Unraveling the spell of hidden beliefs
We are in the middle of my current Artist’s Way class, the part I like the most because it is a turning point in the process yet admittedly it is also the section that is often the most perilous for students. The three weeks in the middle of the class are as follows: Rediscovering a Sense of Possibility, Rediscovering a Sense of Abundance, and Rediscovering a Sense of Connection. The reason these weeks are challenging is that students are asked to deeply look at their beliefs. In The Artist’s Way, this is called reexamining our “God” concept.
Anyone who has been in one of my Artist Way classes hears the very first week that I don’t care if they don’t do their homework. It’s not that I am not encouraging them to do it, just that I don’t want them to shame themselves into thinking that they are not worthy of being in class because they are not showing up with the idealistic perfection that they are expecting of themselves. During this workshop participants are working at getting past their creative blocks and at the core this is inevitably connected in some way with the feeling that they don’t measure up in some manner. I have learned over 30 plus years of facilitating that one of the chief blocks shows up as they are working on getting unblocked; not doing the class well enough is used as an excuse to give up on themselves or the class. I share with them how much of the homework I blew off the first time I participated in the class with Julia back in 1987 and let them know it still changed my life. Then I tell them that there are two times I will actually go over specific homework in class and that I will let them know when that occurs.
The first occasion is during Week 5: Rediscovering a Sense of Possibility. This is where Julia poses this question in the tasks for the week: Name five grievances you have with God (fill in Goddes, the Universe, Higher Power whatever feels right to you here). Essentially this question asks us to take an inventory as to where we personally don’t feel supported by the Universe, where we don’t feel like it has our back.
Living in Sedona initially, everyone is sure that they completely believe in a fully supportive Universe until I gently point out to them that any place they are sure something they deeply desire is impossible for them (which often hides in a feeling vs a thought) because they are too old, too financially insecure, it if it hasn’t happened by this point it never will, etc (there are basically a litany of reasons, fill in the blank with your own) is someplace they don't have faith in the universe, what they do have faith in is their own disbelief, or maybe better put, their unconscious beliefs have them committed to their current circumstances and some part of them is adamant that these circumstances will never change.
It is as though some inner law has deemed it impossible. And they (we) are committed to this law. This is what Julia Cameron means when she asks you to reexamine your God concept: Are the internal commandments you are living by truly supporting you? Furthermore, are they actually yours or are they based upon some story that you were told in your early life about the way the world works?
This isn’t logical, and we all have these inner edicts that hide in our felt expectations of the world yet we most often don’t take the time to really examine to see if they are really true for us in our lives. They also don’t disappear during a 12-week workshop. But over the course of the class, we peel back a layer and are able to see more fully how these hidden beliefs, these hidden laws that we are living our life by block the way forward. We are in essence bound by them. Our belief about the world has become its own impasse, a wall we cannot seem to get around.
When I think about this astrologically I look to Jupiter and Saturn. In our natal chart, Jupiter is connected to our beliefs. In 1911 astrologer Isabelle Pagen noted in myth Jupiter is representative of the Divine Mind. Jupiter does make connections of a higher order and is very connected to our seat of consciousness. Jupiter is about intuitive perception; intuitive perception goes beyond the sensate. It knows what is ‘right’ and ‘true’ according to the way it frames experience. One of the many things Saturn does is enforce boundaries that are set and enforce them. He deals with laws, borders, and authority; Saturn governs. And these two archetypes work hand in hand.
The irony is that being committed to and aligning, even unconsciously, with these unwritten commandments, most often learned in childhood from people who had learned them from their parents and were simply trying to ‘protect’ for us is another version of drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
From my viewpoint astrologically our chart gives us a roadmap, it can act as a compass helping us to bring things to awareness and consciously evolve if we choose to use it. It represents our soul’s contracts and can be the wise guide in the room that we are longing for, lighting the way forward.
But let me also be clear, you don’t need to delineate your Jupiter and Saturn to understand and explore your own set of hidden inner laws. Simply take a moment to journal; contemplate them (in a safe place where you don’t have to share it with anyone else), and explore fearlessly where you have found it challenging to actually believe something is possible, though you may pay lip service otherwise.
The truth is it’s not our thoughts that create our reality, but our beliefs. They, particularly the ones that lie within our subconscious act as our bias about the world. These somewhat hidden forces shape what is possible for us, and if this is too woo-woo for you simply examine it psychologically and look at your behavior. If you don’t believe something is possible for you at best you will show up half-heartedly rather than throw your whole self in; you will hedge your bets. At worst you won’t allow yourself to even consider throwing your hat into the ring though you may endlessly talk or think about it. Or if you do you will find a way to sabotage yourself and your efforts.
In 1995 the Hopi Elders collaborated with a group of Buddhist Monks for the first time in Sedona. There was a series of events over the course of the week, many of which I attended, One of them changed my life, It was a lecture given by a Buddhist Monk who was 67 and had been a recognized healer from the time he was 7 years old. He didn’t speak English and one of the other younger monks translated for him. I don’t remember the lecture itself but during the question and answer session that followed someone in the audience asked the renowned healer what he thought was the most important aspect of healing. He responded that the healers’ belief in the cure must be stronger than the patient’s belief in the disease. It was as though I had been struck by lightning, I could see how this applied to anything but most importantly our dreams:
In order for us to create the life we dream of, we long and hope for our belief in that vision has to be stronger than our belief in its impossibility. Achieving that is a moment-to-moment spiritual practice.
While you are contemplating this be kind. Have compassion. This part of you has already been wounded by the world, which is why it is hiding out often in the guise of being a “realistic” adult. Consciously learning to believe (Jupiter) is a discipline (Saturn). This is the essence of a practice: Something that we show up and do again and again to achieve mastery. Sometimes in the course of this, we fall on our faces but over the course of time, we learn how to soar.