We begin life with no knowledge or concept of our own limitations. If we didn’t have parents or guardians as a child, we’d likely not make it to adulthood because without them we’d likely jump out a window believing we could fly like a bird or run into a lake not realising we needed air to breathe. Our limitations are what kill us eventually but they’re what make us human too. Limitations can help us navigate life each day so we survive to live another, but ‘Self Imposed Limitations’ are a sub-conscious creation brought into being through our beliefs and habits – we virtually give our life over to our subconscious to influence and control our actions.
“The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them, it’s almost as though someone was dreaming up these situations; guiding our destiny.” – Robin (Batman)
What are we if not a big fleshy bag of beliefs and habits? Well actually that’s exactly what we are, everything you do in life is dictated by your belief systems and the habits created around them. It’s how we function daily, on a superficial level that’s how our brains work. We believe we must sleep, so we sleep… we believe we must eat, so we eat… and so on… There are few who can rise above all limitations of the human body, it can take many lifetimes.
But why let our limitations stop us? Let’s give it a go in this lifetime…!!!
I’ve shared the following story before in a previous blog and I’ll probably share it again…I love it that much.
“Imagine that you were in an all-white room, totally white: white floor, white ceiling, white walls. And imagine you were suspended in that room, as if by magic, so that you couldn’t touch anything, just dangling there…And imagine that nothing else exists at all. How long do you think that you would exist in your own experience?” And the answer came up for me: “Probably not terribly long, not very long.”
Because, in the absence of anything else, I am not. Not in my own experience. I mean, I am that I am. But I can’t know that I am. I can’t experience that I am, except in relationship to something else. So, I can’t know anything about myself.
Yet, if somebody were to walk into that room of white-ness, and just put so much as the tiniest speck of ink on the wall, to the degree that I could see that speck of ink, that little black dot, to that degree suddenly I exist. First of all, over there would exist, and over here. Because the dot would be there, and I would be here. I would begin to define myself in relationship to that other thing… Put a cat in the room, and suddenly I have much larger experiences of myself, because that which is also in the space is much larger than the dot on the wall. So now I begin to conceptualise all kinds of things about me. Maybe the cat is softer than I am, but maybe I am older than the cat, or whatever.”
by Neale Donald Walsh from his book “Little Book of Life”
Let’s look at this story from the perspective of limitations. The first paragraph is similar to the newborn state of being, a Soul fresh from the infinite finds itself in a physical body and begins to experience the corporeal world of form. We learn using our senses, they are the interface between our inner world and the outer. They teach us through ‘comparison’… we see how we differ from that which is outside of ourselves. So, we begin life as limitless and grow toward limitation, we ‘progress’ as a child through learning what we can and can’t do, this sets us up to live as a social animal in society of other social animals. So, we’ve made it to adulthood, and we know we’re bigger than a dot on the wall and older and less fluffy than our cat…what do we do with that?
We begin the process of ‘unknowing’… Holy switcheroo Batman!
And we thought learning to walk was hard…the real work begins just when we’ve pretty much mastered the walking and speaking bit… Life is hard – that’s a crazy belief right there but most of us adopt that one pretty quickly. Self-Imposed Limitations are like unwanted house guests – we invite them in for cup of tea only to realise they’re staying the night and before you know it they’ve become part of the furniture and the idea of living without them is too hard to bear…so we keep them around.
What’s the answer? Shine some Light on them! Let them know that we’re aware they’ve overstayed their welcome and that we’re also acutely aware of the fact that we can live quite fine and experience a better and fuller life without them. The first step then is to become aware they are there and since we are the ones that invited them in for that cup of tea – we are the ones that can stop providing them with it!
So how to ‘unknow’ a belief and the habits that come with it…
- Identify your limiting beliefs and the habits that support them.
- Begin by looking at the areas of your life that aren’t meeting your expectations.
- Identify the beliefs that surround that part of your life.
- Observe yourself in action – watch for the ‘Self-affirming habits’ that support the belief.
- Do this without harsh judgements or shame, just acceptance and peace.
- Begin to change those habits.
- It’s like unwinding a rope, the last twist must be undone first.
- Replace the unwanted habit with one that will move you toward the experience you want.
- Experience the new you now.
- This takes practice and time (usually – but maybe that’s my belief?!).
- I do this through meditation and mindfulness practice, there may be other ways I’m not aware of.
- This is a present moment
practice, BE HERE NOW.
- There will probably be a resistance to this as it will mean your original belief about yourself must be replaced with a new more empowering one – that house guest must leave – even if we miss them, feel grief over their leaving, and question who we are without them.
Through the ‘unknowing’ process we learn that we are the creators of our own reality, we are not being blown about on a vast ocean like flotsam, we are not rudderless anymore. This ‘unknowing’ is actually a way to truly ‘know’ ourselves as powerful and creative beings; to get to this point we had to learn everything we did so we could understand how to let it go. If we didn’t go through that process of growing up and learning our limitations, we’d have nothing to work with now – be grateful for the process.
Robin: “If we close our
eyes, we can’t see anything.”
Batman: “A sound observation, Robin.”
We could opt to ‘close our eyes’ and just keep living as we are, but if you’re still reading this I’d say you’re past that point already. It’s a valid choice to keep going as per usual, there are some lives that are meant to go this way, it’s their path – but if you want to vibrate on a higher level, if you want to move towards a life that’s bright and shiny… then your path is a little different.
Addendum 1: Why the obsession with Batman you ask? Who’s to say…he just kept jumping into the words as they were being written…he came for a cup of tea perhaps?
Addendum 2: Please note, everything you read here and everywhere else (book or internet or tweet etc…) contain words that ooze with the writer’s own limitations caused by their own belief systems, therefore read and watch everything with a discerning eye and ‘let go’ of all that doesn’t serve you… If this is all you take away from this article, I have a happy heart.