Somewhere around the middle of the last century, the self help movement, or more specifically self help authors and seminar leaders, began to espouse the notion that you create your own reality. An early version of this message came in the form of a book called “Think And Grow Rich”. Today we hear some form of this message from a variety of channelers and personal growth teachers. I see it repeated all the time on Facebook posts and twitter feeds. In case you haven’t already guessed, today I have an opinionated perspective to share with you about this idea.
One good thing about this notion is that if you’re feeling sorry for yourself, or lethargic, or just lazy, the idea that you create your reality can help get you up off your butt and move forward, or at least sideways. If you do that, your reality will definitely change. Are you creating your reality that way? Not exactly, but you are influencing it, and that can be a good thing.
Another good thing about the notion that we create our reality is that it can help us begin to become aware of our thinking. The thoughts we hold in mind shape our feelings, and lead us through life in one direction or another. If we’re always thinking the worst about our life, our situation, and the world around us, we’ll tend to miss the positive things, and miss the opportunities that might be right in front of us. If we tend to be optimistic, we’ll see opportunities for growth and change, and can take advantage of those. Are you creating your reality with your thinking? Not precisely, but watching your thinking can help you make choices about it, and that’s also a good thing.
Another good thing about this notion is that it can help us begin to take personal responsibility for our attitude, and the feelings we hold inside. Because after all, the way we feel is a big part of our reality. In most cases, we can make choices to hold negative feelings, or let them go, and experience more positive ones. So that respect, we’re further into create your own reality territory, especially your inner reality. And this also is a good thing.
Here’s where we get tripped up with the “create your own reality” idea. When we hear that we can have a better life, better friends, relationships, home, job, car, and a bigger TV; and we decide to create our own reality, it’s our ego doing that. Our ego is indeed good at helping us create things. But it’s not very good at helping us find true fulfillment. It’s mostly good at helping us get what we think we need, from a very limited perspective. That’s why there are so many unhappy, confused, and frustrated rich people. Also why there are lots of criminals and people in jail. Lots of creativity, just channeled into areas that are not so great.
Have you ever actually tried to “create” something? Try this experiment, and let’s start with something easy. Sit quietly, don’t move, and concentrate on the floor in front of you, and see if you can create a toothpick there. Go ahead. After all, it’s your reality. Create that toothpick. I’ll give you a moment. What, no toothpick? Darn. Maybe you can create your own reality, but it just doesn’t work on toothpicks. Who knows, maybe your copy of “The Secret” had a page missing, the page on how to create a toothpick.
Sure, I’m making fun of this, and I’ll probably get lots of mail about how wrong I am and don’t understand it. But that’s OK. Maybe I’m creating that.
In the sense that who you really are is part of life, and part of God, yes, you totally create your own reality. Even in the sense that your five plus senses are imprinting a movie on your brain, you’re creating your reality. But unless you have transcended the physical level, and are all knowing, all seeing, in God consciousness; if you’re consciously trying to create your own reality, you’re probably just trying to manipulate and control life, and it’s going to backfire on you. You can’t hot-wire life and drive it away like an expensive car you don’t own. It’s not designed to work that way.
Life is designed to help us, as souls, experience, learn and grow. It’s set up to endlessly surprise us, and throw us curves. As soon as we try to control it, we’re stuck in our ego, we limit our experience, and we’ll ultimately become disappointed. But if we take the approach that life holds so much more for us than we could ever imagine, and that we can listen to what life wants from us and follow that, we’re in great territory. On one side, we’re trying to control the car and ending up stuck by the side of the road, on the other, we’re going for a wonderful ride, appreciating the scenery.
One reason I bring up this topic is that a number of counseling clients have come to me in a state of despair, saying some version of the following: “I know I create my reality, but my life is really messed up, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I feel responsible and guilty about not creating a better reality”. With that mindset, they’ve boxed themselves into a tight corner, and can’t seem to find any way out. For them the idea that we create our reality, which was meant to be mind expanding, has turned into a horrible trap.
But have they created their crappy reality? Well, sort of. Their thinking, emotions, and actions have contributed to their current state of being. But that was probably also part of life’s design, so they could get a good look at life from that perspective. Did life expect them to create a reality filled with roses and happy faces, right out of the box? Of course not. It’s not set up that way. It’s set up to give us a wealth of different experiences, and a lot of those are going to be challenging, painful, and downright ugly.
So, if you don’t like your present reality, or would just like a different one, what can you do? First of all, give yourself a break. Assuming you’re a human being, you’re a human being. We’re designed to make mistakes. We all screw up. If God has a sense of humor, you probably look hilarious to her right now.
Second, consider that there’s a good chance you’re carrying a whole wheelbarrow full of fear, sadness, pain and anger inside from stuff that happened ages ago, even lifetimes ago. If it’s inside of you, it’s not going to exactly lend itself to helping you attract a lovely reality, no matter how you might try to disguise it or cover it up.
So, start watching what’s coming up inside you, and whenever you feel something that’s not particularly rosy, let it go. The more negativity you let go of, the less you’ll have. And then it will be easier to attract positive things in life.
And third, go ahead and do what the personal growth teachers say, and focus on what you want. If you want wealth, focus on that. If you want relationships focus on those. But I caution you this. Notice where those desires are coming from, and listen to your higher heart. Go as deep inside as you can, and listen to your highest inner guidance. Listen and follow that, and don’t worry so much about whether it looks like the path to happiness and riches. That stuff tends to fade away fast. Go for true inner fulfillment, and listen inside for what that means to you. Expect the unexpected, and let life create your best reality for you. It’s really good at doing that.