In this episode of “Spiritual Solutions” on The Chopra Well, David is wondering whether we create our reality or if our lives are just subject to chance. Can we create reality through intentions and opportunity? What is the role of randomness and chance? Deepak explores five areas that can influence “randomness” – beliefs, expectations, assumptions, perceptions, and moods.
How often do you feel like you have control – or even input – on your own reality? Circumstances and unexpected events tend to crowd our awareness and our sense of reality, to the point where it often feels like we are just puppets in a random world. The lesson here, though, is that much of what we perceive as “reality” is just a projection from our own consciousness. If we believe the world is out to get us, then 9 times out of 10 it will appear as such. If we, instead, address our beliefs, expectations, assumptions, perceptions, and moods, we may begin to see how much agency we actually have in creating our own reality.
It’s as simple as that. Do you want to be irritated or uplifted, cynical or curious? Do you want to experience the world as inherently aggressive or inherently cooperative? Every day we encounter situations that stretch and test us, but every moment we have the power to choose how we react.
In this poignant excerpt from a commencement speech David Foster Wallace delivered to Kenyon College’s class of 2005, Wallace argues that the banalities of working adult existence provide constant opportunities for imaginative thinking. Set against a powerful video produced by LA-based film company The Glossary, Wallace’s argument hits home and is far too familiar to brush aside.
Does this inspire you or do you think David Foster Wallace has it all wrong? And what about those in our society who don’t fit the middle to upper middle class, white-collar existence? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
Just because you perceive something a certain way doesn’t mean it is true.
We often think that reality is what we see and experience. We then make judgments about other people, situations or even ourselves based on our perceptions.
But in reality, the reality that you experience is based on your conditioning, and past programming. The reality that you think is reality isn’t necessarily reality. As you become aware of this it frees you up to see more clearly and question how you perceive a situation or person.
When you look at a situation or person what you really see is what you bring to it. As a result we make up assumptions and judgments about people which are often not true. Then we react based on our interpretation, which is not always accurate.
Have you ever reacted a certain way to a situation or person, only to realize afterwards that what you thought wasn’t necessarily so? It was simply how you were perceiving it in that moment based on your limited viewpoint.
Perhaps someone did or said something to you which left you feeling hurt. When you react to the situation based on your hurt, it only creates a negative spiral.
To the degree you live inside of your assumptions about what is going on, is to the degree you are not free and limit yourself.
The more you can step back, question your first reaction to a given situation and embrace what you feel, the more space you can have to actually choose a response that is empowering rather than reactive. Living from reactivity only creates more reactivity in a situation.
When you are in a relationship with a loved one and they do or say something that triggers something within you. We often think that our upset is about the other person. As a result we might react negatively or even attack the other person out of hurt. We might make up a story about what they said or did, and what that means. In truth you may have no idea what was really going on with the other person or situation as a whole.
So we are all seeing through our individual lens/viewpoint and experiencing reality in unique ways. The challenge is when these realities do not agree, it often results in arguments we both think we are right.
Have you ever experienced this?
On some level you are both right. Everybody is right based on the viewpoint your are looking through. It doesn’t mean it is reality though. When you realize this you do not need to take the other person reaction to you personally, you realize that based on their particular viewpoint which they think to be reality they cannot help but react to you the way they are. It just frees you up to not keep fighting them and be able to take a step back so that you can really choose your response.
The meaning you give to things controls your entire life. What’s the meaning you are giving to the experiences that happen to you?
Mind reading: When you project onto another other person what you think they are thinking and why they did what they did.
Living in fantasy: When you have an entire relationship with a person not based on reality but what you have made up in your mind.
Preconceived ideas: This is where you have already made up in your mind who and what they are and how that person will respond ahead of time. You then already feel reactive, even though nothing has happened yet.
The more you free yourself of your conditioning the more clearly you are able to see reality clearly and really choose.
Before you judge someone or the situation.
Breathe. And take a step back.
Take a look at the situation from a more expanded viewpoint. Be willing to not know.
Question: Is this reality?
So, how much Freedom do you want to experience in your life?
P.S. If you feel truly ready to take yourself to the next level in every area of your life then join me on a lifechanging and extraordinary journey www.boundlessblissbali.com APPLY if you feel called for the next journey December 2-13th.
I volunteered to help out at the local Homeless Day Centre. I wasn’t prepared for the experience. Not really. I have seen the groups of people hanging around outside, I knew what the place looked like, I understood from a bystander point of view what goes on in a homeless centre. Or so I thought.
4 hours I was there. It felt like a lifetime. Standing behind a hatch wielding power over the tea-making machine and the sugar looking into a sea of faces whose expectancy levels were less than a dog in a pound. The common denominator for the people who spoke up when it was their turn, who stood patiently in the queue and who said thank you as they turned away from me carrying their REALLY hot tea or coffee, was the look in their eyes. They had given up expecting anything good to happen to them. They didn’t have the look of people in a queue I have ever stood in. How must it feel to not have an expectation of deserving a cup of tea?
I stood my ground for 4 hours, emptying tea bags into the bin, clearing plates, washing dishes, drying plates, restocking cutlery for the chef as waves of people came through the ‘kitchen’, ie the square 10feet and 6 tabled, non-windowed room with grey lino and a weary feel to it that would really make sure no-one stayed any longer than absolutely necessary.
What to say to a young girl of no more than 16 or 17 who tells you over a plate of mashed potato that she is coughing up blood? Have you seen a doctor? sorry, no, haven’t got a doctor. uh huh. I even sound like a doctor. Inadequate does not even desribe the feeling of helplessness that washed over me as I had to explain to a 7 month pregnant girl that the fresh orange has to go with the night packs for people on the street. (Luckily the chef had a carton of orange in the back of the fridge and I poured her a giant mug full).
All the people with a story. The pregnant girl has a name picked out for her baby.The guy who asks me for a vegetarian option when there is only mash and sausage. There are no vegetables apart from the mash. He takes the mash and I apologise.
Everyone keeps asking me for plastic bags. I am unsure what this sudden interest in polythene is until the chef says they take the bread to eat later. oh.bread in a bag. ok.
4 hours later, the place looks like it did before we began. The floor is swept, the brush and broom have nearly been put away. The search for the keys for a door that needs to be opened takes a good 10 minutes in the chaos between roaming homeless people waiting for their night packs and workers sorting out spare clothes for an unexpected need.
I shrug my waterproof coat on, zip up, mohair scarf nicely wrapped under my chin, ipod with my favourite Dusty Springfield track. In the Middle of Nowhere, I head off into the fresh air and a 10 minute walk. My head is full of the experiences I have just been bombarded with that weren’t there 4 hours ago. The sight of finger nails that haven’t seen a bath for weeks, the colour of yellowing skin from god only knows what, waxen unsmiling, lonely people queuing for some light relief in their daily grind.
I can only imagine this is what really was influencing me as I approached the pet shop on the way home. I saw two people, wearing, lets see, in normal circumstances I would have measured them as poor but clean, jogging bottoms, trainers, denim jackets. One male,one female. They were petting a Stafford Bull Terrier (a typical homeless persons friend) and then, as I started paying attention to what they were doing, they started walking away, really quickly from this dog that was loosely tied up with a rope, as I kept watching, they started running. Running away from a dog. Wearing clothes similar to the ones handed out at the homeless centre. Was it my state of mind still ravaged from the exposure of humanity at its lowest ebb that made me jump to the conclusion that these people had clearly abandoned this dog?
For the love of dog, it was just as well that the owner strolled out of the pet shop and happened upon me talking to the dog before I could try and rescue it!
Note to Self; when faced with traumatic experience, try not to project same onto any scenario you then look at.
The first time I saw the YouTube video of Susan Boyle, I was pretty much blown away by her voice and the energy she invoked from the audience.
But what sticks with me is the reaction of the very attractive judges—first of mockery when she stood before them, then once they heard Susan’s voice, of delight and amazement.
Why is there amazement that an ordinary looking woman can hold a tune and have a beautiful voice? Why on earth would people make the assumption that an average looking person, or a disabled individual, or even terribly disfigured soul can’t sing?
Statistically, more ordinary people have great voices than very attractive ones do. It’s simple—let’s say that 75% of the population is ordinary looking and the rest fall on either side of the spectrum. Does it make any statistical sense that only the gifted in looks would also be gifted in voice?
Of course, ones singling ability has nothing to do with ones looks. What set Susan Boyle apart was her willingness—her courageousness—to face an audience and judges so warped as to assume only good looking people could sing.
The reality is, we have lots of famous singers who are pretty mediocre (at best) singers. They do, however, have other attributes: good looks, confidence, and performance ability. Virtually all of today’s female icons that could not even begin to compete with Susan’s voice. Instead, they know how to wear attention grabbing clothing, to dance and move; and they look great. These singers pick easy songs to sing that anyone who can carry a tune could pull off.
So why is the world so amazed with Susan Boyle? Certainly, she can sing and has a lovely voice. But are we amazed at her voice or is it her courageousness—her chutzpah—to stand before judges as an ordinary looking woman and ask to be given the chance that floors us? If so, shame on us.
On the other hand… many people, listeners of popular music only, may never have heard such a fine voice as Susan’s. Many are simply moved by her angelic voice.
Lily, my sweet new niece was born just last week. Coming from a family of boys, boys, boys I’ve always wanted a girl in my life – I remember wanting a sister the first time my mother told me she was pregnant (specifically to have someone to play Barbie with) but alas, got a bro. And another bro. Then one of those bros had kids – more sons.
So at long last comes news last week of Lily. Finally!
After, putzing around basking in the happiness that comes with such announcements, I was giving thought to a girl in the family, and jokingly told myself, ‘I can’t wait to teach her everything I know about men.’
And then it hit me. Wow. It really begins this early. The assumptions, the labels. Here’s this little girl, eyes not even open yet, and already I’m working with the notion that she’s straight. And not that there’s anything wrong with that, if she is. Likewise if she’s a lesbian, or trans. But here I am – albeit jokingly, yes – but all set to give her the facts on men one day.
Of course, this is the way the world works for everyone, but in that moment of realization it was a like a rock on the noggin’ to catch myself making One Mighty Assumption. It felt unfair, it felt gross and I stopped and decided mid-putz that I’ll just let Lily learn about whoever she wants to when it’s time, if for no other reason that to lighten the load.