Updated: Jun 27, 2019
As far back as I can remember, I have sought after the deeper meaning of life and existence. I have gone through what seems to be two extremes of inclusion and separation. In the course of my spiritual search I have studied many spiritual texts, which includes a meditation practice. In my search, I discovered that many modern teachings about spirituality and consciousness are motivated by pride, ego, or greed, not the honest representation of truth. I've come to believe that some of the more harmful and dishonest teachings in the world today represent shrouded agendas and because of that I have learned to be very cautious about the kinds of spiritual teachings I allow to direct my life. Over time, I have contemplated these things and learned some important truths that keep me grounded in my approach to my relationships, my work, and spiritual growth.
In the modern world we’re inundated with information, and for so many people it’s difficult to discern who’s telling the truth, or twisting the truth. Anyone can say anything and call it whatever they want. Many spiritual teachings come from ambition, and spiritual ambition. The fact is, people are fallible, including me. We have to watch carefully what our beliefs are telling us. Here, I am not claiming anything absolute. In any of my writings, I ask that you use your own discernment and contemplation and not regard my words as some great authority. I am simply making a comment to point out a different perspective. No one is wrong, judged, or condemned. Here, we can look at this subject objectively, without prejudice, and see what comes out the other end. Life is a journey; and a journey of discernment.
Misconception #1 - “You create your own reality.”
This is one of the most common circulating statements of our time. It rings around the world in many places, and often is used in business and entrepreneurship. There are many ways one can look at this, and when first exposed to this idea in their own consciousness, it can appear to be a happy awakening because of what it offers. But what is underneath this idea that is true and what is misconceived? I have contemplated this question myself for years also wondering which part of it I am, in reality, practicing.
In the movie The Life of Pi, the story alludes to the possible benefits and dangers of trying to create your own mental reality. The narrative depicted by most of the movie is ultimately shown to be a fantasy created by the main character to help him survive. There's something to be said for using this kind of mental flexibility, or positive storytelling, to help yourself overcome negative thinking.
But when does creating your own narrative cross the line into delusion, where a person is no longer in touch with reality or responding to their environment?
This is another question to contemplate. Imagine going through a severe trauma, such as losing a loved one in war. This can haunt someone for a lifetime. But you might wonder for yourself that if things had happened slightly different in your past, how might you interpret this outcome? For example, “my husband died a hero,” Or “my husband died in the war.” Which story is easier to live with? Here it’s easy to conclude that everyone’s experience of life is simply subject to interpretation by their own level of awareness. We give meaning to almost everything that happens to us. So an important truth that can come from the concept of “create your own reality,” is two fold.
There is what happened, and
There is what you make it mean.
On one hand, making meaning out of life is a strength. We can create beauty out of any situation, including the past. We can choose to see a world we have never seen before, even amidst all the seeming chaos. We can experience life on a level that transmutes the negativity by our thoughts and vibration alone.
On the other hand, this leaves the door open for bypassing our own morals and inner knowing, which can lead to misinterpreting the reality of life. Here, each individual is responsible for being honest with themselves and others.
And why this perception of “create your own reality” is so important...
It’s important because it opens the door to looking at life differently. Wayne Dyer once said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” People live their lives often in stories they created that do not reflect the reality of life and situations. Here we can see that consciousness is simply not the cause of reality, but a way to perceive it. With this understanding, you can see that interpreting life differently can benefit how we react to situations, but it does not change the impact of any event from one’s past. Once it’s done, it’s done, but which looking glass are you peeking through?
“Thoughts and ideas are just that, they are not the impact of the choices of the past, the essence of the presence, or the outcome for the future.” David Drimmel
I have learned that I am in the driver's seat of my mind which is tapped into the stream of consciousness where possibilities are infinite. Infinite thoughts and ideas are available to me, most of which came from other people—my upbringing, my teachers, religion and culture, media and advertising, and even my ancestors. As a student and working with the mind, I’m learning to choose which thoughts enter my mind and which thoughts I will give attention to. The stream of consciousness is brought into our awareness the moment we are conceived. Our journey through consciousness perhaps begins when we come into this world, or perhaps through many lives. So how do I discern what part of the stream of consciousness is important and true for me?
This is where the problem lies with “creating your own reality.”
Everyone in the world is creating their own reality, much of which is an attempt to be separate from the true reality of life. We all have this opportunity in being here to join with life as it is and allow life to call out of us our greater gifts, or to deny the gifts we were given and to follow something of a shallow nature. The choice is yours. To me, there is a greater reality to which we all belong to that includes our inherent relationships in the world and beyond the world. Our deeper nature includes a greater will for our lives, and we can only tap into that or willingly yield to it. We cannot control it. We cannot stand apart from it. Some call this our innate intelligence, the deeper spiritual intelligence, or gnosis. It is this immovable, harmonious and immortal part of all sentient beings, and to deny this part of us is to deny life itself.
Finally, on this topic I leave with you a question. Whose dream are you following?
“We live in an era of post-truth. I’m in my reality, you’re in yours.” Marshall Vian Summers
Misconception #2 - “Everything Happens for a Reason.”
You probably can’t count the amount of times you’ve heard or thought this in a situation that aligned with the events of your life. Life is full of synchronicities. Many people respond to them with “it’s a small world!” And to say that “everything happens for a reason” is really to reinforce our human tendencies, which is to give meaning to everything. We are meaning making machines, and many of us are addicted to exploring meaning in most situations or events. We want to believe that everything that happens to us must have a reason behind it that is meaningful.
Finding meaning is important because it is how we relate to the infinite fabric of possibility and our purpose for being in the world. Life also happens, and we journey through it whether we want to or not, in and out of our mind’s attempts to separate itself from life. And as we journey on, one thing leads to the next, and the more we open our minds, the more we can become “wowed” at the possibilities that come our way. Events can line up that seem so impossible, it blows you away. The common reaction is, “wow, that’s no coincidence!”
Here is where the misconception comes.
Because we are such meaning making machines, coincidence sounds too simple to explain the impossible so we submit to the idea that there is no such thing as a coincidence. A coincidence seems too convenient. From this point of view, life is all in order and nothing just happens. From another perspective of this belief, you can see that it reinforces the idea that everything is under control by some higher power, some other entity we aren’t aware of, or our subconscious, higher-self. From one perspective, it denies the mystery of the natural universe or that there is a greater power we cannot understand. Believing that everything that happens has a reason and has meaning can be another attempt by the mind to understand or control everything that happens. It can also be one’s own rejection of the mystery and the truth of life. Embracing the mystery also allows us to live with questions and not need to figure everything out all at once.
On the other side of this, there is the understanding of the natural universe, which some say was set into motion at the beginning of time. Perhaps this “setting into motion” was no coincidence, yet Scientist have a theory of this happening called ‘The Big Bang.” I believe that the laws of the Universe were intelligently designed and set into motion, but without the need to be managed by some omnipotent being or some great grasp of its occurrence. This very notion provides the basis for the reality of coincidence.
One’s idea of a coincidence is described in Webster's dictionary as follows:
a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.
correspondence in nature or in time of occurrence.
With coincidences we can see life and events, even synchronicities, with serendipity. It can be as simple as accepting a blessing without the need to know what is behind it. Here you can see that life is a possibility and a potential, and even where the impossible becomes possible. And with infinite potentials from every perspective, one may ask the question,
“What do I know?”
From this question, I’ve learned that you don’t need a ‘reason’ to know something. Sometimes things just happen without meaning, and sometimes you know things without a description.
Misconception #3 - “You are what you think and believe.”
This idea is also commonly repeated in the New Age or “New Thought” era we are collectively surfing through. Where it stems from is hard to discern, but is widely accepted and spoken about. You can google this term and find hundreds of videos and blog posts about it. There’s even a TEDx talk describing the meaning behind the notion. It brings the awareness that our thoughts and what we choose to give our mind to is what shapes who we are or how we perceive ourselves. The truth of this idea comes from the understanding that our thoughts can have a profound positive or negative impact on our experience of life.
But do your thoughts really determine who “you” are?
If our thoughts determine who we are, wouldn’t that mean we are a limited part of consciousness itself? This idea suggests that a thought or set of thoughts are the ‘you’ that actually observes them, or the many other people that are able to observe you in action. Although it’s important to note that our thoughts are impactful, this idea that ‘you are what you think’ neglects reality beyond your thoughts and beliefs. It leaves the REAL ‘you,’ that should be in the driver's seat taking responsibility for your life, in the back of the bus somewhere which is limiting your point of view.
Reality can be difficult to discern if we are caught up in our thoughts as it limits our perspective to just our own mind and the body, which are one small part of the whole of existence and consciousness. Because you cannot imagine life beyond thoughts, it can be scary to think that maybe your thoughts are not who you really are. We are so caught up in our ideas and fantasies that perhaps our deeper spiritual connection is difficult to access. So why is the idea that "you are your thoughts" so prominent despite its issues from a spiritual perspective?
I’ll leave that last question for you to ponder, but let’s consider one last thing:
You are what you do.
I have learned that who I am is not my thoughts. One of my greatest teachers said, “I don’t care what you believe, I care what you practice.” I realized, through disappointment mostly, that who I am is what I practice which is what I actually do and the people, activities, and things I choose to be in relationship with. Here one might consider that who we all are IS relationship. Relationship is what makes life happen, and within this life we may experience glimpses of this kind of unity. No one can do anything alone, and if relationship is what we truly are then the experience of unity with life and purpose may be our true destiny.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
Many of these ideas were inspired by my study of the books offered at NewKnowledgeLibrary.org