Although we find it easy to identify much of what we have inherited genetically from our parents, it is more challenging to recognize what we've inherited or absorbed in the way of beliefs. We have learned them, not as beliefs, but as truths.
Being a parent myself, I have no intention of giving those who bear that responsibility a bad name. All parents, of whatever species, are guided by a common principle: to protect their offspring so that they will survive to adulthood and to give them the skills to survive after that.
Human parents often tend to do better at the first part of the job than the second -- perhaps a little too well. In their zeal to protect their offspring -- who admittedly, take much longer to reach maturity than other babies -- they may unknowingly give them a lifetime legacy of limitations and fears.
Very small children aren't aware of the restrictions which seem automatically built into adult experience. Their physical abilities may still be developing, but their abilities to transcend conventional ideas of reality are unlimited.
This gift goes well beyond imagination. The young child does not imagine that there are elves and fairies hiding in the garden, that trees talk to him, that she can make clouds appear and disappear. For the child there is no dividing line between imagination and reality.
Children are ignorant of the limitations which adults have long since integrated into the beliefs they call reality. When children tell adults about the elves, trees, and talking animals, or confide their dreams to their parents a common response (often unvoiced, or expressed by words such as, "That's nice, now wash your hands; it's time for dinner") is, "Be realistic."
If the parents say it enough and if their approval is more necessary than the magical world of childhood, children, who until now have flowed seamlessly in and out of multiple realities, will dutifully allow their visions to fade.
This, for many, is the first contraction of vision. It isn't the last. Every family, too, has its private beliefs about reality. I remember once reading a novel about the eighteenth century in which a young soldier, when ordered to surrender, said with great pride, "A Lamont does not surrender." Our families' particular beliefs may not be as boldly stated, but most have them.
If our parents believed that most people stay poor no matter what they do, we will be likely to believe that. If our mothers battled all their lives in a losing attempt to shed weight we may tend to view our own increasing poundage with resignation. If (and this is a particularly powerful belief) a significant number of members of our family died of a certain disease our belief that we, too, will succumb can create that reality on a cellular level.
It might seem that once we reach the age of socialization and become exposed to other families' beliefs (often very different from those of our own) that those ideas we hold as truths might weaken. To some extent this is so, but there are factors weighing against this. Just as people from the United States visiting Europe may shun foreign food and look for a McDonalds, so we, in the face of threatening alternatives, may cling to what we know.
Familiarity is a big factor. Part of our childhood training involves learning to fear the unknown. Again this varies from family to family; some parents teach their children to scuba dive but are reluctant to let them use public toilets. Others teach their children how to survive in the wilderness and to fear governments. Whatever the fear, it is rarely expressed as" "This is something I believe it's important to be afraid of, but you make up your own mind." The parent says, "This is frightening. Be afraid of this if you don't want to get hurt."
Some fears are subtle. A girl who believes that her mother's life was ruined because she never went to college may be reluctant to go herself because she fears (often unknowingly) that she will move too far from the reality that her mother knows, that she will thus be rejected when she returns to her family -- or that she, upon succeeding in this new world, may find the once-familiar reality of home foreign. Similar scenarios may play themselves out when a person contemplates any path leading to a kind of success which his/her family has never known.
When young birds fly from the nest (often after being given a good push by their parents) they build their own. Birds being who they are, tend to build nests which are remkarably similar in design to those in which they grew up.
As humans we have greater choices in what we build (which leads to the possibility of greater mistakes; this is what often worries our parents.) In this particular world in which we all live, when a number of the absolute truths of many of our childhoods (Cold Wars, Iron Curtains, taboos regarding whom we might marry or otherwise partner with) have become far less certain, these choices are infinite. Despite the existence and efforts of those who believe that we all should live the way our families allegedly did, those choices will increase even more.
In order to recover our childhood sense of wonder and the gift of perceiving multiple realities we may first choose to engage in some research regarding our own family beliefs. We cna question our basic assumptions. Why do we believe, for example, that it's bad to change careers, marry someone much older or younger, important to go or not to go to church?
We may discover that we've been unthinkingly operating on our families' assumptions. We may also discover that we've chosen to live in opposition to them. In either case we're not making free choices based on our existence as independent and imaginative individuals.
To live lives which realize our full potential it is important to be able to make such choices. It's valuable to have the courage to explore new worlds, both in this and in any other dimension of reality.
Imagine the baby bird which hovers at the edge of its nest. It doesn't yet know that its wings are designed to help it fly. It soon learns, and so can we.
I find citrine to be an excellent stone for beginning a journey of self-realization. It relates to the third chakra, the center of personal selfhood and power, and can help to activate a sense of "I AM" which is distinct from beliefs carried over from the past.
All calcites help to open us up to the existence of realities parallel to our familiar dimension of physical reality. In meditation it may be helpful to work with several at once. You can place golden calcite on the third chakra (navel area) pink or green on the heart, and clear calcite at the back of the head.
Any blue stone can help to open the imagination, the ability to envision possibilities which lie beyond the physical senses. I particularly enjoy larimar for its lovely and imaginative patterns and aquamarine for its assistance in relaxing one into new dimensions.
Labradorite-spectrolite helps us to awaken to the wise use of psychic abilities. Through using these abilities we can receive information not available from the physical senses.
As with crystals, when we work with flower essences we open our being to subtle vibrations which transcend the physical realm.
When as children, we learn to shape our behavior in order to win parental approval we find ourselves extending the range of authority to include peer groups or society at large. We may also find ourselves resistant to those values and rebel. In either situation Goldenrod (FES), which helps us develop a true sense of self, can be helpful.
All of the monkeyflowers (Mimulus in the Bach repertoire) relate to fear. Purple Monkeyflower (FES) specifically addresses the fear of deviating from the religious teachings within which one grew up. It helps one to experience one's own authentic spiritual path.
Sometimes we are accustomed to measure our present experiences and our plans for the future by the guidelines of the past. In such cases Beech (Bach) is an excellent remedy for helping to release these judgments.
Pine (Bach) is more commonly used for self-judgment and feelings of guilt. If we carry these burdens from past
experiences this essence can help us to create an unclouded future.