I like to go for hikes in the woods along the creek of the Wissahickon that flows through the northwestern part of Philadelphia. The place where I often enter the park has a large home surrounded by a lot of land where a couple of large dogs roam. Every now and then the dogs get excited when someone walks by and they race toward the road barking ferociously, but because there is an invisible fence around the yard they never go any further.
The way invisible fences work, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, is a wire is buried along the edge of the yard that emits a warning signal and then a shock which is picked up by a small receiver on the dog’s collar. Both of those elements need to be in place for the fence to operate: the wire hooked up to a source of electricity, and the collar on the dog.
In last week’s blog I wrote about limiting beliefs and how we can become more conscious of them so that we can begin to move beyond them. Sometimes that movement will happen naturally. As we become aware of them, the limiting beliefs will just fall away and we will experience freedom.
Sometimes, though, they don’t. Sometimes, even when we know they’re there, our limiting beliefs continue to confine us, like a dog that’s held captive by an invisible fence.
When that happens it usually means we are powering the belief with our resistance to it. It’s paradoxical, but the more we fight against a thought pattern that is constraining us, the stronger it becomes. Our resistance makes the thought pattern seem real to us, when in fact it is simply an idea in our mind which has no substance.
The way to freedom is to drop our resistance and to stop fighting the beliefs we want to move beyond. When we are fighting against thought patterns and beliefs it’s as if we are choosing to put on the collar that keeps the confinement system in place. By dropping our stance of resistance, we stop colluding in the mental dynamic and it no longer has any hold on us.
It’s counter-intuitive, I know. When we are operating out of the ego paradigm we think the way to accomplish things is through our own efforts and striving. But when we choose to live differently and engage life from a spiritual perspective, the things that seem like nonsense to the ego are the very things that lead to our liberation.
[photo by Ed Pearce]