One often overlooked aspect of self care is honoring the part of you that animates your body as you read this. One could say that it’s the “more real” part of you. At physical death, the body disintegrates, while you awaken to realize that you are the light, energy and consciousness that used the body vehicle to experience that life. You are indestructible and infinite, and even when you’re fused to a body, you cannot separate yourself from this eternal aspect.
As you reflect upon and identify with this timeless part of you that comes from the one creator source, you automatically begin to honor and respect your “true” Self. Compassion can begin to grow for every other Self that is blindly experiencing this human drama, and also every thing that is animated by the one energy source.
As one contemplates upon the changeless immortal aspect of life that underlies the ever-changing mortal part of it, a question of “what’s my purpose?” may arise. Wayne Dyer once said in a recent talk, “Don’t die with your music still left in you.” What is your music? Each person has their own unique talents, strengths, passions and expressions. We are meant to let our essence fully shine through us, yet many of us are held back in some way. Although some of our talents may be lived out, we remain stuck in other areas. These are our areas of opportunity.
Behind every area that you feel stuck in your life, you’ll find an unconscious false belief that you’re living from. As you shine the spotlight of your attention on these mind programs, they begin to lose their power, because they are no longer believed in. Seeing through our self-imposed, limiting thought programs may be considered one of our life’s purposes.
One beautiful example of this is my friend who recently began college as he turned 40. Although he is one of the wisest, most intelligent people I know, the reason he didn’t start college earlier was due to a subconscious belief that he was too stupid for academia. He picked up that false assumption in his early school years when he struggled with a learning disability, and it wasn’t until his 30s that he began to see through that false belief with self-reflection. He’s now getting all A’s.
Just as a computer functions according to its programming, so we live according to our mind programs, whether beneficial or self-defeating. The tricky part is that the false beliefs that dictate our life are mostly unconscious. But as we become increasingly self-aware, they become easier to discover and change.
Life is like a giant copy machine that hands us a copy of our unconscious beliefs. When I found myself very anxious before giving a talk, I later went home and mentally dove into that fear to meet it and question it. My subconscious fear was trying to protect me from the audience because of the belief that I might be ridiculed, judged and hurt. I had to first become aware of the belief behind this fear, and possibly uncover where it originated before I could see through it and reassure that part of my subconscious mind that it no longer needed to protect me from audiences anymore. Even if there were judgments against me, I could accept a differing viewpoint without being harmed. I thanked my protective impulse, but told it that it was hindering me rather than helping, and it no longer needed to “overwork.” The subconscious fear then began to loosen its grip and dissolve.
It was a lesson for me that we can all reprogram our subconscious minds. Even though these mind programs form from experiences in our early years, we are the ones that can change them in later years as we become more conscious of them. It feels a bit like awakening from a sleep. Living life with negative beliefs is like trying to run a marathon with heavy armor on.
Uncovering our sabotaging thought patterns reveals a powerful means of self-care. The easiest way to do this is to fully examine a negative or stuck feeling. Locate where in the body you feel it most. Then mentally dive into it. It will lead you straight to the thought/belief that needs attention and adjustment or letting go. Sometimes it’s simply repressed emotional energy that wants to be released and liberated. Just as you need to locate a faulty computer program before you can change it, the same goes for our mind programs. Carl Jung once said about healing: “That which is unconscious must ultimately become conscious.”
Noticing our mind programs has a subtle but powerful subconscious effect on us. A small distance gets created between us and our mind programs. As that identity gulf widens, it reveals the difference between bondage and liberation. No longer consumed by our negative thoughts, there begins a growing sense that our ever-changing thoughts and beliefs are not us. They are merely a reflection of our mental and emotional conditioning. They come and go as we grow. In fact, we are that which can observe thoughts, change them and use them. If you don’t consciously use thought, you will unconsciously be used by thought. Eckhart Tolle writes in his book Stillness Speaks, “The next step in human evolution is to transcend thought. This is now our urgent task. It doesn’t mean not to think anymore, but simply not to be completely identified with thought, possessed by thought.”
As we begin to see through our mind programs, we more easily and naturally fall into that valuable form of self-care mentioned above: Becoming more aware of and identifying with your “truer” Self, the “more real” part of you that can’t be wounded, that sees through all hurts, and never leaves, even at physical death. Simply rest in this expansive aspect of yourself. It is here now, it is who you are. The more you bask in this perception shift, the more you will feel whole and complete, and then those beliefs that don’t resonate with the truth of who you are will rise to the surface to be examined and released.
The resulting freedom of this has an enormously beneficial effect on the body’s brain chemistry. Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship, once said, “As you heal yourself, you do your part in healing the world. More than you could ever know.”