The nature of existence is an age-old question, studied and pondered by gurus, yogis, and scientists alike. No matter how much anyone speaks on the subject, at its core, it’s deeply personal. It’s easy to think the whole world resolves around oneself because that is the basis for one’s experience. For without this sense of I, how would we relate to what we experience? 

One way to connect with the nature of reality is through spiritualism. As mentioned in the last post, spiritual practice is a system of personal growth. We cannot begin to connect with our higher selves if we fail to recognize our internal patterns. And without our higher selves, we cannot begin to make a positive change in our world. 

One thing is for certain, spiritual practice is essential for an enriched and fulfilling life. Which is why everyone needs one. A spiritual practice helps to peel back the layers of the proverbial onion that is oneself.

The best place to start is with an examination of the self, specifically self-limiting beliefs. Knowing what these are, why you adopted them, and how they affect your life, allows you to understand the root of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to overcome your self-imposed restrictions and become limitless. 

When you sit in quiet contemplation (meditation), many thoughts and emotions arise. This allows you to take a closer look at what makes you tick. It illuminates the origin of your beliefs, which influence your thoughts, feelings, and actions in everyday life. 

As discussed in the previous post, our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are wired into us. But we can rewire them. We are all a part of an infinite holographic universe, and as such, we have the blueprint of existence imprinted into our very being. Like DNA in the cells in the human body, holding the information necessary to recreate the entire body, we are representations of the infinitude of the cosmos. Inside each of us are the basic building blocks of the cosmos. We can therefore change the fabric of our very being to emulate the pure state of existence. We can live in any way we can imagine. That state is our true, higher selves. But it takes work to develop this state of awareness. It is hard to kick ourselves (the ego) out the door to create space for our true being.

Remember, you don’t need to be living in a war zone to pick up negative programming. It’s all around you. Your subconscious absorbs it and uses it to dictate your life. I came from a loving, middle-class family. My parents stayed together and were quite present in the lives of my brothers and me. Yet, I have come to discover embedded self-limiting subconscious programming. And these exert influence in my life in ways that are unhelpful. 

Now on my second marriage, I have begun to recognize patterns in myself. I now realize how these patterns have played out, often to my detriment, in my past and current relationship. Which is why it is so important for me to correct these behaviours. It is not only hindering relationships in the physical realm but hindering progress in the metaphysical realm as well. 

Spiritual practice creates the space needed to look within. It gives you the means to rewire your brain and subconscious. Unlocking the door to something much greater, beyond the concept of I. 

I have spent close to half of a decade trying to rid myself of such preconditioned beliefs.  Although progress is being made, I still have a lot of work to do. Beliefs come in many forms: Feelings of lack (of time, money, and resources), of not being good enough or accepted (in my writing, in my chosen life path, or as a father), and unworthiness (of success, freedom, and of living the life I want). 

In all my self-reflection I have found a thread that ties all these together. Can you spot what these have in common? It’s fear

Fear of not having enough to provide for myself and my family (lack). Fear of being ridiculed or mocked for my writing or choices in life (acceptance). And fear that I won’t have what it takes to achieve the life of my dreams (worthiness). These are significant blocks for me and they have been hindering my personal and spiritual growth.

Self-reflection has revealed that I adopted these traits years ago, like most of us, from my family and society at large. Within my family, I adopted the beliefs of my father. I would like to say here that my dad is not a bad person and that love him very much. But, like so many people, he is self-absorbed. He never considers how his thoughts and actions have influenced his children and still do.

Now retired, my dad had a long career as a mechanical engineer. He is therefore a conservative and analytical thinker by trade. He is always looking to find and solve ‘relevant’ problems.  This seems harmless at first glance. After all, why would a problem-solving mentality be a bad thing in a world fraught with problems?  But looking at life as a problem to solve results in a ‘glass-half-empty’ outlook. 

By thinking about life as a series of problems to solve, one lives in a place of fear and negativity. Solving problems is an attempt to control life. But the nature of reality is chaotic and unpredictable, which I admit can be fear-inducing. However, embedded within this chaotic nature is the unlimited potential of the universe. If you are aware of your fear, you can make a habit of pushing through it. Better yet, you can reframe your fear into an acknowledgment of infinite possibility. If you do this, you will begin to change your subconscious programming surrounding fear. 

When living from a place of fear and negativity, you unwittingly project this out onto and into, others. I know my father only wants to be helpful by planning and preparing for what life can throw at him. Yet, I can’t help but feel that being fearful and being prepared aren’t mutually inclusive. One can be prepared and stay positive at the same time.  It does take a change of perspective, but “problems” can be viewed as “opportunities.” Opportunities don’t need fixing, they need fostering. This mindset changes your entire view of ‘problems,’ from a negative one to a positive one. 

Growing up (and even to this day) surrounded by this mentality, I was submerged in a “yes but…” thought loop. I absorbed these projections deep into the fabric of my being. This led me to adopt a generally negative outlook with no awareness of it. If something good happened in my life, my inner father (or actual father) would pipe up and say “Yeah but what about [insert fabricated problem and negative thought pattern here].” This led me to often feel like I was never good enough or was unacceptable, as there was always something that I should have considered, done better, or accounted for ahead of time.

For those that know me, please recognize that I have no ill feelings towards my dad (or family). I love him (and them) and he has helped shaped me into the man I am today. This is simply an examination of where my specific thoughts, behaviors, and actions come from. Also, I am not blaming anyone for my personal failings. I recognize that I am responsible for myself, even the subconscious aspect that are harder to recognize. It is up to me to acknowledge and correct any negative patterns I have developed, regardless of their source.  

I am by no means an expert here and I often struggle with this process. I still have a lot of work to do and I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish. This journey lacks a destination. I suppose it’s called a spiritual practice for a reason. Akin to martial arts, one’s practice never ends. Depending on your proficiency, the practice may change over time, from one of learning to one of teaching. But even in teaching, one is still learning, by learning how to teach. 

I find solace in this thought though, as the only goal here is to get better. Without a destination, there is nothing to feel rushed towards. Even if it’s only a tiny amount each day, I know I am still moving in the right direction.

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