The Power of Belief, by Ray DoddThe Power of Belief, by Ray Dodd https://www.bodywhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Aztec-02-1024x369.jpg 1024 369 BodyWHealth https://www.bodywhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Aztec-02-1024x369.jpg
The Power of Belief forms a central part of the BodyWHealth curriculum. I came up with the concept after a very personal experience—a transformative event on my own journey.
I had been struggling under the weight of an overly busy life. Consumed by being a good husband and father, and committed to a challenging work schedule, I had very little time left for myself. The consequences were dire. Accelerated aging was beginning to rob me of my youth, health and happiness.
I was in the process of fixing this; working hard on my exercise, diet and sleep habits. But progress was desperately slow. Each day, an aging, sagging, bulging, graying, sad old man looked back at me from the full-length mirror in my bedroom.
One morning, to my immense surprise, I saw the face of a young athlete looking back at me out of that same mirror.
This was the turning point!
From that day on, my transformation was rapid and enduring. More than this; it spread beyond my physical condition. I discovered happiness that I didn’t even realize I had lost. And the results were contagious—touching the lives of my family, friends and colleagues with profound benefit.
Something shifted in my consciousness that day. I stumbled upon a phenomenon I now share daily with my clients, helping them transform their own lives. I called it The Power of Belief.
Imagine my surprise when, several years later, I found a book with an identical title, published in 2003 by Ray Dodd. I had to read it.
It’s a beautiful little book filled with mystical history, penetrating insight and practical guidance.
The author’s framework for belief is deeply influenced by Toltec wisdom. There is some controversy about Toltec culture. Many academics now believe their influence to be exaggerated. Nevertheless, the mythical philosophy associated with this central American people remains intriguing—especially in the light of emerging neuroscience.
The Toltecs describe the “Dream of First Attention” to be the mindset imprinted on each of us from an early age by adults with influence over our lives. The worldview and beliefs of our parents especially, molds our own set of beliefs, including our understanding of our abilities and limits.
As we grow and develop, we actively reinforce and fortify this foundational belief system. We unconsciously use real life experience to substantiate the constructs. When we are exposed to situations and experiences that challenge these beliefs, we feel insecure and unsafe. We take extreme steps to reinforce the walls of our belief castle, building masks that “help us pretend to be someone we are not, because we’re afraid we will be rejected if we are seen as we are.”
Although a good temporary fix, this approach has significant negative consequences.
“Living with all that protection dissolves our own courage and strangles our passion.” Dodd’s words are indeed chilling reminders of the many sad clients who come to me, desperate for liberation.
At some point, if we’re lucky (yes, lucky!), something big happens which fundamentally shakes our view of the world and ourselves. The Toltecs welcome this moment of “heartbreak”. Although painful, it brings the opportunity to envision a new future. Understanding the heartbreak and recognizing the consequences of our mask are the beginning of a journey of release for the courageous traveler.
Through the remainder of the book, Dodd outlines 4 steps to liberation, and provides practical insight and guidance for each sequential phase:
- Practice awareness
- Give up the need to be right
- Love without limits, and finally
- Create a new dream
What I find most interesting about this Toltec wisdom is that their primitive explanation correlates with our emerging understanding of the human condition. Neuroscience has identified structures that govern our self-awareness. The thalamus is a nerve center deep within our brain that filters and stores our “experience”. This is where parental lenses start to bias our own neuro-development. What the Toltecs observed by watching human behavior is now being confirmed by complex brain imaging and intricate neuro-research.
“The Power of Belief; Essential Tools for an Extraordinary Life” is a fun book designed to provoke reflection and action from an engaged reader. It provides a historic window of intriguing relevance, and is a valuable read for all serious travelers on the road to WHealth!