Self-enquiry, or looking inside, is the way to discover your self-limiting beliefs, which are often unconscious. These are beliefs you have about yourself that limit you. Here’s another way of looking at this.
Suppose your goal is to become a champion tennis player. You might be making every effort to master your backhand, but if you are not getting results and you’re feeling frustrated, you may have a tape running continuously in your head saying, “I can’t do this,” or “I’m not good enough,” or some such. If you are not aware of these messages from yourself to yourself, you give them free reign to sabotage your efforts, leaving you wondering why.
The solution is to carefully control your dominant thoughts. Your mind is clever because it creates for you more of whatever your dominant thought is. Therefore you can benefit by implanting suitable dominant thoughts.
However, there are traps and pitfalls that can trip you up. Look at this: let’s say you believe you’re trying as hard as you can to add your backhand to your repertoire of winning shots. You believe you are focused on mastering that shot, and you believe that is entirely what you are thinking about.
Those who have developed a positive mindset probably are doing that, but people who struggle with self-doubt may not realise that their self-limiting belief is actually their dominant thought. If so, then your mind will create more difficulties for you and therefore more likelihood of failure.
It’s subtle and insidious and it will sabotage you every time. Try choosing more positive dominant thoughts like, “I’m certainly improving,” or, “look how easy this is when I practise more,” or best of all, “I love my backhand.” That way you avoid inventing more difficulties and instead start finding ways to navigate through the real, existing difficulties.
Even on days when I hate by backhand I tell myself I love it, and eventually I do.
Only by looking inside as a witness who sees without judgment can you become fully aware of what you are actually thinking. That’s the first step to rectifying the matter.
Once you can really see what’s going on inside you can consciously choose helpful dominant thoughts which will get you to where you want to go. It’s about controlling your mind so you can use it as your most powerful tool.
Surely, if I practise enough and really work at something without entertaining negative thoughts, then by definition I must improve.
You can use your mind to help you or you can let it hinder you. Who’s the boss? Are you in charge of your mind, or is it in charge of you? Your amazing mind is the most powerful tool you possess and you can benefit enormously from using it proactively.
Meditation is the most powerful tool you can adopt for searching the recesses of the most powerful tool you were born with, your mind. Meditation is free. It’s a gift. The Dalai Lama once said we should meditate for at least one hour a day, and if we believe we haven’t got time, then we should mediate for two hours a day!