations.
Recent research has indicated that instead of being "soft-wired" (genetically structured)11 to be competitive12 we're actually soft-wired to belong - to feel we're a valued and loved member of a relationship, a family, group or community.
So the first step to "stop" unpleasant thoughts is to talk to those who you think you're disappointing or you will let down. Generally they'll ease your fears, and so that fear disappears. Or talk to a confidant who'll remain non-judgemental, and by doing so, ease you back into feeling that you belong.
Ultimately, we're all in this together, so everyone has a vested interest in helping you be a valued and loved member in your relationships with partners, family, groups, work and community.
Some "unpleasant thoughts" can be due to others having small-minded beliefs, fears or expectations about you. In that case, their negative thoughts towards you reveals they're more in need of help and understanding than yourself. Knowing this can greatly relieve "unpleasant thoughts" when due to disapproval by others — as their disapproval often speaks more about them, than you.
In our workshops we provide a broader and deeper perspective on the immaturity of present human cultures -- and that those who are spiteful, vengeful and aggressive are reflecting our cultural immaturity, writ small. Overall, it would appear that culturally, Western democracies are in early to mid developmental phase 4 (early adulthood), along with remnants of late developmental phase 3 (adolescence) with its emphasis on individualism, competition, technology, religious and scientific fundamentalism13
How do I start thinking the right way?
It's preferable to think in a way that brings you what you want, and is right for you. The first step in that process is to imagine what you want. Then there are a number of steps to take in bringing those desires into reality.
What tools or techniques can I use to change my thinking?
As mentioned in the previous question, start with imagining what you want. And then start taking action in line with those desires. Be alert to "downward causation" — societal expectations in the form of those who will actively work to keep you where you are (in order for them to remain comfortable, profitable, in control etc). We go into more detail in regards to these steps in our workshops.
Is this all about law of Attraction?
In part, but we go further and include the Law of Action: you need to initiate, reach out and create, as well as attract others and "the universe" to come to you. Our workshops and forums focus on the machinery of the relationships you have that are constraining or disallowing you to achieve more (health and wellbeing). Another aspect is the deeper understanding of our relationship with time (past and future) - more explained here.
Am I locked in to what I think?
Only to the extent that you allow habits to dictate what you do and experience. As mentioned earlier, change begins with imagining what you want.
- 1. Put differently, your belief-system is the "mechanism" that "collapses"/solidifies/congeals/allows (infinite) possibility into lived, or experienced reality. It converts possibility into actuality. A very simple example: pick a number. Which number did you pick? 7? You could choose any number from within the infinite range of numbers. That's collapsing possibility (infinite range of numbers) to one, actual number.
- 2. There are some who believe we can live without a belief-system - that's a belief, and one that will, by necessity, still be central to the process of "collapsing" or selecting from unlimited possibilities, one experienced physical or psychic reality.
- 3. As is covered in more detail in "Simple Tools for Clarity, Understanding and Betterment", infinite possibilities are "squeezed" into probable choices, then into one-at-a-time, sequential-time experiences, be they physical and/or psychic/dream states. See figure right (from the Simple Tools book):
- 4. The means by which we may more thoroughly and effectively catch ourselves responding habitually, will be covered in detail in a forthcoming online educational course.
- 5. See also "The danger in being offended"
- 6. This awareness is particularly beneficial to those who fear various 'triggers' that habitually initiate unpleasant memories.
- 7. That might seem somewhat of a vacuous statement, given how we're inundated with influences and forces that can appear overwhelming. However, just as we now know we can dramatically change our brain (neuroplasticity) and recover from a stroke — or switch on disease fighting genes with focused relaxation techniques, or switch them off with negative, fearful beliefs — with the benefit of developments in quantum physics, we now know there's a deeper "physioplasticity" to life, that, if harnessed, would lead to remarkable outcomes in healing. That said, within the unlimited scope of possibilities, there are psycho-fractal frameworks within which we are born and live that necessarily and beneficially limit our choices (possibilities), which in turn help form the overall blueprints (probabilities) for our lives. Much more is explained in "Simple Tools for Clarity, Understanding and Betterment", see in particular page 20.
- 8. Dr Herbert Benson, The Relaxation Revolution
- 9. Health anxiety may increase risk of heart disease, research finds"
- 10. Examples include the affirmation that "what things soever ye desire, when ye (visualise, meditate, pray) ... believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" [Bible, Mark: 11.24], and "Whether you think (believe) you can, or think (believe) you can't, you're right" [Henry Ford], plus others abound.
- 11. "soft-wired" insofar as our genetic structures are "malleable" in response to our beliefs
- 12. Darwinian "survival of the fittest" theories were "naturally selected" during the mechanical, competitive, Newtonian era. Fortunately the relatively new science of quantum physics has unquestionably and undeniably confirmed that "immediate, unmediated connections ... underlie all the events of everyday life." [Physicist, Nick Herbert] There's an intuitive interconnectedness pervading all of our lives: we're more "plugged in" than standard Western science has hitherto discovered. All of which means, "nothing is unannounced. If we're paying attention stuff comes down the pike" [Terence McKenna]". It's a cooperative universe, at root. Competitive, hierarchical behaviours are what children and teenages do, to help establish their individuality.
- 13. Fundamentalism is 'either-or' thinking rooted in perfectionism — i.e. there's only one way that is right, contrary to life's infinite, endless fields of possibility and growth. Fundamentalism is characteristic of the "childhood of our species". Note the correlation of deeply fundamentalist people with those who are severe and punishing — they typically lack a sense of humour, and often openly disallow dancing, singing, frivolity, education and creativity. This also applies to scientists, atheists and sceptics, who are scathing of 'esoteric' matters despite the ample evidence of quantum physics for multi-dimensional, super/meta-physical aspects to everyday life. See Update 18 December, 2015 - WOW for an explanation of why such folk are often so vociferously scathing of such matters.