Believe, they said, it’s all you need to do. Believe this, and all will be okay. Beliefs will keep you, make you safe, and you’ll be one of us. Nothing will harm you. Believe this, and you will always understand, always know the truth.
But then, there’s this.
You believed, and still, it was not all okay. You believed, and you were not safe, believed, and yet you did not belong. You believed with all your heart, but it did not prevent you from being harmed, from feeling fear and pain. You believed and yet still, you did not understand, and truth seemed further away then ever it was.
They said our beliefs were enough to stop bad things happening to us, but they did not tell us the truth. Beliefs cannot do this. The things we don’t want often still come, even though we believe very, very hard. We believe then the things happened because our believing was broken, and we did not do it right.
But your beliefs are not broken. That’s not why they didn’t keep you safe.
They did not protect you, because they are not real.
We place far too much trust in our beliefs.
Sweetheart, your beliefs, whether they are truly yours and always were, or whether they were given to you, are nothing but stories. Beliefs are ways of thinking we made up to help us explain things, to help us to make sense of the nonsensical, the sublime, the too difficult to conceive of or understand.
Beliefs are not the way things are. They are our frail human attempt to make tangible to us the intangible. Beliefs are the tales we tell ourselves because we are afraid of anything we cannot describe, limit, contain, explain, conquer, tie down, or fashion into a shape we recognise.
We have imagined our beliefs are a box we may keep ourselves, other people, and all the big, uncontrollable things of the world safely inside. But the truth is we are the box, and all those beliefs about ourselves, other people and the world are inside us.
Your beliefs make you feel safe, because you believe the stories they represent. But in reality, you are as safe or unsafe as ever you were.
If you did not believe, you would be as subject to or as safe from those things as you are, just the same.
Some of your beliefs are benign. Your belief in God is benign. Whether God exists or not, for example; your belief in God has no impact whatsoever on whether He exists. But some of your beliefs are malignant. Some of your stories are broken.
“I can’t do this. It’s too difficult.”
“I’m not going to be able to do it.”
“I’m too much.”
“I’m not enough.”
These beliefs change things. And what they change is you – they change you away from who and what you really are.
The belief you have of your “not being able to handle this” is just another one of those stories you’ve told yourself. Being too much or not enough are stories, too.
What would you “not handling it”. “not being able to do it” actually look like? What would it feel like? The truth is, it doesn’t look or feel like anything. It doesn’t exist, except in your imagination. It’s a story. And you’re telling it.
You can “handle” anything. By “handle”, I don’t mean “tolerate”. I don’t mean “bear up through”. I don’t mean “suffer manfully”. I mean, choose your way through. Process mindfully. Act in accordance with your values, and with boundaries and wisdom. Handle. Do. You can handle and do this, and anything else that comes your way.
There’s a story worth telling.
I know in the moment you see and feel the situation coming upon you, it doesn’t feel like you’re going to be able to. But that’s because of this –
Your mind convinces you in those moments of fear that the way you feel in the fear is the way you’ll feel when the thing actually happens to you, and you won’t be able to stand it. You’ll choose badly because you will be feeling that feeling, or not choose at all, and then what you fear most will happen. And it will be very bad.
But that’s not what’s going to happen. That’s another story you’ve told yourself.
Here’s another story. When you need to, in the moment when a thing happens, you can choose well. You have the capacity at all times to choose wisely. You always know the best thing to do when choosing is required. You are smart, strong and connected to your intuition, courage and smarts. You know how to do it; how to do it all, fear, or no fear. You are enough. That, right there, is your story. That’s a belief you can hang your hat on.
Where do you find those other stories; the ones that speak of your wisdom, knowledge, power, intuition, strength and capacity?
In the stillness. In the peace. In the quiet place of your heart.
You need a discipline, be it meditation, prayer, or simply walking in silence. Use the time before you fall asleep to clear your mind, rather than allow it to fill up with more stories of things that may never happen. You need to find a way to be that takes away the chatter in your head, that allows you to step outside the storytelling imagination, who constantly rehearses things to say and escape plans and sarcasm and clever answers, who practices resistance and ways to withdraw and avoid every unknown or knowable situation and never go through – always around, always back. Find the place of stillness, behind your breath, and tell the voices in your mind to be quiet. Then, just listen. The truth is there, in the peace, in the stillness. The true story that is who you really are. You are strong. You are able. You are wise. You are capable. You are connected to Source. God is in you, with you.
You need a new story. The story of you.
(c) Jo Hilder 2015