The phrase, "you create your own reality" has been part of the Western vernacular for at least several decades now. Originally a statement promoted by those with a more progressive perspective on life, the idea behind the phrase is now commonly found everywhere from books, to television, to popular music and in movies. But while I'll admit that it is empowering to think I influence my world, and easy to imagine that your reality can be very different from mine, obviously that doesn't mean I can fly just because I want to "create that." So what does the statement really mean? Is it true? And if yes, how does that lead to a smart and happy life?
First off I think it is important to acknowledge that this is not just another new age statement. While the exact phrase, "you create your own reality" may have come from Jane Roberts back in the 1970s, others have expressed similar ideas for several millennia. The Buddha said, "What you dwell upon you become." Jesus said, "It is done unto you as you believe." Hindu mysticism from Shankaracharya says, "Whatever a person's mind dwells on intensely and with firm resolve, that is exactly what he becomes." It says in the Talmud, "We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."
More recent sages like Ralph Waldo Emerson have said, "We become what we think about all day long." Walt Disney said, "If you can dream it you can do it." Napoleon Hill said, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve." Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world." Wayne Dyer says, "You see it when you believe it." And let's not forget Oprah who repeats this message frequently by saying things like, "Remember, you are co-creating your life with the energy of your own intentions." There is even scientific support of the idea as I explored in my previous post, The Science Behind "You Get To Make It Up."
Taking it even further is the work of Abraham-Hicks in their work The Law Of Attraction. As I've mentioned before, I was never a big fan of how LOA ideas were promoted through the movie The Secret. Regrettably, at least in my opinion, some of that movie seemed to reduce the entire point of existence on the planet to merely fulfilling our own personal desires and having all the "stuff" any person could ever want. However, after listening to more of Abraham-Hicks I have found underneath all that unconditional approval for how others create their own reality, there is actually a deeper message. That deeper message is one of empowerment where I am always the creator of my thoughts and actions. More importantly, that message is that, what most of us want, even when we think we need "stuff" to make it happen, is to experience meaning, purpose and wellbeing in our lives. Fortunately, with the proper focus that is within our ability.
Again, the message reminds me that regardless of the experience happening around me, how I respond, how I choose to perceive that experience is always my choice. Even when the reality I am going through and observing is not perfect -- in fact is sometimes quite ugly -- what I choose to take away from any of it is definitely my prerogative. And while I can't "fly" just because I think it would be fun, I can certainly purchase an airline ticket and go where I want, decide what to see and do on my "journey," and determine the people who accompany me day-in and day out. From those perspectives I do indeed create my own reality. Perhaps an even better way of thinking about it is that I create the experience of my reality each and every minute.
Another view on this idea came to me this morning while listening to a talk by author and speaker Caroline Myss. A longtime fan, I've always appreciated Myss for her blunt honesty and insights. This topic was no exception. In case you're wondering, Myss does not deny, "we create our own reality." Instead she raises the question, "Why?" What does it matter if we create our own reality if all we are striving for is to get what we think we want in life? In her opinion, many of us are drawn to it for the sole purpose of creating a safer and more "controllable" life for ourselves. Instead, Myss suggests that the real meaning behind "we create our own reality" is that it is "meant to liberate us". She continues with, "It's meant to make you not like the life you have." It's primary purpose is to make us start focusing on what our lives can be if we live courageously, honestly and full out. She encourages us to ask ourselves, "How am I creating my reality? From what level?" Am I using it to access the bigger part of me, or the smaller, fearful part that just wants to be safe?
Yet another perspective that offers an even wider view of the topic is the idea of co-creation or inter-being. On the surface most of us tend to approach the idea of "creating our reality" from a surface level dualistic perspective. Maybe the best question is acknowledging a deep interconnection with the Wholeness of Life Itself. From that perspective we are always constantly creating reality and having reality created around us, all at the same time at every moment. No duality. Only One. That's why a word like co-creation acknowledges that we never act independently of All-That-Is even when we like to think that we do.
What if creating our reality is less about making ourselves feel safe, protected and in control and more about trusting that we can be happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life no matter what occurs? Maybe it's less to do with making sure everything works perfectly in our favor, to instead seeing everything as it unfolds as already perfect. Chances are good we are here for much more than playing it safe and getting everything we ever thought we wanted. SMART Living 365 suggests that maybe, just maybe, conscious co-creating with the Universe is what we have been looking for all along.
Kathy Gottberg believes in living healthy, authentic, fearless and SMART. This post originally appeared on her blog with a number of related comments. For more on this topic go to SMART Living 365.