(Fast Company) This Brain Hack Will Help Reframe Your Interpretation Of Reality
CEOs, professional athletes, professors, and more are using this method to reach a state of “flow consciousness.” Here’s what it is and how to get there.
Things like good and bad luck are actually just in our minds. We have a tremendous amount of control over our own realities. It’s all a matter of the lens that our brains filter experiences through, and how we use those interpretations to confirm our core beliefs.
There is a new method to help reverse harmful or negative belief systems. It’s called Flow Consciousness, and its primary goal is to replace “limiting core beliefs” with those that are, in essence, limitless.
“It’s a new operating system for our consciousness,” says Justin Faerman, cofounder of the Flow Consciousness Institute, a Santa Barbara-based coaching and research organization. “Flow Consciousness is really a set of internal and external shifts that people need to make in order to shift their trajectory in life from one of struggle and suffering and hardship toward more of an effortless, nonlinear, intuition-based way of operating.”
Since merging practices to found the Flow Consciousness Institute in 2015, Faerman and his cofounder Jackie Knechtel have refined various strategies for rebooting that internal operating system. The pair has since coached CEOs, professional athletes, Ivy League professors, venture capitalists, acclaimed musicians, and screenwriters in 10 countries on how to reframe their interpretation of reality to achieve consciousness flow.
HOW LIMITING CORE BELIEFS GET REINFORCED
Whether we’re aware of it or not, Faerman says that everyone sees the world through their own filter; a lens that reframes our experiences to align with our core beliefs. As a result, those core beliefs can have a significant impact on our emotional state, which ultimately influence our decisions and actions.
For example, if one believes that the world is inherently a scary place, their emotional state will remain defensive and on edge as they walk down the street. In that state, should a passing stranger give them an innocent look, one is more likely to interpret that look to be threatening. That interpretation in turn confirms and reinforces their core belief about the world, perhaps inspiring them not to travel down that road again.
“If you believe the world is a dangerous place, you won’t go to certain places, and that will limit what’s available to you and what’s possible for you,” says Knechtel, demonstrating how core beliefs can serve to limit our real-world actions and opportunities.
UNLOCKING YOUR POTENTIAL BY CHANGING YOUR CORE BELIEFS
Identifying these core beliefs and working to replace them with non-limiting ones, says Knechtel, is key to opening new possibilities. For example, a limiting core belief the founder pair often encounter when working with entrepreneurs and executives is that they’re somehow not worthy or deserving.
“If you think you’re not good enough, you’ll have a stream of constant negative self-thought and a lower emotional state, which will absolutely affect your performance,” says Faerman. “There will be more fear of failure, fear of being seen or putting yourself out there or doing things that can help grow your business because you have that deep fear of failure or need for approval,” adds Knechtel. In other words, core beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, as those that believe they’re not worthy will inevitably act accordingly.
Through studying fields ranging from neuroscience to psychology to quantum physics to Zen philosophy, Faerman and Knechtel have developed a variety of methodologies designed to help clients evolve their thinking away from those self-limiting belief systems.
USING INSTINCT AS A DATA POINT
The key to unlocking that potential is an understanding of where those core beliefs originate. Some of the typical sources are society, religion, family, the media, culture, and even DNA, each forcing their own filter on how we see the world and by extension how we behave. As a result, Faerman explains that we often experience discrepancies between our thoughts and our instincts, because instinct isn’t subject to the same filters.
“You can actually gain a lot of really useful data about what to do in a given situation from how you feel about it,” says Faerman. “If a deal looks good on paper but your stomach is in a knot over it, that’s valuable data that can help you make better decisions.”
REORIENTING THE LINEAR PERCEPTION OF TIME
Another guiding principal of Flow Consciousness is a reorientation of time itself. Faerman explains that while we naturally perceive time in a linear progression, Flow Consciousness teaches how to look backwards from an imagined, desirable future.
“Play more in the state of what would reality look like if the thing I’m working toward has already happened, occupying and speaking from that place, and reverse engineering your life from there,” he suggests.
Faerman points to the most decorated coach in NBA history as an example. Those who have played for Phil Jackson have said that the hall of fame coach, who led 11 teams to victory, encouraged his players to first believe they had already won the title, and then play the season accordingly.
“We know the brain can’t tell the difference between what we’re imagining and what’s actually happening,” adds Faerman. “It actually lights up the same neural pathways in our brain, it activates a lot of the same systems in our body, and so by staying in this place of acting and thinking and envisioning that it’s already happened, you start to build capacity to think and live in that way.”
TOWARD A MORE EFFORTLESS LIFE
Those who shift their core beliefs and thinking in line with the flow methodology are able to experience more emotional freedom and inner peace, according to Faerman and Knechtel. That is because core beliefs that had long served to create roadblocks in their thoughts and actions are replaced by instinct and a more optimistic, limitless view of what’s possible.
“You no longer have to battle your willpower, everything just kind of falls into alignment in this place of peace and calm,” says Knechtel. “Everything is inherently neutral until we assign it a meaning, so we get to choose what perceptional frame we’re operating from; the one that causes struggle and burnout and stress, or the one that results in a state of peace and calm and joy and flow. You get to choose.”