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“Personal growth is not a matter of learning new information but of unlearning old limits.” – Alan Cohen

We tend, in this quest for enlightenment, actualization, whatever it is we’re after, to look outside ourselves for the answer.  Sometimes we cling to the notion that the next book, class, workshop, speech, DVD will get us the key we’re been searching for. Then, as if by magic, we will turn it in the lock and be centered, peaceful, aware and loving in every perfect moment.  There’s just that one piece of the puzzle that we haven’t quite understood yet which will slip into place and we will feel whole and at home.

I think Alan Cohen is right.  That it’s not about collecting more information.  I may know everything there is to know about personal growth, but if I keep slathering it on the old limits, I’m not going to get very far.

It’s intriguing how we create this notion of limits.  In a world with so much going on, with such a vast array of infinitive possibilities, how is that we see so little? I venture to guess that most all those limits are self imposed. If you see something as a limitation, it is probably that you only see one way, the way it’s always been done.

The true answer, as always, lies within. “Unlearning old limits” is an interesting choice of words. It puts it squarely on us. We must unlearn what we have learned about life and what we are capable of.  We don’t have to fix or replace anything, just unlearn.

I don’t know about you, but I was never taught in any school class how to unlearn. (Which may well be part of the problem with our educational system.) How do you un-learn?  Perhaps it has to do with opening to new ideas, asking questions, wondering why.  Why is it that I’m capable of just this much?  Only able to have this much?  Go this far?

Thinking out of the box helps us to unlearn. Seeing all the possibilities. Realizing that just because we think it (or have always thought) it doesn’t mean that it’s true.  Thoughts are not that rigid.  We created them, we can take them apart.

Meditation helps to see and experience the frailty of thoughts.  How they pass by on our screen of awareness.  If you let them go, not cling to them, they have a tendency to fade away, move along.  They don’t have to have that much control over your life.

Try for a day thinking about something in a new way.  Say someone you know who has a nasty habit of cracking their gum.  It drives you crazy, puts you on edge.  But just for a day, decide that it doesn’t bother you. See if you can change what you think about it.  Maybe it has a certain rhythm to it. Or that it’s something this person does to think more clearly.  Watch how you can make a new decision, have a new thought.  This can change your life.  You start to unlearn what you thought you knew.  Begin the process of seeing your thoughts as ever-changing and fluid.

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