Tower of Babble


A web of beliefs that together support a strong uber-belief.

Just like the biblical Tower of Babel, which was designed to reach to the sky and challenge the heavens, we build fortified structures of negative thoughts that hold a greater belief together. These Towers of Babble are always doomed to fail, but the higher they get, the harder they are to knock down. Doing Inquiry on the big belief won’t be enough; we have to knock down the pillars of thought holding it up. Andrew trapped himself atop of such a Tower of Babble:

     Andrew: I feel stuck in my life.

     Chana: Why do you feel stuck?

     Andrew: I really hate my job. It just sucks.

     Chana: When you’re in a situation you dislike, you can either change your perception, change the situation itself, or exit. Which of those most speaks to you?

     Andrew: I’d really like to leave. I don’t want to be in accounting. The people at work are nice, my boss is great, but accounting is soooo boring. I just want out.

     Chana: Have you considered what you’d do if you did exit?

     Andrew: I kind of want to start my own business selling hockey equipment.

     Chana: So are you going to do that?

     Andrew: I don’t know. It’s just too hard.

     Chana: What about it is so hard?

     Andrew: I’ve never started a business before.

     Chana: So you’re afraid you don’t have enough experience?

     Andrew: Yeah. But not just that. I mean, I’m not so charming. I don’t think people would buy from me.

     Chana: Anything else holding you back?

     Andrew: Yeah, I mean, the business climate is not what it used to be.

     Chana: What else?

     Andrew: Look at me, I’m not exactly a strapping lad like Bill Gates or

     Zuckerberg were. I’m too old to start something new.

     Chana: So you’re too old, too inexperienced, and not charming. Is that it?

     Andrew: Also, I’d need financial backing from family to make it. My parents are dirt poor.

     Chana: And –

     Andrew: And it’s so much work to start a business. I don’t think I have that kind of stamina.

     Chana: What if you were able to muster the stamina to make it happen?

     Andrew: Then what if I fail? I mean, most businesses do. Could I actually handle the possibility of that?

     Chana: Anything else holding you back?

     Andrew: I don’t think so. I think we’ve pretty much nailed all my concerns.

     Chana: No wonder you feel stuck. You’ve built a sturdy Tower of Babble!

As with a real building, it’s easier to knock down the central pillars in the Tower of Babble than to try to topple the whole structure all at once. In Andrew’s case, a collection of pillars held up the belief that he couldn’t go out on his own and open a hockey supply business:

It’s too hard.
Since I’ve never opened up my own business, I’m likely to fail.
I don’t have enough experience.
I’m too old.
I need financial backing from family to succeed.
I’m not charming enough.
I don’t have enough stamina.
The business climate is not what it needs to be.
I couldn’t handle failing at business.

That’s NINE beliefs! Andrew constructed such a solid foundation of limiting beliefs that he needed to knock down several pillars before the tower could topple, and that’s what we did. We delved into Inquiry on the most potent of the above beliefs. After shifting five of them, the rest started to feel humorous rather than threatening. Without any divine intervention, Andrew’s Tower of Babble went tumbling down!

Summary of Tower of Babble

Identify the key thoughts holding up a Tower of Babble when you are overwhelmed by a particularly challenging belief. Uncovering all the thought pillars holding up your feelings of unworthiness or incapacitation can help you face your fears and move forward.

Like what you’ve read? You can learn Tower of Babble along with 21 other tools in my book, Hold That Thought. Download a free copy of the book here.

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