I believe we chose our own reality.
I’ve seen that process in action—two people interact, and both have their own very clear ideas about what actually took place.The same event happens to two different people–one views it as a blessing, the other as a blight.
But saying we choose our reality sounds so very lightweight. There’s no getting around cold hard facts, right? Reality is reality—if your car is going off a cliff, no amount of wishful thinking is going to keep you from eventually hitting the ground.
Well, I guess there is reality, and then there’s reality. So much of what holds us back in life, and in our art, is NOT about cold hard fact, nor is it as concrete as driving off a cliff.
Most of our obstacles are tied up with perceptions and misperceptions, based in fear, in indecision, or results from unclear goals and unfocused efforts.
And all of THESE conditions are, indeed, things we can choose how we think about them.
I wrote recently about actually experiencing a thought burp up in the middle of the night—and watching my mind literally pounce on it and begin to worry a solution out of it.
Til I realized, “This is not a problem I have to solve. It’s just a thought!”
And I’ve been reading more and more about “mindfulness”, the process of observing and naming your thoughts without the compulsion to act on them or even judge them. “Oh, look, there’s that insecure feeling again….” “Wow, I feel like smacking my cat. I must be having an angry thought about her ralphing on the couch.”
But why do I…we…have to go through these processes to achieve inner peace? Why is my brain always buzzing? What’s wrong with me and my brain, anyway?
I’ve been blaming it on menopause and looking for a cessation any day now. But more and more women are telling me, “Oh, it’s not that simple….”, sending me into new panic. You mean it’s not going to just go away on its own?? Horrors!!!
But yesterday I found hope.
I read the most remarkable book excerpt in the July 2007 issue of OPRAH magazine.It’s from Ruth King’s book, HEALING RAGE: Women Making Inner Peace Possible”. You can read more about Ms. King’s book here.
The excerpt reads:
“The mind’s job is to be busy with thought—24/7. The problem is that we often confuse the activities of the mind with the whole truth…A single wave of emotion can feel like the vast ocean at any given time, yet it is still only a wave, to be followed by another…Emotions are fed by thoughts that believe they are the only reality…We can be informed, even entertained by [them] without the urgency to believe them or act on them.”
I have read and reread that excerpt.
“The mind’s job is to be busy with thought—24/7.”
Our consciousness constantly creates thought because that is its function. There’s nothing wrong, that’s just what it’s supposed to do. That’s why it’s so hard to “empty your mind” when you meditate, so hard not to think of brass monkeys when told not to.
We have brain buzz because our brains are born to buzz.
And notice the next big sentence:
“Emotions are fed by thoughts that believe they are the only reality…”
If this is true, then here is the linchpin behind the whole “choose your own reality” philosophy.
If how we feel is based on thoughts, and any given thought can be given credibility if we let it, then we can CHOOSE which thoughts we give credence to, and which ones we won’t.
I don’t think it will be easy. I’m sure it takes practice, practice, practice.
But if such peace-of-mind is really so within my grasp, I’m willing to put a little time into making that happen.
I feel like this marshaling of my thoughts and processes is going to be so good for my art, and for my life.