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Book Club - Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

Each month as part of our Intentional Growth Club, we read a book and hold a discussion night to talk about our takeaways from the book.

Cover of the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza

As we wrap up 2022, our final book was Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

This book dives into brain processes to help you learn how to break old habits that are holding you back and create new, positive habits. These changes are made largely through meditating and using that time to visualize your ideal self.

The first section of the book explains how our brain works, the various parts of our brain and how they are responsible for different aspects of our thoughts, and even a little bit about quantum physics. It’s somewhat overwhelming and complex, especially if you are new to the subject like me.

The next two sections describe how to overcome the limitations and habits of our brain. He outlines his 4 week meditation process to “break the habit of being yourself.”

I must admit, while some of the book was good information about how to change yourself for the better, it also veered frequently into the realm of the unbelievable. The sections about using the quantum field to change things simply didn’t make sense to me and seemed fantastical.

However, there were still some helpful takeaways on how to break those bad habits that hold us back.

1) Rewire Your Brain to Change Yourself

As I mentioned, the first section of the book goes into a lot of detail on how the brain works. I won’t try to recap it all here, but the biggest takeaway is that as we think and have emotions, our brain gets wired to associate these thoughts and emotions together.

For example, let’s say you get into an argument with a coworker. You feel angry and think, “This guy is so annoying!” Your brain makes a connection between your coworker and feeling anger and annoyance. Now the next time you see him, those feelings of anger and annoyance will come rushing back.

The more you let those associations happen without taking control of them, the stronger the connection will grow. Eventually, thoughts and feelings like “I’m useless” or “I hate my job” become so engrained that they become part of your personality.

The way your brain wires these connections is the reason it’s so hard to change. After a certain point, your brain will automatically create those associated thoughts and feelings without your conscious effort.

In order to change yourself, you have to literally rewire your brain. Your brain has worn a path of connections a certain way, so in order to create a new path, you have to clear away that old path or you’ll continue to fall into the same rut.

So, how do you go about rewiring your brain? That’s what the latter two sections of the book are all about.

2) Meditate to “Observe” Yourself

Dispenza outlines a four week meditation process to understand your current self and start creating the new life you desire. There are several steps in the process, and I won’t get into all the details here since it takes up around half of the book, but one of the key skills required in the process is observing yourself.

Before you can begin creating your new self, you need to determine what has to change. Dispenza suggests the best way to do this is through meditation. This will allow you to take the time in a quiet environment to really reflect on your personal traits and actions, and decide where to start rewiring your brain.

Some of the questions he suggests reflecting on include:

  • “What kind of person have I been?

  • “What type of person do I present to the world?”

  • “What kind of person am I really like on the inside?”

  • “Is there a feeling that I experience - even struggle with - over and over again, every day?”

  • “What part of my personality do I need to work on improving?”

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can decide what you’d like to work on first. Maybe you have a problem with a quick temper or are prone to putting yourself down. Whatever you want to improve, after you’ve spent time in meditation to “know thyself,” you can start doing the work of changing your brain.

“When you cultivate anything, you are seeking to be in control. And that’s what is required when you change any part of your self. Instead of allowing things to develop ‘naturally,’ you intervene and consciously take steps to reduce the likelihood of failure. The purpose behind all of this effort is to reap a harvest. When you cultivate a new personality in meditation, the abundant yield you seek to create is a new reality.” pg. 181

3) Turn Off Autopilot

The result of meditating to understand yourself better is being more mindful of your thoughts and actions. Dispenza shares that up to 95% of our mind is our subconscious habits and behaviors. That only leaves 5% for the conscious mind - home of logic, reasoning, and our will.

Since so much of our mind is typically on “autopilot,” it’s hard to make changes. But once you know what you want to change thanks to meditation sessions, you can start to become more aware of what you’re actually doing in your day to day life instead of just going through the same old motions.

Your meditation sessions will help you look for triggers and signals of the behavior you want to change. For example, if you want to work on being less angry, you know from your meditation that a) other drivers are often a trigger and b) you start to feel hot when you’re angry. So when you get in the car for your morning commute, you can already be more alert to cut off those angry feelings before they start instead of just falling back into the usual routine.

Of course, “breaking the habit of being yourself” is not going to be easy work. It’s hard to fight against the processes of your own brain and get out of those ingrained habits. But the end result will be a new version of yourself and a new, happier life.

If you are interested in starting this program from Dr. Joe Dispenza, you definitely need to read the whole book instead of just these takeaways. The book goes into much greater detail about the process of “rewiring” your brain and how to properly meditate.

Let us know what you thought of the book in the comments!

Our January 2023 book club pick will be How Are You, Really? by Jenna Kutcher.

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