Excerpt From Relationships That Work: The Power Of Conscious Living
– By David B. Wolf
Perhaps you are familiar with the story of the four-minute mile. It used to be considered an unreachable goal for a human being. In 1954, Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes. Within a year thirty-seven runners had done the same; within two years 300 runners had accomplished this feat. The barrier was not physical. It was a barrier of belief.
What are some belief barriers that you are holding onto? Identify what you are telling yourself—about yourself, about life, about commitment, wealth and happiness—that prevents you from full achievement. It is a principle of creation that things go from subtle to gross. (For example any invention begins subtly, with thought.) Change begins in the world of ideas. What is happening externally is a reflection of what is happening internally. Shining the light of awareness on what is going on inside uncovers creative potential that has been locked away.
Examples of belief barriers in the area of abundance could include “Rich people are cheaters,” “If I am wealthy I can’t be spiritual” and “If I have a lot of money I will lose my friends.” Now, I don’t want to be a cheater, I like to think of myself as spiritual, and I want friends. So if these thoughts are going on inside me, then despite my efforts to improve my financial situation, I will sabotage myself. Perhaps I am maintaining beliefs such as “I am not trustworthy,” “I am not lovable,” or “I am powerless.” Because subtle leads to gross, I will create situations that confirm my sense of not being trustworthy, lovable or powerful.
Looking squarely and concretely at what we are saying to ourselves permits us to change that inner conversation, and transform our lives. French novelist Marcel Proust wrote, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” If we are rigidly set in our paradigms (sets of interrelated assumptions that form the way we perceive reality and relate to the world), we may not recognize potential breakthroughs available to us.
Much of this book focuses on changing our experience of life through transforming our communication with others. However, transformative communication begins with awareness and metamorphosis of our communication with ourselves. Exploration of belief barriers is observation of self-communication. In following the process described in this book you will learn principles, strategies and tools to transform this inner talk and profoundly alter your experience of self and the world.
There are numerous examples where “new eyes,” or an alternate perspective, has fostered groundbreaking discovery. In the 1930s, Chester Carlton invented a device that produced photographic images using a specially coated metal plate, bright light and a fine black powder. His supervisor at Kodak Company was not interested in this innovative way of creating images, and did not encourage Carlton’s endeavors. Carlton however persisted. The Xerox company, with a fresh perspective, went on to develop this method for electrostatic photography, and in 1948 introduced the world’s first photocopier.
In the late sixties, Swiss watchmakers enjoyed 65 percent of the world market share. Then Swiss researchers invented a fully electronic, battery-operated quartz-movement watch, more accurate than conventional mechanical watches. Watch manufacturers in Switzerland however didn’t believe that this represented the future of timepieces. Japanese manufacturers acquired the technology from the Swiss, and soon the market was flooded with digital watches. Within a decade Swiss market share had plunged to less than 10 percent.
Not seeing beyond our axiomatic assumptions can be costly. A coaching client once described her realization that while she was in a certain relationship, she wasn’t able to see her boyfriend for who he was. Rather, she saw him through her assumptions, her set of expectations of how she believed he should be. “I had this idea, I just assumed it was true, that because of him our relationship wasn’t working. I was constantly looking at him to find the source of our problems. He had to change; he was never really okay in my eyes. My way of thinking was infectious. At one point he even told me that he’s not good enough for me, just like I’d been projecting onto him. I broke up with him. Now I’m seeing with completely different eyes. I realize that I don’t see myself as good enough. How I was treating him was about what I sense is lacking in me.”
The above examples illustrate the value in examining our assumptions about life. In the process described in these pages you are invited to explore assumptions you hold in each area of your life, and how well they work for you. To effect profound personal change through this process involves being open and willing to learn. This book provides a structure consisting of principles, skills and processes to inspire progress in whatever domain you choose. Our sets of assumptions constitute our conditioning for relating to the world, our box for thinking, feeling and acting.