[Monday Message] Change Your Reality

What is reality, anyway?

There’s a scientific theory, yet to be disproved, that space-time, the fabric of the universe and apparently the backdrop against which reality plays out, is a hologram (here’s another link in case you don’t subscribe to New Scientist).

As a Shaman, I see no falsehood in the idea. To me, all of this that we experience on a daily basis is illusion, a dreaming, created by our minds. The only moment that exists is now, everything else is a story your head tells you about things that haven’t happened yet or a story your head tells you about things that you think happened.

What happens when someone else tells you their story of what they think happened, and you add that to your own story? The story changes, right? And why shouldn’t it? It’s just a story.

Let’s suppose you walked around some non-ordinary event with your favorite person all day. At the end of the day, you meet up with a mutual friend, who asks you both about your day – what you saw, what you did, what happened. It might surprise you to find out that you have two very different stories about your day, even though you did the same things, saw the same things, ate the same things, talked with the same people. So you’re not sharing a reality with your favorite person.

And those stories are informed by experiences that happened at other times. If you remember your female caretaker from when you were a child as harsh and critical, it’s possible that you are going to be more sensitive to people with mom energy, even when their focus is not on you. It creates a story for you, one that may not be shared by anyone else.

The real problem with this is that we get invested in our stories, because we use them to justify our behavior in the present, or we use them to make ourselves feel special (even if it’s in a bad way), or we’re just plain terrified that our entire basis for our lives might be incorrect. When we allow for the possibility that our memories might not be “real” (and again, what exactly is reality?), our negative ego starts screaming.

This is not to say that there aren’t people who maliciously gaslight others in order to manipulate situations to their advantage, as a component of emotional abuse. And if you have an experience like that is your remembered past, you probably haven’t even gotten this far in the post. If you do and you have, I applaud your courage. That’s some scary sh*t.

Just for today, pick a memory that you find chaotic, traumatic, or just generally unpleasant, and rewrite it. Just choose to remember it as a pleasant event. If that’s too much, maybe just come up with a different interpretation of meaning and events, so that you don’t have to carry it around anymore.

What is your resistance to this idea? Be truthful with yourself.

Who would be injured by remembering it differently? What purpose does it serve to remember the event the way you’ve been remembering it? Listen to the arguments your negative ego throws at you for clues about what the real issue here is. This is a great opportunity to do some writing and share it with a trusted advisor, therapist, or coach.

This post is part of a series called Monday Message, based on that day’s reflection from 365 Days to Enlightenment (authorized versions are currently out of print, working on a new edition). Check back next Monday for another one! You can also sign up for the Daily Message on my mailing list if you’d like to receive a new reflection every day. I also often post them to Instagram, if that’s a medium you enjoy.

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