What If It Ain't So?
By Karen Wright
Imagine being born and raised on a secluded island with no access to the rest of the world at all. No TV, radio, short wave, books, newspapers, phone, not even any other people - no notion of anything beyond your own existence.
Now imagine that your parents taught you that the color of the ocean was yellow; the shape of a ball was square; the taste of water was sour; the feel of the sun on your skin was cold. With no other input, you would take these words and meanings as literal truth. You would have no reason not to.
In many ways we've all accepted and adopted interpretations and meanings from our environment: parents, school, news. We've bought many ideas and never questioned their validity because everyone else had accepted them too. After all, if everyone agrees, isn't it truth?
The world is flat. The sun orbits the earth. Faster than the speed of light is impossible.
Throughout human history we've believed many "truths" that were later disproved. Today, quantum physics is dispelling many long held truths of science as well. Things we've believed impossible appear to be, instead, actual.
Just about everything we experience in life, we interpret through a cause-effect lens. We get a result we didn't intend and set about figuring out what caused it. We look for causes of disease, conflict, global warming. We assume that if we understand the cause, we'll be able to change our result.
But, what if our underlying supposition of the relationship between cause and effect is inaccurate or incomplete? Here's an example: when you go to the sink to fill a glass with water, what causes the water to shut off when the glass is full? You might think it's you - you shut off the water because the glass is full. But, isn't it also as true to say that the full glass caused you to shut off the water?
This seems like a fine point, but think of this in terms of cause-effect. Were you the cause and the full glass the effect? Or was the full glass the cause and you turning off the water the effect?
This assignment of cause-effect becomes critical when considering how to manage our experiences. Too often we believe that something "out there" has caused us to feel or do or be a certain way. What if the way we feel or do or be is causing the something "out there" to be as it is?
What if, in the creative process, we only become aware of it in the second step...the observation step? If we wake up to something for the first time as we are observing it, we may think that what we are seeing is the cause, instead of the result.
So what? Well, if we misread the cause, we will be unable to understand or even consciously affect the result. What circumstances or situations (results) in your life seem to make no sense or seem impervious to any corrective action you take? This is a good indication that you are not seeing or dealing with the cause of the situation.
Let's say that I have feelings of unworthiness because others treat me with little respect or kindness. They shun me and ignore my needs. If I believe that my feelings of unworthiness are caused by their behavior, it would seem that the only way for me to feel better about myself is if they change their behavior toward me. So, having identified their behavior as the cause, I'll try to change their behavior.
But, what if my feelings of unworthiness are manifestations of my own imagination? What if I let those feelings determine my behavior? How does unworthy look? I hold back, I fear recrimination, I seek approval, I see myself as less than others and may demean myself openly. All my behaviors, reflecting my lack of self-worth, will influence how others respond to me.
How might you respond to someone exhibiting such self-esteem issues? Avoid them, take pity, belittle them, exclude them from participation, ignore their contributions?
If I experience these types of behaviors toward me, and if I don't recognize my own role in eliciting such responses, I will tend to see others' behaviors as causing my mental anguish. I won't even see that it all began with me.
Are my thoughts and beliefs being molded by the outside world (affect) or are my thoughts and beliefs molding the outside world (cause)? Is it possible that a belief in scarcity causes scarcity to exist in our lives? Do you believe in scarcity because you experience it? Or does it exist because you believe in it?
If thought is truly creative, if thoughts become things, it would be worth our while to examine what thoughts we are offering up into existence.
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