I Believe: When What You Believe Matters
by Val Silver
(New York, USA)
The courage to change your life is a process, one step at a time. The wisdom required to take that action rests within all of us. With every step we take, our confidence increases and we realize the true power of the gift of life. In this process, we find that believing in ourselves unlocks so much magic that life takes on an entirely new glorious nature. Eldon Taylor
Because of my interest in the mind body connection, I was most eager to read Eldon Taylor's book - I Believe.
Our beliefs are such an ingrained, often unconscious part of us, that until we are challenged to take a look at them, we do not know which beliefs we hold, whether they are accurate, or whether they serve or hinder us.
I Believe reveals the importance of knowing and choosing your beliefs and the effects these choices can have on the quality of your life — from influencing how your DNA expresses itself to what you will allow yourself to see and hear. You will be astounded by how your beliefs weave together like a web and how far reaching the effects of your beliefs can be.
This book includes 26 related, yet stand alone chapters that explore how beliefs affect goals, relationships, intuition, mortality, pain, peace and much more. True to the title, the author shares his personal "I believe..." statements along with anecdotal stories, research, and quotes by others to lead us in an exploration of our related beliefs. Each chapter ends with an invitation to examine our own related beliefs and go deeper with exercises that open us to more expansive beliefs and experiences.
This book also contains fun facts, such as Ben Franklin expecting to see genuine levitation during hypnosis and how people with multiple personalities can manifest different disease symptoms and eye color with each personality.
I have read some criticism in reviews about the author talking so much about his beliefs, but frankly, I appreciate that he identifies and owns his beliefs instead of passing them off as facts, as is common in many other writings.
What I Learned
As I read and reread through the book, it really struck home with me that so much of what we accept as fact, all our opinions, and so many of our behaviors, are a result of our beliefs.
Let's take the chapter on Balance as an example.
I confess to being surprised that fear was the main topic of this chapter. That would have probably been one of the last words to cross my mind when thinking about what affects balance, or equilibrium in my life. Yet, after rereading the chapter more carefully, and reflecting on what the author was saying, fear's relationship to our emotional balance became so obvious, I don't know how I ever missed it.
Fear, and the numerous beliefs that fuel it, are often the biggest players behind our dis-stress. So widespread are the effects of fear that Eldon calls fear "Public Enemy Number One". It can and does knock us off balance and trigger unwanted reactions, probably more often than we even realize.
He says, "Life is a schoolyard, and your teachers are often those who perturb you most. When someone irks you, pay attention. This is a good habit to acquire because you'll systematically begin to
discover the hows and whys that underpin your reactions. Most often, you're likely to discover that the trigger is based in fear."
These 'hows and whys' are your many beliefs. In this chapter, he explains three. Fear of loss involves security and ego issues. You may fear (or believe) that you appear stupid, or you will lose money. Fear of separation brings with it jealousy, competitiveness and rejection. Fear of exposure may be the most threatening of all because you worry about being found out, either for who you are or something that you've done.
The solution? Dispose of fear by forgiving and releasing yourself and others from conditional agreements and expectations. Trust and have faith in the Divine and a higher order of affairs. He makes a good point - as we continue to forgive and trust, we allow ourselves to make mistakes and to be wrong, which makes us wiser and less reactive as we evolve mentally and spiritually.
Here is a question for reflection - Who and what do you need to pardon?
My Thoughts About I Believe
As I was writing my short summary of this chapter, I realized something about this book my first perusal did not reveal. I had not realized how deep you could go with it. In truth, there are a lot of topics in a relatively short book. Some points are easy to gloss over as you go from segment to segment within each chapter. It would have been helpful if some concepts and topics were covered in more depth.
Yet, as I read and reread this one chapter carefully, my mind and prior knowledge made links and filled in the blanks. Because I was willing to be teachable and entertain a new way of thinking, I realized for the first time just how deep and important this connection between fear and balance is. When I really focused on what I was reading, the depth was there. It was teased out from inside me, making it memorable and belief shifting. Thanks to this book, I now have an expanded (and more accurate) belief system about balance.
My suggestion for using this book to your best advantage is this. Give it a read through. Enjoy the stories and Dr. Taylor's "I believes". Get a general feel for the concepts. Then, go back and reread it a chapter at a time - slowly and carefully. Stop often and listen for your own beliefs that pop up on the subject. Whether you believe your beliefs to be right or wrong, fact or opinion, good or bad, complete or incomplete, limiting or expanding, acknowledge and accept them using judgment-free awareness. Write them down. This alone will give you huge insights about yourself and why you say and do what you do. Take your time reflecting and doing the exercises.
If your reaction is like mine, you will discover that this book is much more of a jewel than you thought the first time through.