Belief Re-patterning (book review)

Editor’s note: From time to time I will be reviewing books related to conscious creation, self-development, law of attraction and other subjects of interest to my readers. I’ll note on each book review if I purchased the book myself or if I obtained a review copy from the publisher.

If you’ve read or studied conscious creation, you’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “if you change your thinking, you can change your life.” These are great words, indeed, and heavyweight authors like Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and Esther Hicks are models for living this profound philosophy. But if you’ve tried to change your thinking, whether through affirmations, meditation or mindfulness, and found yourself stuck in the same-old, same-old world, you begin to question the validity of new age thought.

I came to the same conclusion: if it’s so easy to change your thoughts and change your life, why can’t I do it? The answer is simple if the process is not: it all comes down to beliefs. Your beliefs dictate your experience of the world and trying to change beliefs can seem an impossible task.

Author Suze Casey offers her advice in a new book, Belief Re-patterning, released in April 2012 by Hay House. The book is a culmination of her years of personal coaching and introduces readers to the process of changing beliefs and thus, improving their lives. It’s a grand companion to the work of other Hay House authors and even pioneers such as Seth, Napoleon Hill, Charles F. Haanel, and Joseph Murphy.

One line of Casey’s book Belief Re-patterning caught my eye in particular as I flipped through it. “I had become frustrated with suggestions that I just change my thinking. That was the exact part that challenged me, and it seemed to me that books and workshop leaders just glossed over it,” Casey writes. That was enough for me to give the book a try.

If you’ve studied conscious creation or law of attraction in any form, you know the basic tenant of the teachings: you create your own reality. And you create your reality through your thinking, your emotions and your beliefs. I was originally drawn to the idea because it puts the responsibility for making personal change right where it belongs: with yourself. You are in the driver’s seat with your life, setting the tone and direction you want to go.

Like many beginner “conscious creators,” I approached belief work by making lists of things I believe in–good and bad. Then I set out to change those beliefs that were no longer serving me. During that process, I adopted the use of daily affirmations in an attempt to insert new beliefs into my psyche. But months of repeated affirmations felt like they were getting me nowhere and I began to wonder what was holding me back. Shouldn’t the process be simple?

Background

Casey’s take on belief re-patterning grew out of her own personal history, which includes health challenges, teaching and coaching thousands of clients. The author brings a unique approach to belief re-patterning by integrating teaching and learning strategies into the process. She carefully observed how her students learned best and paired it with her belief patterning “formula,” a six-step list of statements designed to move both surface beliefs as well as deeply-planted core beliefs.

What it is

Casey’s approach to belief re-patterning is a process. In short, she teaches readers how to engage in an inner dialogue that helps direct the intellect, conscious mind and subconscious mind to work together to systematically change thinking and emotions. The emotional connection is important, as beliefs are a combination of repetitive thinking combined with strong emotion.

“Belief re-patterning works because the focus is on switching the emotion you are feeling rather than trying to change the thought,” she writes. This is a crucial distinction and one that’s often overlooked in other self-help books on changing thoughts.  For example, many authors tout the benefits of using affirmations. The premise: say an affirmation enough times and you’ll begin to believe it. But many people have a hard time tapping into the emotions that underlie those repetitive thoughts.

Make no bones about it: this is a workbook and is best utilized when you actually do the exercises in each section. Casey readily acknowledges right up front that people will approach the book in different ways: some will read it cover to cover then go back and do the exercises while others will stop at each section and work with the suggestions. I did a hybrid of both, first reading the book and mentally performing some of the assignments and then going back and re-reading thoroughly and completing written assignments in sequence.

Please note: Casey makes available a printable workbook on her website that readers can use alongside the manuscript. This helps frame the material in a different light and may help some readers make concrete use of the techniques she offers.

What sets this book apart from other self-help books?

The biggest benefit to Casey’s book is by addressing the problem most people have with changing beliefs: the how. The author gives specific examples of how to engage what she calls your “inner critic” and “inner coach” in a dialogue that ultimately leads you to new thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

The process is somewhat similar to other self-help teachings and processes such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)/Tapping, Sedona Method and others. However, Casey’s in-depth explanation of each step in the process is a welcome change for readers looking for specific, practical techniques to move thoughts in a positive direction. She explains the why along with the how to help the reader intuitively understand the material.

Who should read this book?

Although the language is clear and simple, I’d more readily recommend this book to someone who is already familiar with the benefits of belief work: changing the ones you don’t like and enhancing the ones you do. It is general enough for novice readers but is better understood and utilized by those already familiar with conscious creation, law of attraction or affirmations. Understanding the framework of conscious creation helps crystalize some of the ideas she presents.

My experience

Having read hundreds of self-help books and worked with belief re-patterning over the past several years, I was intrigued with Casey’s premise but held a certain amount of skepticism about the results. Her promise that belief work can be effective and easy was the hook I needed to try just one more book on the subject.

Some of Casey’s process is vague, leaving the specific inner dialogue up to each reader. At first, this frustrated me but I hung in there and kept the overall concept in mind as I started in on a few practice sessions. Within a few days, I found myself tackling surface beliefs (such as something upsetting me at work) and applying the dialogue formula to the thoughts at hand.

Working with that process, I found I could identify deeper, more firmly held beliefs. When I listened closely to my “inner critic” for clues, I could hit upon areas that needed further work and development. This is a great benefit as beliefs are usually found in clusters and it sometimes takes multiple tries to get to the root of a problem.

As Casey promised, the process became second nature to me. I found myself looking at old beliefs in new ways and making headway on ones I wanted to change. Using the process, I can now see movement on several beliefs by taking a few moments to run the dialogue in my mind.

Still, this work is an ongoing process that doesn’t always lead to instant results. Like affirmations, belief work requires you to train your thoughts and emotions into the new desired position in your psyche. It takes time, but so far Casey’s suggestions have proved valuable in many areas. Core beliefs—those deeply ingrained thought and emotional patterns that run or ruin our lives—take longer to move. I’ll see in the months to come if the process is successful.

The bottom line

If you’re interested in changing your thoughts and beliefs toward new, beneficial and supportive ones, this book can start you on the journey. Like most self-help books, it’s important to find an author and/or a process that resonates with you and the way you learn. For me, it’s definitely a part of my suitcase of processes that I can use to actively construct the life I’m creating.

 

Disclosure notice: I have signed up to review Hay House books as part of the Hay House Book Nook program. However, I did purchase this copy of Belief Re-patterning on my own before joining the program. The opinions in this review are completely my own based on my direct experience with the book.

Available from these booksellers:

Hay House

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Are you ready to shine?

Are you ready to shine?

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Want to change the world? Start with a little trust

The world seems to be suffering from a lack of trust. You don’t need to look far to see this mistrust. It’s shows up in political commercials, acts of terrorism, entertainment and even religion. Mistrust disguises itself as the desire to change the world for the better. But to change the world for the better, we need to approach trust from another perspective: trust in our own selves first.

So how do you learn to trust in yourself let alone others? Do you start with trust and build upon it or is it something that must be earned incrementally? The easiest way is to start with where you are right now.

Affirming yourself

Trust and change come from self-affirmation. Affirming yourself is simply the acceptance of your entire self: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Affirmation takes into account that no one else in the universe is you. Your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses belong to no one else and realizing this, you can turn all of those attributes into the building blocks for a better world.

Self-affirmation doesn’t mean that you can’t actively wish to change some things about yourself. We all hold ideal versions of ourselves; it’s a part of our natural heritage. But self-acceptance acknowledges both the good and bad within and releases the resistance to not being there yet.

For example, I have a clear image of my ideal “professional writer” self. That self is successful, well received and well compensated. I’m certainly not there… yet. My writing needs work; my presentation skills need developing; my audience needs building. Still, I acknowledge those shortcomings and continue working toward my ideal self. In affirming myself where I am, I allow the creative universe to deliver new and exciting things to me, even if they don’t look exactly as I planned.

Start within and move out

I can hear the objections now: “That all sounds nice and pretty on paper, but I already trust myself, it’s others that I don’t!” you object. In conscious creation terms, it’s important to remember that the physical world is a reflection of your own beliefs, feelings and thoughts. Everything you experience first existed as a thought, an expectation of how reality should be. So when you experience something you don’t like or want, you must first look inward to discover the beliefs behind the experience.

As you begin to trust yourself, when you affirm yourself and your being, you automatically help others. Your energy is stabilized and clear. You don’t get in your own way by constantly second-guessing your decisions and your actions. Accepting “where you are” allows you to get to “where you want to be” with less baggage and less psychic weight.

Accepting yourself (and others) for what they are

When you hold no resistance between yourself and your ideal self, you can experience the same in others. It’s easier to understand this when you think of your mate or your pets. You may see the greatness in these individuals and creatures yet realize there are times when they don’t measure up to that greatness. However, your love transcends this gap and allows you to accept them as they are. Having that same loving regard for yourself opens you up to seeing the same in others whom you might normally mistrust.

Trust in yourself also means trusting those nudges your inner self gives you every day. Those impulses are messages from your inner (or higher) self, urging you to action that automatically benefits you and the rest of the world. Struggling against those natural urges creates more resistance and cuts you off from energy that can indeed change the world. Start with yourself, affirm your being and honor your spirit. The world will thank you.

 

 

Stop turning to karma for revenge

According to many social media contributors, we can conveniently call upon karma to fix almost any nefarious act we choose. Your girlfriend cheated on you? That’s okay, karma will get her. Your boss demoted you? No worries, karma will step in and save the day. Karma has now become a catchall phrase that evokes the desire for retribution and revenge for anything from divorce to financial hardship to car accidents.

But what most people don’t see is their own role in the karmic process. They don’t understand that they are as much responsible for those acts as the person who committed them. Knowing this, karma really can be a bitch as well as a good friend.

In traditional Eastern cultures, karma was thought of in terms of reincarnation: “paying” in this life for “mistakes” made in the last. It was viewed as a balancing mechanism, giving individuals the chance to make good on wrongs committed in previous lifetimes. But in recent years, the concept of karma has taken on new meaning.

Today’s more popularized version of karma is also based on the theory of balance. Westerners treat karma as an unseen force that rights perceived wrongs by having someone else suffer in a like manner. For example, when someone has been the victim of a so-called egregious act, they call upon karma to fix the situation by having the perpetrator suffer the exact same act. They feel justified and vilified by having that person experience their own pain.

How often do we hear friends and family members shout to the universe, “karma’s a bitch!” and then patiently wait for the universe to impose a justified payback that looks just like the original crime?

If only it were that simple

In conscious creation terms, karma has a somewhat different meaning. Your emotions, thoughts, beliefs and actions all have an energetic basis. When that energy goes out into the universe, it seeks out like energy to create your everyday life. This “law of attraction” takes your energy and lines it up for you to experience life in matching terms. To most people, that sounds nice as long as they’re talking about “good” or “wanted” manifestations. But what about the bad?

How do “you” fit in with karma?

By the time you experience an event—any event—you are at the tail end of an energetic exchange. Your beliefs, thoughts and emotions have already been broadcast to the world and found like-minded energy to interact with. A physical manifestation occurs and sometimes you like the outcome and sometimes you don’t.

That means you are responsible for creating your world and the events within it. And when you experience something unwanted, you want someone to blame. You want someone else to pay for the pain and suffering you’re experiencing. You want your friends, your family and even the woman standing next to you to acknowledge that you were wronged. And the best way to get that affirmation is to see someone else get exactly what you did.

In these terms then, many people turn to karma to justify their own reaction. An example: Someone sideswipes your car and takes off without leaving contact information. You’re furious! You justify your reaction to a friend: “karma’s a bitch. He’ll get his!” In actuality, you’ve already received yours.

Unknowingly, you have broadcast some pretty powerful energy into the universe. In the example above, perhaps you’ve been thinking about how you can’t trust other people to treat your property with care and respect. Maybe you’ve been feeling unsafe and are thoroughly convinced that the rest of the world is out to get you. The possibilities are endless and usually complicated. You don’t consciously think, “I want my car sideswiped today,” but you’re definitely giving off signals that are pulling event toward you. Since you don’t understand why you’ve created such turmoil, you ask for help from outside yourself.

You think about karma. You start to feel better believing that the universe will take care of the wayward driver. Your focus is on him and the fact that you were wronged. In essence, you feel powerless in the situation and hope that praying to the karmic gods will make you feel better. You dream that some day, some how, the other driver will have his own car side swiped and equalize the situation.

Now, those thoughts of karma and retribution and the focus upon negative events do something even worse—they create more of the same. The energy you’re emitting is composed of several dastardly ingredients: anger, victimhood, revenge, powerlessness and more. And the result of all of those thoughts and feelings will be, you guessed it, more of the same…for you.

Knowing this doesn’t help most people feel better, but it can.

Using karma as an indicator of your thoughts

Being aware of your desire for karma to kick-in for others can be a big help to understanding your own thoughts and emotions. When you find yourself in an undesirable situation and start to turn your thoughts toward revenge, train your mind to recognize you have created something that you don’t want. From there, you can refocus your thoughts and energy into more constructive directions.

Take our car example above. Instead of turning to karma to rectify the situation, immediately recognize that you yourself have created the event. Something in your thoughts, feelings, or actions has caused you to send out a signal that manifested the event. Take it easy on yourself, since most of this has been unconscious on your part.

Next, start asking questions of yourself. Why do you feel anger? Was it respect for your property? Was it feeling helpless in the world? Be aware of the thoughts you are wishing toward another person and then turn them around on yourself. Start probing into your own beliefs about safety, respect and karma. The more you investigate your beliefs and thoughts, the further you’ll understand your own role in the situation.

Remember, taking responsibility for what you’ve created is the first step in realizing that you have the power to change it. Self-empowerment begins with self-awareness and responsibility. You’re learning (as we all are) to create with your beliefs, feelings and thoughts and it takes time and practice to master these creations.

But what about the other person?

The other person—the perpetrator—has also allowed his or her energy to match yours. They, too, have beliefs about reality and are learning to create as well, consciously or unconsciously. Try as you might, you can’t control another person, so focusing on yourself is the best starting place for your own growth and development.

Does having these experiences mean you shouldn’t get mad, angry or upset? Not by any means. It’s always appropriate to feel and allow your feelings to flow as they come up. Get angry, cry, stomp your feet, beat your fists against a pillow. Engage in healthy, non-harming forms of emotional release. Feel your emotions and then let them go. The trick is to not stay stuck in them and create more of the same. Allow yourself the time to experience the frustration then set it aside and learn more about yourself and how you can change reality for the better.

Karma really is about understanding the energy you’re putting out into the universe and seeing how it is manifested in your everyday experience. Understanding it, learning from it, and adjusting your thoughts accordingly is the best way to honor your spirit.

Emotions are like storms

Emotions are like storms

Emotions are like storms: they can come on strongly and soak you to the bone. But when you allow your emotions to move through you, they reveal the brilliance that is your true nature and leave you refreshed and peaceful.

When you identify with your strong emotions, you lose power. Remember, you are NOT your emotions; your feelings move through you like clouds in the sky. Don’t stop them. Instead, feel them, release them and return to that peaceful center of your being where growth can occur.

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Why the hell am I doing this?

Last weekend I was challenged to think about what I’m passionate about. I attended a writer’s workshop in Denver to learn more about the possibility of publishing a book on conscious creation. During that seminar, I experienced an extreme range of emotion. First I was elated, filled with inspiration and creativity and dreams of the New York Times bestseller list in my mind. The next day, reality set in when I learned how difficult publishing can be, how rare it is to succeed in the industry and how much time needs to be devoted to not just writing a book but promoting it as well.

I was deflated.

Since I began this blog several months ago, I’ve had the chance to explore issues of conscious creation and spirituality. To do that, I’ve had to rely on synthesizing years of understanding on a variety of topics and explain them through my own experience. The process of writing about these topics has forced me to really dig deep into my own understanding and prove to myself and others that I know what I’m talking about.

So as I got caught up in my own depression about the so-called reality of book publishing, I had to take a step back and realize I was back in the “accepted” view of reality. It was as if the past 10 years of my life had vanished and I was back to the old way of looking at the world. Old beliefs floated to the top of my consciousness: life is hard; you’ll never find what you’re looking for; things are never going to change; you don’t have what it takes. The list went on and on.

And it sucked.

With the help of some courageous friends, I was called on the carpet about my own beliefs. After all, conscious creation is about discarding beliefs that are no longer useful and here was a whole heap of beliefs that needed to go. I had to return to the basics of spirituality, including refreshing my trust that the universe will support me in whichever way I turn.

Several conversations with friends and coworkers solidified the thoughts brewing in the back of my mind. One friend told me how overworked she was, how she couldn’t possibly take on any more “things” in her life and how deep she was sinking. She then proceeded to tell me about how she was starting a new parent-teacher group at her kids’ school and volunteering to run a fundraiser at church. In my mind, I wanted to scream at her to look into her own beliefs and see which ones she could eliminate yet I remained quiet.

That same day, a coworker came into my office to “vent” about some things happening in his department. I swear he almost burst a vein in his neck when he talked about how bad things had become at work, how he wasn’t valued as an employee and how the entire organization didn’t make sense. He was angry and depressed and the stress was beginning to take its toll on his body: it was that visible.

It’s often so easy to spot the limitations of others and ignore our own that I almost missed the poetic imagery that the universe was placing in my view. I wanted desperately to help both friends see how a change in perception could change their lives.

As I processed these conversations in my head, I was reminded of my own life many years ago. At that time, I was both of these people. I was unhappy, a bit depressed, and I blamed a lot of people for my troubles. I could point to my demanding boss, my uncaring friends and unsupportive coworkers for all of my problems. I frequently pleaded with the universe to give me a break and just allow me some happiness. I kept looking for solutions outside of myself instead of looking within.

The comparison of now versus then jolted me back into my senses. When I was exposed to topics such as law of attraction, affirmations, consciousness studies and simultaneous time, I felt I had come home. These seemingly surreal topics resonated with me in a way that nothing had before. I remembered how I had spent the past several years devouring as much information as I could on these subjects and trying the concepts on for size.

Do I feel like I’ve made it? Not quite. Do I feel like I understand the topics better? I’m getting there. Do I feel a lot happier in my life? You betcha. And for that reason, I’ve decided to reaffirm my spirituality goal:

I pledge to investigate and share my experience and understanding of conscious creation and new age/spirituality topics in an effort to help myself and others live better and more fulfilling lives.

It’s as simple as that. The pledge does give me a lot of latitude—anywhere from continuing on with this blog to telling a stranger about a great book I read. Does it mean I’ll be writing a book soon? It’s too early to tell. In the meantime I’ll go back to my investigative work: researching, reading, experimenting and evaluating the topics and tools we can all use to be happy. From there, I’ll leave the results up to the creation universe and see where it takes me.

Thanks for being with me on the journey.

Are you ready to bloom?

Are you ready to bloom?

At any time, your consciousness is ready to open up and show the world how spectacular you are. Affirm to yourself that you are loved and you are safe. When you trust in the universe and trust yourself, you allow your consciousness to unfold naturally and at the right speed. Each day brings you new experience and new admiration for the flower that is your life. Open up and let the world experience your magnificence.

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