Chuck Yeager just passed away. He is perhaps the finest test pilot in the history of human flight.
He broke an unbreakable barrier in 1947. Some believed that wouldn’t be possible — it was a barrier, after all. But he did it, flying the Bell X-1 faster than the speed of sound.
Chuck Yeager was a brave man. More than once he took an experimental aircraft to the limits, risking life and limb. Where many other heroes died in their attempts, he lived to be 97 years old.
Yeager’s record is historical. Now, fighter jets are designed to break the sound barrier with less and less effort. The fastest aircraft have since successfully traveled more than 6 times faster than the speed of sound.
In my life, I have had various barriers to break through. You, undoubtedly, have as well. While some barriers exist to keep us safe — others are meant to be broken.
Barriers between you and who you desire to be fall into the latter category.
Often, the greatest barrier of them all is you.
You needn’t have a test pilot’s bravery to break these barriers. But they do require courage, and there will be fear to be faced and overcome along the way.
Examples of barriers on the outside
Many barriers, like the speed of sound, are external. Unlike sound, however, many are also artificial.
For example — gender. It is unbelievable to me that women still earn far less than their equally skilled male counterparts. My wife, working in construction for years, had to constantly fight to be paid adequately and command the respect of her male counterparts. Even when she was better at what she did than they were.
And along this same line, general gender identity. In what way does this impact anyone? It shouldn’t matter if you are male, female, non-binary, or what-have-you. You have every right to exist and be who you are.
Race. Apart from the color of skin or the slant of the eyes, there is ZERO difference between races. That a black woman was murdered in her sleep by police — who are still free — is disgusting. That a people live in fear of the police because of their skin color is not at all how our society should work.
Sexuality shouldn’t be an issue, either. LGBTQA+ people are people. Why does this matter in the slightest to anyone else? Discriminating on this basis is appalling.
All these are external barriers to be broken through. And they can and should be broken through. That’s why we’re about to get the first female Vice-President of the United States. And that’s just one of multiple barriers Kamala Harris is breaking through.
These artificial barriers exist largely to keep certain people empowered while disempowering others. You can choose to let them keep you down — or break through them.
However, these barriers — while somewhat daunting — are not the most difficult to clear. The toughest barriers are the internal ones.
Examples of barriers on the inside
For me, this is where I hit the most walls.
It’s important to acknowledge that most of those external barriers have no impact on me. I am a white male. The only barrier I have very occasionally faced is my Jewish heritage. But overall, it’s not been a barrier in need of breaking. I want to make it clear I have nothing but respect for those who have those external barriers to overcome — and support them in doing so in whatever ways that I can.
Even when you overcome external barriers — there are still internal barriers buried in your subconscious. They are made up of old beliefs, life experiences, lessons learned and not learned, and subconscious absorption of outside information that builds walls and obstacles.
Whenever you believe you are unable to do a thing, that it’s too hard, or you are not worthy or deserving — these are internal barriers.
I have had self-esteem issues throughout my life. They made me believe that I am unworthy and undeserving of being the person I desire to be. On top of these, I have old, outdated beliefs that nag at me when I stand before the barriers.
For example — I long believed the only people who make money are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and the like. Writers and artists starve. If they succeed, it’s only due to luck and extreme talent.
These are some large barriers between where I am now and where I desire to be. But they are just as daunting — if not more so — than external barriers.
Overcoming them is just as much an inside job as they are internal barriers.
You already have the necessary tools
There is nobody in my head but me. Sure, there are beliefs and long-held notions that were implanted by family, friends, teachers, concepts I have studied, and other sources. But only I can access them and use, ignore, or replace them.
This is where most of the barriers have come from. Listening to my mom and how she talked about money as I was growing up caused me to have a complicated relationship with it, for example. Likewise, watching my parents and their relationships after their divorce impacted how I handled my relationships for quite some time.
Note — I place no blame in this. I am an adult. At this point in my life, any issues caused by old beliefs and notions in my subconscious are my responsibility. If they are to be altered, removed, or otherwise changed that’s on me.
And they can be. No belief is so deeply rooted that it can’t be uprooted and replaced. I hold all the power to get into my subconscious in whatever way I find to work on this.
You have the same power. And it is activated with mindfulness.
Mindfulness is how you get into your subconscious to find, identify, remove, replace, change, and otherwise alter old beliefs and barriers you’ve created. Since you’re the only one inside your head, you’re the only one who can do this.
While you alone can do this, you needn’t do it alone. There are practices you can do, therapy individually and in groups, and numerous other resources available for working on this with help and accountability partners.
Using mindfulness to break through
This begins by simply becoming aware of your conscious self. While this includes your environment and surroundings, that’s not the important part. It’s your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions that most require your conscious awareness in the here-and-now.
When you are aware of what you are thinking, how and what you are feeling, the actions you have taken, and the intentions behind them — you have begun mindfulness. This is the surface. It is these four elements that connect you to your inner self.
When you are aware, at this moment, of these four elements, you gain clarity into your mindset/headspace/psyche and overall being. That clarity will let you see any and all barriers in the way of where, who, and what you desire to be.
From here, you can now actively look into your subconscious consciously. In this way, you will find habits and beliefs that have erected the barriers. Identifying them is the first step in overcoming them.
Practicing mindfulness is NOT a one-time action. It is a constant, ongoing process. And you won’t succeed at it all the time. When you sleep — you’re enveloped in your subconscious since you are unconscious. If you receive bad news or are having a rough and rotten day, it may be easier to subconsciously just get through it.
But when you do make mindfulness into a regular practice, you get control. The only real control you have in this life. You. Your mindset/headspace/psyche is wholly under your control. Mindfulness is the means to this end.
Great or small, you have the power to overcome almost anything
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke learns that he has many preconceived notions that — to masterfully wield the Force — he needs to overcome. Yoda provides him many new perspectives he never considered before to do just that.
These are all applicable to you and me, too. For example,
“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
I need to release beliefs that the arts are not a worthwhile career pursuit. Even after years practicing my art — writing — this is still rooted in my subconscious. I need to take steps to uproot and replace it.
Another important quote,
“Size matters not.”
Snicker all you want — get the innuendo out of your system — then recognize the importance of this statement. The Universe makes ZERO distinction about size. If you are looking to manifest into your life one dollar or a million dollars — the Universe sees no difference.
Likewise, the size of the perceived barrier makes no difference. It might be a shin-high wall or the Great Wall of China — the same effort will go into overcoming it.
You’ve done it before. How? You overcame the obstacles and barriers to apply for the job, ask the person on a date, move to a new city, buy the car, sell your art, get the ‘A’, win the prize, or do something you were told wasn’t possible. Great or small, the barrier was broken.
Since you have done it before — you can do it again. When barriers hold your life back you can break through them. By using mindfulness and actively working to overcome the barriers you face, internal or external — you can.
You are worthy and deserving of living life to the fullest. Like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, you can break any barriers you encounter.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
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