I generally know when I’m about to have a breakthrough, when there is a new process or way of understanding something that is on the verge of taking shape. I have glimpses of ideas and I have a sense of connections that I can’t quite put my finger on. But I know if I stay with it, something new and useful ultimately will take shape.
That’s where I am now. I think I’m about to come up with something very useful, and I’m not sure what it is yet. So I thought I would share with you some ideas I currently have swirling around in my mind and keep updating you as the ideas develop. I think I will end up with something that explains why our lives turn out as they do (apart from the influence of beliefs and conditionings)…. and how we can better influence how our lives turn out.
This “stirring” in my mind started a few weeks ago when I came across a book my wife Shelly was reading for a course she was taking: The Three Laws of Performance, by Steven Zaffron and Dave Logan (Jossey-Bass, 2009). Here are a few of the passages that particularly intrigued me.
“Each person assumes the way things occur for him or her is how they are occurring for another. But situations occur differently for each person.”
“So what exactly does occur mean? We mean something beyond perception and subjective experience. We mean the reality that arises within and from your perspective on the situation. In fact, your perspective is itself part of the way in which the world occurs for you. ‘How a situation occurs’ includes your view of the past (why things are the way they are) and the future (where all this is going).”
“When people relate to each other as if each is dealing with the same set of facts, they have fallen into the reality illusion. To see the reality illusion at work, think of a person you aren’t happy with at the moment—perhaps someone you’ve been resenting for years. In your own mind, think of words that describe that person.
“You might say, ‘self-centered,’ ‘doesn’t listen,’ ‘opinionated,’ and ‘irrational.’ You might be willing to swear on a stack of bibles that those words are accurate. But notice that you’ve described how the person occurs to you.”
“See the reality illusion at work, in you and people around you. Almost without exception, people don’t notice that all they are aware of is how situations occur to them. They talk, and act, as if they see things as they really are.”
“None of us see things as they are. We see things as they occur to us.” (Emphasis added.)
My first reaction after reading this material was that “how things occur” is nothing more than a function of our existing beliefs. We see/create our reality through the filter of our own beliefs. But the more I thought about it and the more I observed how things occur for me, the more I realized that this phenomenon is the result of more than beliefs. But what else causes it? I’m not sure yet. That’s what I’ve been pondering the past few days. I think, however, that the answer could explain a question I’ve had for years.
I’ve known for 25 years that you can change any behavior or emotion by eliminating the beliefs and conditionings (including senses and expectations) that cause the old behavior and emotion.
But this is not sufficient to change your reality, such as making more money or finding the romantic relationship of your dreams. Merely eliminating the barriers (beliefs) to those things showing up isn’t sufficient to actually have something show up in reality. Maybe how things occur for us would enable us to do that.
In the past I’ve investigated the Law of Attraction (as espoused by Seth, Abraham, The Secret, and others), Ernest Holmes’ Science of Mind, and quantum physics, but I don’t think any of these is sufficient to explain what it takes to have events in reality consistently show up in a particular way for you.
It is important to remember that beliefs are the meaning we give meaningless events in the world. Sometimes these meanings are generalizations and we conclude that I am …, people are …, and life is …. Other times we don’t generalize, we just say that I just did something wrong, or what he did was rude, or today has been a difficult day. All three of these are meanings/beliefs, but they are “narrow” meanings that are unlikely to affect us in most situations later in life.
How things occur for us at any given moment is a function of both types of beliefs. But what else is involved?
How things occur for us ultimately seems to be a function of the meaning we are giving any particular person or situation at the moment. Moreover, we seem to be predisposed to create a given meaning by all of our prior beliefs and conditionings. However, those prior meanings don’t cause the new meaning, they only predispose us. And by being conscious of the meaning we are assigning at any given moment, we might be able to change it despite old beliefs.
I noticed last week that recently I experienced being overwhelmed with things to do. No matter how much I did there was always more to do. There never seemed to be time to rest. That situation occurred for me as a problem. Because I had started thinking about the phenomenon of occurring, I tried to shift how these circumstances occurred to me, from negative to positive: all the things I have to do are opportunities. Aren’t I lucky to have so many great possibilities open to me? I don’t have to take advantage of all of them if I don’t have time. But I’m fortunate to have all of them and to be able to create new opportunities daily. It worked: My circumstances started occurring to ne differently.
How this situation originally occurred for me seems to be largely the result of my beliefs, but the shift did not require me to eliminate beliefs, only to be conscious of the old way and consciously choose a new way.
It might be, however, that I would not be able to sustain the new occurring if I had beliefs that precluded it, such as Life in difficult or Nothing ever turns out for me.
Try to create a new occurring for yourself. Look at how a specific person or situation “occurs for you.” Describe it in as much detail as you can. Notice that you interact with the person or situation as if how it occurs for you is the truth? Can you also see that how the person or situation occurs is a function of your beliefs and conditionings? Now try to create an alternative way for it to occur for you. Can you do it?
I intend to keep noticing how things occur for me and see if I can trace the source of that experience. I also will see if I can shift my “occurring” and if I can’t, why I can’t. I also will see if the new occurring lasts, in other words, does it exist only at the moment I create it, with the old one “re-occurring” the next time that person or situation shows up, or does the new one I created continue to occur for me?
I’m looking forward to the next couple of weeks as I pursue this investigation. Please write your comments and questions in the blog below. I’m really interested in what you think about this phenomenon and this blog post describing my journey. I’m sure your comments on how things occur for you will help me in my quest.
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