hostage  Neurologists and neuropsychologists tell us that traumatic events and near-death experiences can have the amazing effect of, essentially, wiping clean the brain’s neural pathways of habitual thought.  Someone who has died and been brought back or someone who has suffered deep emotional trauma (such as the death of an intimate loved one, bankruptcy, divorce, or estrangement from family) has actually been given a gift.  A gift, that is, of a fresh start, a clean slate, where she can now create neural pathways of her choosing instead of her old, practiced habits of thought.

The reason such a clean slate can be called a gift relates to how our neural pathways of habitual thought, which become our beliefs, are formed.  For 99% of us, our beliefs are given to us, or transferred to us, from parents, teachers, and the popular culture.  I don’t believe that anyone has intentionally bestowed self-limiting beliefs upon you, but I am certain about three things:

1.  Humans are inherently flawed and scarred creatures.  Adults were trying to protect you, keep you from being hurt (emotionally and physically), passing along what they have been taught.  Even if an adult is self-actualized, a person is going to make mistakes by passing along, consciously or unconsciously, her limiting beliefs to you.  I’ve done it inadvertently with my own children.

2.  Popular culture is always selling something.  Most dangerous is the predominant aspect of our popular culture which is selling not a hard good, but a belief system – such as the need to constantly consume or the need to fit in and be “cool” (by using their products, of course).  Since popular culture’s primary aim is to sell, it is ultimately unrealistic to expect it to be concerned with instilling uplifting beliefs to us, unless those beliefs happen to further its aim.

3.  Even self-actualized people who are truly interested in your personal growth and success are still limited by what they actually know.  And, until only recently, everyone “knew” that the old paradigms from the first Scientific Revolution were the “truth” and the best belief system we had.  Hence that is what they taught you.

Stay tuned to this blog to learn more about creating beliefs of your choosing…