Mind is a very complex instrument. It has got vast potential. Mind can conceive great ideas and concepts. Great monuments that were built in ancient times, which are a source of wonder even today, were all conceived in someone’s mind and conveyed to thousands of workers without the help of any blueprint or paper. Many of these monuments took decades or even centuries to build without the aid of modern machineries, where several generations of workers worked, without any mistake being committed in any generation.
Mind is an important instrument for a successful and a fulfilling life, as well as it is a potent weapon, which can be manipulated and used for both constructive and destructive purposes. The same mind which causes distraction, dissipation, turmoil, insecurity, delusion, hatred, anger, fear, panic and dread can create courage, stability, confidence, security, love, concentration, single-pointedness and calmness within us.
Our mind gathers plenty of impressions, both positive and negative, from our experiences and interactions with the world around us, not only in this life, but past several lives. The compelling deep-urges in us, gathered in our past fields of action — that now determine our present emotional profile, are the vaasanaa-s / impressions / tendencies, which remain embedded in our subconscious mind.
Mental blocks are conditioned impressions that stem from how we have interpreted prior experiences of pain and pleasure over time. By assigning a feeling or emotion to people, circumstances and past incidents, we create the foundations of our limited mindset. Therefore, these impressions act as psychological cues to our nervous system that mold our thoughts and interpret our experiences. They link our mind and body and our thoughts with our behaviors.
Majority of our mental problems lie embedded in the subconscious mind, just below the level of conscious perception. That is, immediately behind the veil of blackness that we see when we close our eyes. It is there that the roots or the seeds of all psychological issues like fear, phobia, mental blocks, conditioned impressions, limited mindset etc. lie. These seeds cause unhappiness and disharmony by erupting, by sprouting, by manifesting into the conscious realms. A large proportion of people remain totally unaware of the cause of their unhappiness or dissatisfaction throughout their entire lives.
Our conditioned impressions are formed in the subconscious mind. These impressions are ingrained in our brain to the point that we don’t stop to question them, even though they may be different for everyone.
Some of us may be aware that our subconscious mind is largely responsible for the decisions that we make. But very few know that our subconscious mind accounts for 95% of all of our thinking. That leaves a very small percentage of our decisions to be made consciously.
As humans, we crave for a sense of certainty, security to reduce possible feelings of stress, anxiety, and doubt. It’s this feeling of being sure that builds the premise for our mental blocks. But are the conclusions that we have come to…fact?
Our life changes continuously, but if we continue with our limited mindset, we’ll be stuck in the past. Our perceptions are not facts, and without overcoming our limited mindset, we’ll be putting restraints on our growth.
Mental blocks are the thoughts that are ingrained in our brain that hold us back in some way. Because of these blocks, we avoid doing certain things, which puts limits on our life. These blocks are the stories we tell ourselves that make us play it safe and hold back in the face of fear.
Some examples of limited mindset:
1) I am not qualified, experienced, talented or good enough. Our dream job becomes available, but we don’t bother to apply for it because we don’t think we’re good enough to land the job. These limited mindset about our worth hold us back from doing things that we want to do.
2) I can’t do… We weren’t born with skills for doing certain things, so we might brush it off as “not being our thing”. If there is something that we don’t know how to do and we aren’t willing to learn, we’re setting boundaries for ourselves that prevent us from exploring our full potential. Our life would change if we could eliminate that mindset.
3) “I have to conform…” People usually live according to their family’s or culture’s norms, values, and other potentially constraining rules. Sometimes we think that people around us would judge us if we were to act like our real self or not conform to prevailing norms.
For example, let’s say we grew up in a family who runs a business that has been passed on for several generations. It’s expected that we will take over the family business as well after our graduation. But what if our passion lies in pursuing a career in some other field instead? Our mindset that we have to take over the family business — because this is what the people in our family do — will lead us to carry out a life of inauthenticity. The turmoil between our true nature and what we pretend and strive to be is what we call stress or tension.
How to Identify Mental Blocks?
We only need to identify the mindset that we hold that truly impact our everyday life. If we come across an area of our lives that makes us feel dissatisfied, it may be because of a limited mindset.
We should do this exercise with our own situation and be brutally honest when we’re listing our mental blocks. Here are some specific things we can look for to uncover clues to help us identify our mental blocks:
When do we make up excuses?
Is there any part of our life in which we tend to procrastinate?
Is there an instance in which we usually make assumptions?
What do we complain about?
What spurs our negative thinking patterns?
Answering these questions can give us more insight into where our mental blocks lie.
Once we’re finished, we should rank the blocks we listed in order, starting with the one that is holding us back the most. Which of our blocks, if eliminated, would have the greatest impact on our life?
Once we have them in order, we can start to overcome them.
How to Overcome Mental Blocks?
Overcoming our mental blocks involves some self-reflection. We should focus on one block at a time and ask ourselves some questions to challenge that mindset and determine specific actions we can take to overcome this mental block.
Here are some questions to consider:
Are we positive this is true? What clear evidence do we have to support our mindset? Another question to consider about a mental block is what other people would think if we told them about it.
For example, we can tell someone that we don’t have money for an additional degree. He may say that he also thought so, but then he got a loan and a part-time job and he made it work. Most people don’t have surplus money to pay for an additional degree, but that doesn’t keep everyone from pursuing additional qualification.
Answering questions like these will help us give more perspective and encourage to think out of the box. We should throw doubt on our mental block by asking questions that challenge their validity.
It’s important to remember that our limited mindset started out as mere ideas, which turned into opinions, and didn’t turn into firm mindset until later. Because of this, they’re not facts. They seem like the truth to us, but that’s just our perspective. We should choose to have a different point of view and we will be able to start to doubt our mental blocks. We need to adopt an “I can”, “I must”, “I will” attitude.
Replace Mental Blocks. We need to change our mindset to ones that conforms to our intellectual conviction with supporting evidence about its truth. It should support our quest to improve our life.
This will help us change our limited mindset to one that is empowering and more in line with our goals and where we want our life to go. To find a new empowering conviction, we should consider our goals, the kind of person that we want to become, and how someone else may think if they were pursuing this goal.
To apply for that dream job, the qualities needed would be self-confident, positive attitude, belief in one’s ability to do the job, and face obstacles as if they were opportunities for learning and growth. It means we need to adopt this mindset and repeat it to ourselves over and over until we truly believe it.
We need to keep working on our list of negative mindsets by replacing each one with a more positive frame of mind. We need to eliminate any mindset that do not serve us well. It is important to do this on a regular basis, especially if we find ourselves frustrated in any particular area of our life.
As we uncover our limited mindset and face them head on, our behavior will change, which will give positive results. We will be sparked with motivation to challenge more of our limited mindset to improve our life.
Another aspect of our conditioned impressions is our fears and phobias. We can deal with it by practising chidaakaash dharana, a practice given in yoga. Chidaakaasha is ‘the space of consciousness’. Chidaakaash dharana means ‘awareness of the inner space of consciousness’. An important purpose of chidaakaasha dharana is desensitization of phobias. For this, one purposely and consciously creates a mental image of objects of fear or phobia on the mind screen, while in states of relaxation. In this manner, the more obvious psychological problems can be purged. Chidaakaasha dharana is ideally suited for this purpose, for one merely tries to create and project the object of neurosis on to the mind screen as part of the practice of chidaakaasha dharana.