Each one of our beliefs is tangled up (weeds) with other beliefs, thoughts, statements, ideas, etc., making it difficult to have any kind of real clarity. This entanglement causes tremendous confusion and a sense of being cut off from our real selves. It creates deep levels of self-sabotage in that we may desire to achieve something, but our desire is entangled with one or more beliefs that either weigh it down or choke the life out of it to such an extent that we find ourselves blocked and unable to move, often not knowing why.

The key to authentic living and freedom is to untangle ideas from beliefs they have no business being associated with. This requires a process of inner exploration and regular observation to detect which subconscious beliefs have been erroneously associated with our ideas and desires. I’ve seen so many writers and entrepreneurs hit walls that paralyze and undermine them to the point that often they simply stop the creative or entrepreneurial project altogether because facing their inner resistance to doing it (usually a negative belief) is painful. It’s as if there is a hidden dam that blocks the creative flow or a kink in the hose and they are blind to it and instead blame themselves for being unable to follow through, thinking there is something wrong with them. If they knew it was simply an entanglement that needed sorting out, they might not judge themselves so harshly.

This entanglement stretches all the way back to our early days in which we saw the world anew from the eyes of a child, though even as infants, we pick up on the beliefs of our parents, the emotional tones and body language convey many messages that ultimately imprint themselves somewhere in our psyche. Following that, as we adopt language and enter a formal school setting additional beliefs become associated with certain actions, behaviors, interests, desires, ideas, etc. As we are told to think and behave a certain way to fit in or suffer the consequences, over time we lose touch with our unique way of seeing things and even begin to deny it or go against it for fear of rejection or punishment. This sets us up later in life to suffer major internal conflicts with ourselves in that we have an interest of ours entangled with a negative belief (or two or three). We see this with people who have a belief of comfort and safety and nurturing with food. Many eat to change they way they feel because early in their lives that association with feeling better was made with ingesting certain kinds and quantities of food. Some people have found a way to use food to make them numb, and while this may have served them for a while, they end up stuck there while their bodies reflect this entanglement by putting on large amounts of weight. This is one of thousands of entanglements but one of the more obvious ones.

It is clear that what needs to happen is that the belief whether negative or falsely positive, needs to be disentangled from the behavior or action. In the case of food, since it is such a regular part of our daily lives, it may be helpful to link the need for comfort with something that doesn’t have negative consequences for the body. One obvious choice would be the endorphins that come from exercise or the calmness that comes from taking a long, hot soak in the tub.

Tangled threads speak to the need for regular periods of silence. This is not just for monks and hermits, but it works for the rest us as well. In moving away from the regular bombardment of noise and demands in our daily lives, we can once again listen to the true Voice within or at the very least begin to observe the regular litany of thoughts running through our minds.

Silence is a cleanser; it purifies the sediment and debris that clogs the channel that allows the universal flow to speak to us and guide us through our lives. Instead of being internally guided as we were designed to be, we’ve switched, or been programmed to be externally driven to follow society’s agenda. Though our inner voice may be faint, we sense this conflict and disconnect and carry it around with us wondering why we feel out of sorts with ourselves. To return, we can begin by turning off the noise for extended periods of time and making concerted efforts to simply not respond to any external agenda. What this means is taking a break from all means of contact with the outside world. These mini-retreats allow us to strengthen our inner listening. Even if at first, one does nothing more than spend time alone, without any direct cultivation of a relationship with the self, it will open that door and over time, it will be less overwhelming and foreign to be in that quiet place. Nature is a great place for this practice as it makes it relatively easy to choose to be away from outer interruptions. Nature supports us on a deep level and in fact, almost encourages us to return to our more natural state of being. This is because it serves as a reminder of that state of presence and openness. The entanglement and chaos are dramatically reduced. Of course, one can enter nature, but be so focused on thoughts of the past or worries of the future that one misses the opportunity of being present entirely. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if one feels completely cut off from the deeper aspect of life and conflicted and unhappy, nature can and will help to heal that if given a chance.