Do you feel limited in your ability to grow, thrive, and realize your potential? Where do these limits come from, anyway? What’s holding you back?
At this point in my life, it’s become clear to me that the limits preventing many of us from greatness—in our work, relationships, and creative endeavors—come from within. I’ve seen it in myself and in others. I’ve also seen how meditation and mindfulness help me recognize those limits and move beyond them.
The Human Story
If you look out across the landscape of history, you can see that the towering figures that shaped our world as it is today didn’t let inner or outer forces stop them.
They stand out in history because they had an inner vision and they gave everything to it. That inner vision gave them the strength to break through all sorts of limiting ideas and beliefs.
You can look at history from a lot of angles. Sometimes I like to think of our progress as the story of human beings transcending their own inner limits. What we see on the outside is amazing progress and achievement, but that’s often the result of a significant and arduous inner journey.
For all of us, there are invisible forces like fear and doubt and resistance that live inside. Almost all of us have self-limiting ideas and beliefs of some sort.
Sometimes they are subtle, sometimes they are obvious. In my opinion, those are the real obstacles to realizing our greatness. At the same time, I’m convinced that we are each born to rise above those obstacles and serve some great purpose in the short time we have on this earth.
Three Steps to Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
So how can meditation help you overcome your self-limiting ideas? How can it help you liberate your unique gifts and talents so the world can benefit? Here are three simple steps to help you overcome self-limiting beliefs through meditation and mindfulness.
1. Experience yourself without limits.
Meditation helps you experience what it really feels like to be yourself, but without any limits. Have you ever let go so deeply that you feel all the boundaries drop away? That’s what I’m talking about.
Maybe you were running or doing yoga and you felt the deep release of your mind and spirit into a limitless dimension. Maybe you felt it in communion with a friend or lover.
It’s important for you to know that you are already free and whole on the deepest level. Independent of your moment-to-moment or day-to-day experience, it’s important to have this experience of no limits.
2. Recognize patterns of thought.
Meditation and mindfulness can help you start seeing through your own mind and patterns of thought. This is incredibly important. Through meditation, you can begin to stand apart from the constant stream of thought that runs through your head.
As you learn how to do that, you’ll begin recognizing different patterns of thinking you habitually respond to without even knowing it. It’s an unconscious and deeply conditioned response. But through this process of letting go in meditation, you start making this response conscious.
3. Stop listening to the chorus of negative voices.
As you start recognizing patterns of thought, you’ll be able to see which streams of ideas and thoughts you’re habitually feeding with your attention. And you’ll notice that some of those are limiting and full of doubt, fear, and resistance.
It’s important to recognize these patterns because we all have them. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have some variation of a chorus of voices in their head filled with doubters, skeptics, critics, naysayers, and plain old haters.
Sometimes they come out from behind the shadows and you can hear them clearly; other times, you can’t.
It’s normal to have this chorus in your head. From an evolutionary perspective, those voices probably helped us when we had to fight off predators in the jungle a million years ago. But they’re not so helpful now. And meditation can help you upgrade that mental software. How does it do that?
A committed meditation practice helps you become sensitive to this chorus of voices in your head. And once you do, you’ll have a new choice, which you didn’t have before.
You can choose to no longer listen to those voices, to consciously ignore those voices. You don’t need to suppress them or try to stop them. And that’s the beauty of it. You can let them be there without listening to them. As long as you don’t feed them with your attention, they’ll lose steam and fade away.
Those voices thrive on our attention. They have no power without it.
Stepping into the Light to Give Your Gifts to the World
That’s a very simple description of how you can begin to slowly but surely keep your focus on the things that are most important, without getting distracted, sidetracked, or derailed by that chorus of negative voices in your own head.
Now you can focus on stepping out into the world to give humanity your gifts. You have something big to do here on earth. No one knows what it’s going to be. But it’s true for you and it’s true for me. And meditation is an excellent tool to help you take that daring and bold step into the light.