Dream Gates

Dream Gates


A man who stands in his own way…

posted by Robert Moss

I’m thinking today about Thoreau’s wise and entirely accurate statement: “A man who stands in his own way will find the whole world is in his way.” How often do we bind ourselves and close off the paths of possibility by parroting self-limiting beliefs and negative mantras, like

- I’ll never be any good at this

- I’m not young enough, or good-looking enough

- I don’t have the money

- I can’t speak in public

- I never remember dreams

You might want to take a moment to make your own list, of things you say to yourself that put a block in front of you or put yourself under your personal cloud of misery or defeat. Then make a second list, of similar statements you hear others delivering. Some of these are repeated so often that they really do become negative mantras, with the power of a mantra to move the mind – and then  the world the mind helps to generate – into a groove it is hard to exit.

I am not going to say that “you can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought”. Bad things happen, challenges come up, and we need to appraise these situations with a hard cold eye. And then get up and move on and not hold closed the doors that may be open if we’ll let them open.

So: if you find yourself guilty of making a statement, spoken or unspoken, that limits you and shrinks your world of possibility, go outside and spit it out. I mean literally. Get it out of you. Do it right away, and move on.

If you hear someone else trying to shrink the world and its opportunities, you don’t need to argue with them. You can simply withhold your consent from any statement that limits what the world can be for you. If you know the person well, however, you can do more. When you hear them playing Eyeore for the Nth time, telling you yet again what’s wrong with them, you can say, gently but firmly, “If I were you, i would take that negative mantra outside and spit it out.” They may goggle at you, or feel offended, when you first say this, but if they follow your advise, they’ll be grateful.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment niels

    I am gonna make a little list this evening Robert, I see this synchronity as a chance to find out more about myself, and afterwards,…..I’ll burn the list into the fireplace/small heater I have to burn wood :D!

    Might be a good way of spitting it out too, don’t you think :-) ?

    Thanks for posting it, have a nice day!

    • http://www.mossdreams.com Robert Moss

      Excellent, Niels. I’m greatly in favor of fire ceremonies and you can combine these with spitting things out! Here’s a memorable case of what happened with one man in a fire cleansing ceremony that I led – http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/?s=fire+cleansing

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nina

    There is one lovely variation of Thoreau´s enlightened statement and it comes from the famous and unsurpassable Hucklebery Finn (he is on the top of my list of the most original thinkers in the world). The exact quotation should sound like this: “I´d noticed that Providence always put the right words in my mouth if I left it alone.” If I am thinking about it now, Thoreau expressed by his words the first part of the successful creative process and Huck developed it in the most naive and genius way.
    As for negative mantras about ourselves such as I can´t do this…, buddhists ask repeatedly the question “Who is that I who makes the statement?”. Personally I find it a good way to realize the illusionary character of all negative mantras. Somehow it helps to dispel the seriousness and the heavy weight of negative self-talk.
    Just for interest – the most used American mantra seems to be “I am busy.” – but this is only the observation of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche when he made his first journey to the U.S. He was very suprised that the sentence “I do nothing.” was considered somehow abnormal.
    Slovak mantra could be “Everything is turned upside down…”; in case you want to be more specific and negative three dots can be replaced by anything from public transport to world politics.
    And last my own negative mantra, which my good friend likes to remind me (in a nice way) is: “You forgot to add that it´s just you who did it so it´s nothing.” I guess in a competition of the most negative personal mantra this one would achieve the high score.
    Thank you again for the great post packed with a lot of good advice.

    • http://www.mossdreams.com Robert Moss

      Nina – It’s always good to ask, What part of me is thinking/speaking/acting this way. This practice is not confined to Buddhists! I very often encourage people to review their statements and actions and ask themselves questions along these lines. As for busy-ness, I will write about that here soon….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nina

    Yes, it´s not the question limited just to Buddhists but still I suppose it´s asked in a bit different way as we ask. If I hear that critical voice in me, I usually recognize the voice of someone it belonged to. Concerning Buddhist approach, they ask the same question not to reveal the identity of the author of a dire statement but to get a direct insight that it´s our ego that made the negative statement. Both methods are equally useful because they aid to rise our awareness, the latter probably more stresses the necessity to glimpse beyond all our internal voices to experience what is behind. I like both of them “the western” way which helps to distinguish and decide what we need to put aside and “the eastern” which helps us for a while to lose our firm grip even on those things or qualities we usually value highly.
    Now, this is just my explanation without any general validity. I know I have a soft spot for Tibetan Buddhism (I get a wonderfully warm, home feeling just when I see their beautiful faces); at the same time I sincerely appreciate and deeply respect all journeys which help us “to get to ourselves”. Yours is certainly one of them.
    Best of all.

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