Ever hear the phrase, “You create your own reality”?
I always wondered about that, especially given that we live in a largely collectively-defined version of reality here on planet Earth. I mean, did I just make it rain on myself? Did I cause that accident? Did I cause the stock market to tumble? How about that flood? Hmmm. Not sure about all that.
Having been involved in this area of inquiry for over 30 years, there is definitely much more to understand and avail ourselves of regarding creating our own life. But rather than focus on every little thing that happens and think “we did that,” I think of it more like this:
We are responsible for our own experience of reality.
Whether or not I caused an accident or a flood I’m not sure it’s helpful to speculate, but I am responsible (= able to respond) for how I respond to and deal with the situation. My experience can be heaven or it can be hell, the choice is mine.
Far too many people choose hell because it seems to be conventional, expected. (If everyone feels like they’re in hell, you can sell more drugs that way, too.)
For each one of us at any given moment in time, there are many different, some even say infinite, possibilities spiraling off into multiple possible futures. Our access to these possibilities is entirely controlled by what we believe. Therefore, if we want to have a different kind of life experience, we will need to learn to think differently by commanding our own narrative.
Sound easy? It is, sometimes, and for some people. But learning to command your own narrative pits you against all of the other narratives that you’ve inherited, usually without any conscious knowledge or participation. Any time we make a conscious effort to change our current reality, we unexpectedly run headlong into these inherited narratives.
The power of these unconscious programs can seem so great that many people even quit their efforts before they’ve barely started. They don’t understand that the choice to stand up and self-create at a new level will put them face-to-face with the narratives that have already always been there, silently running in the background.
Here are some of the more commonly shared narratives that hold sway in our world:
- Bigger is better
- The material world is all that’s real
- Only the mind/spirit is real
- It’s better to be young
- It’s a dog-eat-dog world (aka social Darwinism)
- People are out to get you
- Wealth will bring you happiness
- Work like a dog, retire at 65, then you get to live
- I have to be better than others
- All that matters is that I am/we are first
- The world belongs to us (aka Manifest Destiny)
- If you’re not with us, you’re against us
- (Almost) everyone’s a victim
These are the kinds of narratives that form the large and often invisible undersea currents that control the lives of so many people, often from cradle to grave.
Each of us participates in these narratives, either by supporting them or by defying them in one way or another. Many times we’re not even conscious our attachment to these currents.
Each of us also has a more personal or private story about how we fit into – or don’t fit into – this world. Some of us may be conservatives with a desire to support the status quo, others may be rebels with a desire to smash it. Some of us feel lucky. Some unlucky. Some struggle, while others find pathways opening up easily. Some believe they are lucky in love, others not so much.
It isn’t about which way is right. It’s about the question, “Am I living the life I truly desire?”
One of the first things I recommend to most of my coaching clients is to write out their list of goals. And when people encounter difficulties achieving their goals, I have them look at their personal narratives, because that’s where they’ll find beliefs that are contradictory to their stated goals.
Our personal narratives are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how our lives work. These stories are often inherited from parents or other authority figures. Sometimes the stories seem invisible because, like a fish in water, we are not aware of the psychic field in which we exist each moment. We’re often not aware of even having a story, because it seems like our lives are “just the way things are.”
The more conscious we become, the more we realize that we don’t have to accept any default picture or story about how reality needs to be. We can learn to command our own story, write our own future, and be unlimited.
If it’s true that we can see the whole universe in a grain of sand, then we can also (at least begin to) see the forces that have formed our personal and collective narratives by observing our seemingly minute, moment-to-moment reactions. In fact, it’s in our second-by-second reality where each individual and often invisible decision is made about what we allow to be ultimately real. Our reactions tell us this, unerringly.
With this awareness you can gain the power to command your own narrative by interrupting and transforming the conventional storylines you have acquired and inherited. Once you’ve done that, you’ll really get to explore the limits of this “create your own reality” business.