Symbolic Belief Change Cycle
with Jimmy Petruzzi
Another application of this belief change ‘landscape’ involves the creation of symbols for each of the locations. This can be very powerful for two reasons. First, it adds an additional ‘attractor’ to each state making them more easily accessible. Secondly, as Freud pointed out, symbols often help us to involve unconscious processes more in the process of change.
The symbolic belief change cycle involves creating symbols for each of the states that make up the belief change ‘landscape’. The symbols are then synthesised into a personal story or metaphor for belief change.
When coming up with the symbols, it is important to keep in mind that they do not need to ‘logically’ relate to each other in any way. They should just simply emerge from your unconscious. It is necessary that they make any sense at first. Just write down what pops into your mind as a symbol for the state.
Remember the states which make up the landscape and their symbols should be kept general and not connected to any particular belief issues. In this process, there will be no separate symbols or characters for the particular beliefs you would like to have or strengthen, and any limiting or conflicting beliefs. As an analogy, the symbols relating to the states which make up the belief change landscape will make up the ‘stage’ on which a story is played out. The desired and limiting beliefs will be the ‘characters’ that move around on that stage.
1. Stand into the ‘Want to Believe’ space and think of what it is like when you want to believe something new. Create a symbol or metaphor for ‘wanting to believe something new.’
2. Make up a character or symbol for the new beliefs you would like to develop or strengthen.
3. Move into the ‘Open to Believe’ space and think of what it is like when you are open to believe something new. What is your metaphor or symbol for being ‘open to believe’?
4. Stand in the ‘Currently Believe’ space and think of the current beliefs that you have. Focus on any limiting beliefs that you would like to change or which conflict with the new beliefs you would like to strengthen. Create a symbol or metaphor for the old belief or beliefs you would like to change.
5. Make up a character or symbol for the conflicting or limiting beliefs you would like to update or change.
6. Move into the ‘Open to Doubt’ space and think of a time you were open to doubt something you had believed for a long time. What is your metaphor or symbol for being ‘Open to Doubt’?
7. Stand in the ‘Used to Believe’ (your “museum of personal history”) space and remember something you used to believe but no longer believe. What is your metaphor or symbol for all the beliefs in your life that you used to believe but no longer believe?
8. Step into the space for the experience of deep ‘Trust’. Create a symbol or metaphor for the experience of trusting in something beyond your beliefs
9. Tell your ‘story of change’ by incorporating all of the metaphors and symbols that you have created. If you want to, as you are telling the story, you may physically walk to the spaces to which you are referring.
Allow the story to ‘self-organise’ itself. That is being intuitive. Just begin and let the story take you where ‘it needs to go’. Tell it as if you were telling a fairy tale to a child or as if it were a dream. In fact it is best to start the story with the words, “Once upon a time…” or “I had a dream that…” and then just let it flow.