Clean Your Lens
Your outlook on the world defines your life.
During WW2, havoc ruled the earth. Countries were attacking each other, people were being brainwashed, propaganda was commonplace. The Japanese, eager to expand their territory, began invading countries with brutal means. One such country was the Philippines. On one of its jungly islands, a group of Japanese soldiers set up camp for what was to be an excessively long time.
A man named Hiroo Onoda was sent to a Philippine island in December 1944, less than one year before the end of the war. He arrived in the mountainous, overgrown area with the strict orders to “never surrender.” He joined forces with fellow Japanese soldiers who had already been stationed there.
When the U.S. helped the Philippines take back the island in February 1945, they killed all but 4 Japanese soldiers, Onoda being one of them. Onoda and his countrymen fled into the mountains, where they started utilizing guerrilla warfare. They stole from the villages, killed inhabitants and burned down farms. In August 1945, after enduring the nuclear destruction of two of its major cities, Japan surrendered to the United States. One of Onoda’s comrades, after looting a farm, discovered a leaflet stating “The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!” Onoda and his comrades brushed this off as propaganda. By the end of 1945, leaflets were air dropped over the mountainous terrain. Again, the Japanese soldiers were very critical in their judgement of the leaflets and decided to stay and fight for their country.
Years passed, and then decades passed. When the last of Onoda’s comrades fell to local police in 1972, Onoda was left to himself. In 1974, Onoda’s ex-commanding officer flew out to get him. Finally, Onoda was convinced that the war was over.
This story illustrates the vast impact that your mindset can have on your life. Hiroo Onoda firmly believed that the war was still on, fighting for his country more than a quarter of a century after its surrender.
Are you waging a war in your mind? Are you holding on to past experiences? Are you carrying the burden of limiting thoughts through your everyday life?
Limiting thoughts should not be invited into your present life. Their sole intention is to hold you back. It is important to assess oneself for limiting beliefs and thus to try to overcome them. One such method is by simply asking oneself; “Is this belief conducive to the life I wish to be living?” If not, one can change the belief to a more encouraging one. For example, the belief “I am inadequate” can be reformulated to “I am deserving. I am a beacon of success.” This belief-change needs time and effort to take hold, yet it will begin to shape your everyday interactions and outlook on life.
One method to improve the mindfulness necessary for creating such a change in beliefs is the practise of meditation. Mindfulness meditation essentially involves sitting with a straight back and focusing on one’s breathing. This clears the clutter of your mind, allowing you to become more aware of your limiting beliefs.
Utilizing these methods necessitates effort. It is like building muscles, just training your brain instead of your biceps.
You can train your brain.
It may take a few weeks or even months to take hold, but soon, your old, limiting beliefs will be a fiction of the past.
The lens through which we see the world is often tainted by past experiences. It may be time to lift off the lens and wipe it down. It will enable you to view life more clearly and optimistically.
Severin, December 8th 2018