The article this month is about "Core Belief Change," a process of altering our habitual thoughts and conclusions about reality to initiate inner and outer change. While this current article presents a general idea, future ones will introduce the specific practices and step by step instructions. I look forward to sharing more next month. In the mean time, I will lead a 1 hour qigong session this Saturday morning at an Insight Meditation South Bay retreat. Perhaps I will see some of you there!
In this newsletter:
- Article: Core Belief Change
- This Saturday: Day-long Retreat: Mindfulness of Feelings
- Medical Qigong Level 2
- Acupuncture & Qigong Sessions
- Facebook & Google+ (Read this newsletter on Social Media)
Core Belief Change
By Thomas Leichardt, DMQ (China)
We think thoughts every day, as naturally and effortlessly as the wind rustles leaves, or raindrops fall softly on a tin rooftop. This miraculous process seems to happen all by itself. Often, we give little heed to what that voice inside our head is spinning, as we are so accustomed to focus outwardly at the world of events and happenings. However, those seemingly fleeting thoughts have their physical counterparts, and leave their mark on the body-mind, a minute, however definite mental-physical energetic-chemical trace.
A belief is a pattern of thought, chosen as a model through which to view reality. A belief also represents a focusing of thought, in that it begins to arrange thoughts according to itself, forming a distinct pattern that reflects the core belief. Using an analogy, a belief can be likened to a slide through which light passes. The light is our awareness, while the slide is our belief, which arranges our awareness into a pattern. We see the world through a particular lens, then, a certain type of focus. No two people see the same event in the same way, for each individual looks out upon reality through their own lens, and interprets the data through their own filters and beliefs.
The imprint of one thought on our body-mind is mild, almost imperceptible. However, when we consider the focused repetitive power of reoccurring thoughts, hovering about and maintained by a specific core belief, that effect is magnified and prolonged. It is kept alive, attaining a kind of self perpetuation, and tends to grow in momentum over time. This magnifying effect is so powerful, in fact, that via a rather miraculous process called neuroplasticity, our physical brain grows in response to it. The brain and physical organism literally grow and make adjustments in response to these reoccurring patterns of thought, and especially our strong assumptions about reality. For example, and to use an extreme, people exposed to severe trauma, who then regularly experience flashbacks or fixate on that painful and frightening trauma, eventually have definite and observable physical changes in their brain, as well as changes in blood chemistry as compared to a person who has a relatively easy and stress free life and benign thought patterns. Stress hormone levels will be higher, certain portions of the brain will show atrophy, while other portions, those responsible for a fight-flight response, will show increased neural connections.
It is important to note, here, that people exposed to terrible trauma, who either naturally let it go, or consciously take themselves through a process of healing and resolution, don't develop the negative effects as do the people in whom the trauma remains alive through fixed belief and it's attendant thought patterns. That is to say, we are not at the mercy of past events. The point of power is in the present, and therefore, we always have the power to shift our focus and belief, heal our wounds, forgive, and essentially rewire our conclusions about reality. The point of power is always inside us, and it is always in the present moment.
Releasing the past has a profound effect on our present day reality. It is the best gift anyone can give themselves, for it shifts reality in profound ways, and changes the course of one's future. Forgiveness of the past, of others, and ourselves, is of most benefit to our own psyche. It is we who benefit the most from forgiving others and releasing past situations.
Now, those seemingly fleeting thoughts that float through our minds do have their physical counterparts, and leave their mark on the body-mind. This is very important. Thoughts are mental enzymes, mental hormones, that have their physical counterparts in the body. Each thought has energy, electromagnetic energy; a certain electromagnetic "tone" that has its effect on physical-chemical reality. These mental enzymes are energetic phenomena, however they correlate with their physical counterparts, the neurotransmitters, hormones, and related physical phenomena.
Thoughts, and especially beliefs, translate inner vitality into specific forms and events. The word is literally made flesh.
A single powerful thought has the capacity to significantly alter our blood chemistry, hormone levels, physical and mental state. All of us have noted at one time or another, how a certain line of thinking (such as a remembered past event, or an imagined future one) has completely shifted how we feel in the body. Many individuals feel that they are at the mercy of their thoughts, just as they feel they are at the mercy of the events that seem to happen to them. However, certain kinds of mental disciplines can avail individuals to harness the power of their thought, and literally create a new inner reality, with a marked change in neurotransmitter activity, hormone levels, and overall physical health.
This inner shift has a way of propagating, then, throughout our external environment. When we get the inside right, the outside has a tremendous propensity to eventually match our inner state, provided we tend to its growth and development. This is the best part, because not only is the initial core belief change riveting and compelling, it is also rather fun and exciting to maintain. The simple exercises are both engaging to practice, and their results are equally energizing to watch.
A belief system is a long held conclusion about reality, which affects our chemical and hormone balance on a daily basis. Certain chronic patterns of belief and thought will tend to deplete our health, weaken our immune system, and invite disease. For this reason, vibrant happy people tend to live longer, happier lives.
Many of us have a mixed bag of beliefs. Some are detrimental, while others are incredibly life enriching and empowering. It is quite common, also, for a person to have conflicting beliefs in the same area of their lives. In this case they oscillate between periods of relative success, followed by bouts of defeat, whether real or imagined, within a particular aspect of their lives.
How does one harness the power of thought, then, and how does one direct it consciously?
Core belief change is a process of establishing (i.e. choosing) beliefs that will empower our minds and bodies to operate at full and maximal potential. Whether we are already healthy, or suffering from chronic pain, disease, or simply mental unrest, core belief change can enhance any therapy, alternative or allopathic, or it can be used simply to transform a mediocre mental state into a much more ecstatic one. Through core belief change, we can also increase confidence in ourselves and our abilities. In any case, we are releasing old assumptions and beliefs, which cut us off from source energy, from who we truly are. In their place, we establish beliefs that give us a direct connection to our very own source energy, to who we truly are - a source of magnificent potential.
Awareness is always the first step in any journey of change and transformation. First, we have to see what it is we want to change. Thus, the core belief change process begins with self reflection and self awareness. It goes without saying that, to use an analogy, you must first see what you have growing in your garden, and to really take stock, before you go about changing it all around. Thus, a person begins to recognize and uncover their core beliefs about life, about reality, through simple techniques of watching and observing their mind-flow, the thoughts and feelings that move through the mind, and especially the repetitive and habitual ones. The garden of the mind must first be carefully watched and observed, and understood, before any readjustments or overt changes can be made. This self reflecting attitude is of paramount importance, because, through it we not only understand the initial changes we must make, but it also serves as a continual process of maintaining our connection to source.
There are several methods of acquainting oneself with one's core belief structure. Once this structure has come to the light of awareness, change is initiated, sometimes by the very fact of awareness itself, and often times with the help of some simple yet powerful techniques for adjusting or altogether changing any malefic belief patterns for more beneficial ones. Once the beneficial beliefs take root, and begin to generate their own patterns of thought, our subtle blood and brain chemistry begins to shift, creating a greater propensity towards physical and mental health.
Following this transformation of our physical and mental state, our habitual behaviors shift as well, and these changes then propagate out to our outer world. They reflect in our relationships and external life in profound ways, which further reinforce the newly established beliefs. This is when the process gets tremendously exciting, because when direct evidence of our work begins to roll in, we can use that energy to further growth and expansion.
We see the outer world through our core beliefs. In fact, it is our core beliefs that draw certain experiences to us, that bring out certain responses and attitudes towards us from others, that literally help form the reality within and all around us. Thus, to change the outer, we must begin with the inner, the beliefs and patterns of thought that form our outer experience.
In our next episode, we’ll take a look at some of the simple methods for observing, identifying, and then altering our core beliefs. Many of you will find the process simple enough, interesting and certainly engaging. I look forward to sharing more as time allows.
If you would like to share this article with others, please consider sharing it on any of the social networks using the buttons provided. If you have something to add, agree, or disagree with, please consider posting a comment here. Your feedback is greatly valued!
The above article was inspired considerably by Jane Robert's books, and a whole variety of spiritual teachers, friends, and life's experiences. Thank you all!
This Saturday: Day-long Retreat: Mindfulness of Feelings
Upcoming Day-long retreat with Shaila Catherine & Tom Leichardt
This day-long program will explore the role of concentration for calming the mind, deepening wisdom, enhancing enduring happiness, and ushering attention into a profound state of stillness. We will introduce meditation techniques aimed at strengthening concentration, cultivating skills for freeing the mind from distraction, and developing equanimity to support undistracted awareness.
The retreat will be led by Shaila, while Thomas will lead an hour qigong session from about 10:30 am to 11:30 am.
Saturday, Feb 11, 2011, 9:30 am - 5 pm
Location: St. Timothy's Episcopal Church
Medical Qigong Level 2
Medical qigong is a fabulous way to increase your energetic sensitivity and projection skills, as well as to build competence, skill, and confidence in energy work of all kinds. The Level 2 course is offered at Five Branches University, San Jose, and is taught by Thomas Leichardt. All classes are from 9 am - 6 pm, on the following Sundays: March 25, April 1, 15 & 29. We'll cover advanced spirit-skill meditations and Daoist alchemy geared towards self cultivation as well as clinical application of energetic healing modalities.
For registration, please contact Phan Goh at firstname.lastname@example.org. MTCM students contact Gina Huang.
Acupuncture & Qigong Sessions
As many of you know, I am offering acupuncture treatments at the Five Branches Clinic in San Jose as a way to complete my training for an acupuncture license. I am also incredibly happy to integrate medical qigong into these sessions. This makes them an incredible value to the community, as internship rates are incredibly low! The Five Branches intern rates are less than half of what I used to charge for medical qigong alone! What is a session like? Find out here.
My clinic shifts for the spring term are:
- Monday, 1pm - 4pm
- Wednesday, 9am - 12pm (VETS clinic) & 1:30pm - 4:30pm
Five Branches University San Jose Clinic Number:
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Thanks so much for reading this far!
May all beings be happy and peaceful.
Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.
Tom / Yogeshwar
Where there is Love, there is no effort.
Thomas Leichardt, DMQ (China)