During the past couple of weeks several readers have asked me: “What’s so new about this ‘occurring’ distinction?  Haven’t you been saying for years that our beliefs and conditionings determine our behavior and emotions?”

Yes and no.  I have said that our specific behavior and emotions are caused primarily by our beliefs and conditionings.  But how things occur for us is a different phenomenon.  It is a new meaning for the reality we are observing that we create on the spot, even though the meaning is determined largely by our existing beliefs and conditionings.

This distinction is important because how things occur for us has a significant impact on how we view and deal with the world, apart from the influence of old beliefs and conditionings.

Consider that most specific behaviors and emotions are caused by a relatively small number of beliefs and conditionings.  For example, procrastination and social anxiety are caused by about 16, fear of rejection by about nine, and worrying about what others think of us by about 10. Even the most complex issues like eating problems and chronic depression usually are caused by less than 50.

On the other hand, the way we interact with reality on a moment by moment basis is  largely a function of how it occurs for us (the meaning we create on a moment by moment basis), which is a function of several factors, the most important of which seems to be all of our beliefs and conditionings.

To change any specific behavior or emotion, you have to eliminate the beliefs and conditionings that cause it.  That’s relatively easy. To change how we view and deal with reality in the broadest sense, we have to change how reality occurs for us on a moment by moment basis, which is the result of several factors: Beliefs and conditionings formed by our personal experiences and by being a part of specific organizations and cultures.  (I mentioned this latter source of beliefs in last week’s post and gave a few examples.)

Our Stage of Development

In addition, there is one other important factor that determines what meaning you are likely to give reality: The developmental stage you are at in life. There are a number of developmental theorists who agree that societies and individuals necessarily pass through various developmental stages, during which they view the world very differently.  (See almost any book by Ken Wilber or Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan.)

For example people in the “mythic” or “traditional” stage view the world though a filter of traditional values and faith. They believe there is only one “right way”: that of their community in most cases.  Their beliefs are based on faith.  Most religious fundamentalists are in this stage of development.

A second stage is frequently called “modern” and is characterized by reason supported by evidence.  As a result this stage produces science and led to the industrial revolution.  Here problems are solved using reason and gathering evidence. Important values for this stage include autonomy, independence, and success.  A person with this viewpoint requires evidence before believing something.  Most scientists and businesspeople are in this stage.

A third stage, which really came into its own in the 1960s in America, is “pluralistic” or “post-modern,” and calls for equal rights regardless of gender, sexual preference, skin color, etc.  It also places importance on spirituality (as distinct from religion) and environmental sustainability. Its values include community, consensus, and equality for all. A person in this stage sees values in all perspectives and ideas, and hates hierarchy of all types. Most people in the “personal growth” movement are in this stage.

Everything else being equal, “reality” will occur very differently for people living in the traditional, modern, or post-modern stage of development.  The stage you are at determines to a great extent how you think about things, not what you think about. This, by the way, is why the same political issues can occur so differently and lead to such violent disagreement for the “religious right,” “business Republicans,” and “liberal Democrats.”  Everything from how to deal with the economy and the environment, to health care and gay rights, occurs differently for people in each of these three stages of development.  (Obviously when someone is at a given stage not all of his responses come from that stage.  It just means that over half of his behaviors are consistent with this stage.)

Two Theories On Manifesting

Here are two basic possibilities about how to get what you want in the world.

1.  You intend for something to happen, you imagine it as already having happened without any doubts, you infuse the imagined outcome with great emotion, and then you act as opportunities occur … and all of that attracts the desired outcome to you.  This (or some variation of this) is called the Law of Attraction.  (Maybe this works, maybe it doesn’t.  I’ve seen a lot of evidence for and against it. I’ve gone back and forth, and haven’t made up my mind yet. I don’t think that you, as a creation, can consistently “create” anything in reality, such as relationships or money.  It may be possible for you, as the creator/consciousness, to do so.)

2.  Your personal beliefs and conditionings, your organizational and cultural beliefs, and your stage of development determine how things occur for you, which determines how you view and interact with the world. Then you can distinguish yourself as the creator of what is occurring for you, which enables you to change the meaning.  That, in turn, enables you to really live in the present, intending but unattached from the outcome. That enables you to create possibilities and/or notice possibilities that others might not see, after which you do whatever it takes to take advantage of those possibilities to make sure that you attain the desired outcome.

If the latter is an accurate account of what determines what manifests in our lives, then the first thing we should do to help us “manifest in the world” is to eliminate all the beliefs we have that are inconsistent with what we want.   Then, be conscious of how the world is occurring for you and realize you have created it that way; it isn’t really that way.  This will increase your ability to live in the present, opening up new possibilities you can act on.

My ideas on this topic are still in a state of flux, but I am getting clearer each week on the importance of how things occur for us, what determines how things occur for us, and how to change how things occur for us. Please keep posting your comments below.  I love our discussion.

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to htp://www.recreateyourlife.com/free where you can eliminate one limiting belief free.

Please feel free to share my blog posts with anyone you think might be interested (as long as you tell people where they came from) and to provide a link from your own website or blog.

To purchase DVD programs that we guarantee to eliminate eight of the most common daily problems people face, go to http://www.recreateyourlife.com/store.

Follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mortylefkoe and join our fan page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/LefkoeInstitute) to get my latest insights on the role of beliefs in our lives.

Finally, to receive notice of new blog posts, please fill out the following form.

Copyright © 2009 Morty Lefkoe

By Published On: Tuesday, January 5, 2010Categories: Occurring30 Comments


  1. jessy August 29, 2011 at 9:02 am - Reply

    first, my thoughts on some related ideas:
    (check out steve pavlina website for
    his take on how the law of attraction works.) steve pavlina surmises that
    the world you experience and YOU are both basically one thing-you,
    in a dream: ‘subjective reality’. higher lucidity (think lucid dreaming while awake) can
    be gained to manifest intentions. i personally enjoy the removal
    of boundary between self/world. (its euphoric !) But, when
    manifesting my intentions – using the law of attraction or steve’s
    ‘subjective reality’ model, i have always chosen intentions that
    are “within” my personal boundary. that is, i don’t intend’ for it
    to rain, or for others to do anything, i only intend personal traits,
    attributes and actions to make me different a bit different. but the ‘occurrence’
    model described here, also seems to encompass an awareness of ones own
    personal boundary; i.e. : “what happened for me vs. what happened
    in reality?” Anyway, i really like this “occurrence” model as it
    seems more socially conscious (respectful of all beings) and less
    like schizophrenic megalomania or grandiosity.

  2. admin February 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Hi Susanne,

    I have some hesitation in using the word “choose” because that easily leads to guilt and blame: I caused my cancer or the house to burn down.

    We do create our beliefs by giving meaningless events a meaning. We do choose that meaning. But for kids, it is virtually impossible to chose any other meaning. And then how things occur for us is largely (if not totally) a function of our beliefs (and conditionings).

    So we can choose to CHANGE our beliefs and how things occur if we are taught how, but be careful about blaming yourself for how things occur for yourself because you “chose” them.

    Thanks for your interest in our work and for taking the time to write.

    Regards, Morty

  3. susanne February 5, 2010 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Morty — what a very cool and very important distinction between eliminating beliefs and what I might call reactions. It seems to me that one fundamental premise in both is the issue of choice — as in, I choose my meaning. So step 1 is really to be fully able and willing to hold your immediate reaction, whatever it may be, as the a result of a series of very rapid (largely unconscious) choices. If you are able to do that, then you can step back and make the decision (i.e., choice!) to choose differently. I do not know whether it is truly possible for most of us to “not choose” — that is to be in the state of all possibilities on a consistent basis (and actually, even that is a choice, isn’t it?). It helps to “know” at a deep level that even if you feel bugged “by” something, you chose to feel that way. You may or may not feel the need (or have the energy, or whatever) to make a different choice, but simply knowing other choices exist can shift the experience.

    I think practicing taking responsibility for our experience of life through conscious word choice is a pretty important aspect of being able to choose differently. Saying “I allow myself to get all frustrated in this situation” is very different than “she bugs me.” Even more powerful is “I’m choosing to feel frustrated by [these events].” Another interesting aspect is that as you decide to make a different choice about the meaning of certain events, you can frequently uncover residual beliefs. If you can’t get past a certain interpretation or narrow range of interpretations, it’s obvious that there is some old belief/emotion/sense at work.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more as your class/workshop proceeds.

  4. admin January 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    I think fathers should have equal rights. Do you see a connection between this issue and the blog post?

    Regards, Morty

  5. admin January 5, 2010 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Hi Doaster,

    Yes, #2 is similar to #1, as is #3. There are a few additional distinctions in each one as I make them. But they are all aspects of the same idea. And I probably will have at least one more post of the same subject.

    Thanks for reading my posts and for your comment.

    Regards, Morty

  6. Daoster January 5, 2010 at 7:56 am - Reply

    Something to ponder..
    Isn’t what you wrote in #1 .. the same thing as #2 but viewed from a different aspect?


  7. admin January 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Hi JW,

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say it didn’t work for your wife. Did she eliminate any beliefs? Eliminating your own beliefs will not change your wife, although it can change how you react to your wife. No matter how your wife views you, nothing she does or says can MAKE you feel anything Only your beliefs and conditioning can do that.

    So the way to change how you feel about yourself–when you’re with your wife or not–is to eliminate all the relevant negative beliefs. And you can find the ones you need at our store: http://recreateyourlife.com/store.
    Regards, Morty

  8. Houston Vetter January 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm - Reply


    May I suggest a book that has Morty Lesfkoe in the 1st line of the acknowledgments so that you may get a better understanding of what is being said instead of coming from and through your belief filters as no belief is true for it is only a thought that one has repeated long enough to give it more power than the thought it really is. “The Book of EST” by Luke Rhinehart.

    I have no control over anything and yet whatever I need/want still shows up when considered. No effort on my part, it is simply provided.

    Also, so you may have a better perception of where I am speaking from check out ‘Tony Parsons’ on the net or any of his books. Again you are speaking theory and I’m speaking from my experience. War is not in my experience and it isn’t my experience. Are you a soldier, is war something that you contemplate often, how specifically is it part of your experience? Or is it simply a mental construct you are presenting to hold a BS-Belief System in place?

    To Your Best,
    Dr. Vetter

  9. JW January 3, 2010 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Morty – great blog. What if you have gone through the belief elimination process for “I am not good enough” and it has worked for everyone else but your spouse. Does that mean that you really haven’t eliminated the belief if it still crops up with a spouse? How do you chance your view on the current experience when your spouse “sees” you as not good enough (when you know you are). How does the system work to get you past the hurt of your primary relationship not reflecting what you see in yourself

  10. JW January 3, 2010 at 4:06 am - Reply

    Morty – great blog. What if you have gone through the belief elimination process for “I am not good enough” and it has worked for everyone else but your spouse. Does that mean that you really haven’t eliminated the belief if it still crops up with a spouse? How do you chance your view on the current experience when your spouse “sees” you as not good enough (wh

  11. Tony January 3, 2010 at 1:54 am - Reply

    There are certainly things that are inexplainable with current ideas and therefore it is worthwhile or at least interesting to look at other possibilities. I like to look at the evidence that presents itself, wether it is by personal experience or scientific experimentation. Any explanation has to be able to explain everyone of these experiences. That we are able to influence eachother on another channel of communication is one explanation for these events and could also describe why we have influence on events on a nano-scale and some experiments in the field of psychology. That our perceptions of the world change our experience and therefore our decisions and thougths we have is easily explained by lefkoe or other explainations. One has to be able to be open-minded enough to put all theories fairly against eachother (also the classic ones) otherwise you are no less close-minded then someone who holds on to old inaccurate beliefs. The reality that a real life object doesnt change with our perception of it or that objects appear of the blue (like has been proven on a nano-scale) seems to suggest that the theory (think and the manifestation will occur) is not an accurate description of the world (afterall sometimes we are creative arent we?, then there should also be completly new things occuring in the world). Science has maybe its limits but one has to recognise that , though sometimes resistant to new evidence, it has adapted trough time and not been so close-minded as to simply ignore current or new evidence representing itself. And it is also honest enough to recognise: “we dont know”, if current theories doesnt match new evidence.

  12. Janet January 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Janet again. If I had spelled self-esteem correctly, I would have something more profound to say. Happy New Year All!

  13. Janet January 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    I am really pleased to have found Morty Lefkoe and this blog site. We really need to bounce ideas off others as, for me, I can stay in my little tunnel of beliefs and not see another perspective. I have a website on self-esteem and have written most of the content from my own experience and beliefs. I like it a lot but am at a stage now where I need something new to help me move forward with it. One thing I believe for sure, though, is that how we perceive the world and the decisions we make based on that and hence the reality we experience, is a direct result of how we feel about ourselves (or our level of self-esteem).

  14. SA December 31, 2009 at 10:50 am - Reply


    A simple example of the power of thought. You are going down the road and somebody shouts an obscenity at you. They are just words. But those words evoke an image and a thought in your mind. That thought leads to feelings to anger, perhaps hurt, or even humiliation. Within a millisecond your whole state of mind has changed. How? Because thoughts act through laws that are as concrete as the law of gravity. Perhaps in your anger you go up to that person and beat him up; the police comes; they take you to jail; your family gets distressed; your kid who really loves you decides that standing up to somebody is bad because you could go to jail. So, you see how a simple thought could impact and change your environment and people around you. We all have heard about and seen people who seem to light up the room when they enter. How does that happen? Their inner thoughts and beliefs are operating through an invisible medium and impacting their environment. The same holds true for the reverse personality.

    It is a well established observation in quantum physics that there is no outcome, no reality until an observer asks a question (making an observation using an instrument is asking a question). At that moment, all possible outcomes simply collapse into a single discrete answer (reality). So, we have power over reality through the questions we ask (thoughts we hold).

  15. Tony Van den Bogaert December 31, 2009 at 4:00 am - Reply

    “Cesar Milan (the dog whisperer) proves LOA, manifestation and occurance laws in every episode. His rules for manifestation are simple – have a clear picture in your mind as to how you want your dog to behave, expect that the dog will behave in that way, and you yourself behave in a way consistent with this thought and do not waver.” If Cesar is really able to control/behavoir of a dog, then that only proves that he is able to control/influence the behavoir of a dog, and anything else is an assumption.

  16. Tony Van den Bogaert December 31, 2009 at 3:52 am - Reply

    “Whatever is needed/wanted shows up when it is felt.” That seems that you have a lot of control. Why dont you make the wars stop or something?? You cant dont you? If we look at the real world then yes its seems thoughts have influence, but ignoring all the counterevidence wont get you anywhere.

  17. SA December 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    I propose that the power of attention (i.e, choosing what to focus on) is the true creative act we engage in every moment. – and through that we manifest and create reality. There are at any moment numerous possibilities of actions available to you, all equally possible until you decide to pay attention and focus on one outcome. For example your own attention on this blog has occured because you have chosen to pay attention to it at the exclusion of numerous other alternate realities that were at your disposal. Just by choosing to pay attention to this blog you have collapsed at possibilities into a single reality – this reality occurs to you and is manifested by you.

    In this sense reality is both illusion (an eather of infinite possibilities) and concrete (single specific manifestation). The act of attention is the creative act that brings manifestation out of illusion.

    God created man with one special gift – the freewill to choose. By choosing we become creators in a small way. The whole universe re-arranges in a small way the moment we make a choice. We do this unknowingly every moment of our lives when we choose what to pay attention to.

    I see no conflict between LOA and occurances as being discussed here. Both are outcomes of what we decide to focus on – whether compelled by beliefs and conditionings or by conscious visualization and expectations.

    Cesar Milan (the dog whisperer) proves LOA, manifestation and occurance laws in every episode. His rules for manifestation are simple – have a clear picture in your mind as to how you want your dog to behave, expect that the dog will behave in that way, and you yourself behave in a way consistent with this thought and do not waver. Of all the different behavior possibilities of the dog, it collapses into a single reality or occurance (behavior) because Cesar paid attention to it and manifested it through LOA.

  18. Houston Vetter December 30, 2009 at 5:34 pm - Reply


    I am only speaking my experience, not theory. Whatever is needed/wanted shows up when it is felt. (No-thing, the void, emptiness, Source) whatever term one has for divinity/the more than, etc. is experiencing itself and there is not a ‘me’ present. I am not talking about theories or stories etc only what is being experienced presently.

    There is no individual ‘they’ or ‘me’ from this place there is everything and nothing both at the same time. There is no separation, no individual from here. It is not about a particular person going by the name of Houston (as there is only beingness being here) manifesting everything and yet Being does manifest everything.

    Everything comes out of Nothing (No-thing), emptiness, void and everything is Nothingness pretending to be something. And Everything is surrounded, inner-penetrated, supported, made from and carried by Nothingness (No-thing). Look around every where there is way more space than stuff, even on the Quantum level.

    To Your Best,
    Dr. Vetter

  19. Chris December 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Your honesty is refreshing, as we are all evolving and learning more each day. I think the first step in being able to change our beliefs and receive truth at any level is to stop identifying with our “egoic” natures – Thinking we have to have all the answers.
    The work you’ve begun is so relevant.

    In your book, RECREATE YOUR LIFE, you note the conclusions of a case study on Self-Esteem. – “Self-Esteem is the likeliest candidate for a social vaccine, something that empowers us to live responsibly and that inoculates us against the lures of crime, violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, child abuse, chronic welfare dependency, and educational failure. The lack of self-esteem is central to most personal and social ills plaguing our state and nation as we approach the end of the twentieth century.”

    In reference to Jackie’s comment about people – “loving their beliefs”, I heard of an interesting story about some of the slaves Harriet Tubman tried to liberate. To her shock, there were many slaves who were so thoroughly brainwashed or “conditioned,” that they argued that their enslavement was “normal” and that there was no condition for them to be rescued from. Needless to say, there was absolutely nothing she could do to convince them otherwise.

    We see this mental state in the young child who may feel it’s her fault that her parents abuse her either verbally or physically. Some children have been conditioned to believe they deserve it.

    We’ve all heard stories of young women who think their boyfriends are justified in physically abusing them and they rationalize going back to him repeatedly, often at the cost of their own lives.

    It is not only important that we remain tolerant of one anothers beliefs but also challenge one another to question those beliefs that don’t serve us or the world at large.

  20. marilyn milam December 30, 2009 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Anyone interested in the subject of intention and manifestation will enjoy Lynn MacTaggert’s book “The Field” and the website “The Intention Project” where this subject is discussed in great depth. There are many top scientists from all over the world involved in these intention experiments with verifi.able results.

    My personal understanding is that the thing we perceive as reality is an illusion which we create with the words we think and speak. Christ said to those who marveled at what he did “This and more will you do”. In the beginning is the Word.


  21. Jackie Mackay December 30, 2009 at 11:48 am - Reply

    People love their beliefs do they not? They have lived with them all their lives – they are passed down from generation to generation and often involved with overarching religious and moral beliefs. In addition there is the conditioning of society and governments.

    There is therefore an amalgamation of payoffs in having the beliefs in the first place. When the pain of the belief exceeds the payoff then the desire to change will happen.

    Therefore you have to engage with the process that Morty put together. You have to want to get rid of them and only a handful of people WANT to get shot of their shackles – because that is what beliefs are. In fact you believe you want to eliminate your beliefs and you do not want to. Beliefs are the antithesis of TRUTH and have held back the growth and development of mankind overall by causing personal misery, wars, ignorance and cold cruelty in the perpetration of unspeakable actions towards other people, animals and polluting the planet.

    Belief has been put on a pedestal – After all did not Christ say – Believe in me? – Is not believing the root of the so called LAW of attraction? (who on earth said it was a law? Newton?)

    Yes it is a useful tool and we cannot do without it in structuring our lives and keeping us going – indeed it has been responsible for the survival of the human race. So how can we sort out this conundrum?

    It is by learning the one aspect is little spoken of – personal responsibility. Christ and all religious leaders have said – Go Within –
    and what we say nowadays in the enlightened circles is – Take a look – at your agendas, motivations – Know Thyself…. the red pill of the Matrix.

    The truth is not – out there – it is part of a complicated web of information that has become the foundation of our characters and uniqueness. There is no textbook in existence that can take away our individual part in the matter of living. Our perception of what should be and could be – indeed what we think we want – is a chip off the block of Truth… a microcosm like a chip of a hologram.

    Yes it’s complicated. Morty has managed to laser through the complexities with the genius of simplicity – however when you are ready to let go of your beliefs – they will be gone.

    Only you can do what you need to do and with the greatest of respect – only you know what beliefs hold you back from what. We cannot make a method out of life itself as hard as the entirety of the medics and popes (etc) do so try.

    I speak from my own experience of doing the confidence course and engaging seriously and faithfully with eliminating 19 beliefs etc. I have done a great deal in my path of learning about myself in relation to life so I came to it with a full array of T-shirts – a full quotient of Been-there-done-that. Morty’s method seriously changed my life.

    However – the question arises – NOW what? We shall see if I have it in me to pass on some of what I have learned and manifest what I want – my passion to create communities that work to bring the folk natural happiness which is mankind’s natural estate.

    Jackie Mackay

  22. Tony December 30, 2009 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Dr. Vetter,

    if one would be able to manifest everything. Then it would have already been done by now, i know of no one, that doesnt mean anything, but i surely would have seen the effects, or else he has done a mighty bad job. I was speaking theoretically and you do as if you know the truth. I know of people talking about losing themselves and being one with their surroundings, they never talked about being able to manifest everything.

  23. Houston Vetter December 30, 2009 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Tony and Thomas,

    My take is you are both accurate in your assessment. The 1st Forgotten Fundamental of Life is “The Individual is the Meaning Maker”. It seems LOA works and the more one is identified as creator the more it works and as Tony so apply stated when one looses the sense of ‘self/me’ and identifies with everything LOA and manifestation just is, as it is what comes from No-thing into existence. When we experience that there is no other, there is no one and nothing creates everything. Weird paradox but fun.

    To Your Best,
    Dr. Vetter

  24. Tony Van den Bogaert December 30, 2009 at 4:36 am - Reply

    I suppose Morty is quite aware of his beliefs and has taken a period of open mindedness.

    I think you overestimate the effect of identification with the creator, altough there is a shift in consciousness a part of me is still attached to the creation. A full identification with consciousness would mean i would “lose myself” and the feeling of seperateness with the surrounding world. It would mean i would feel one with everything surrounding me, i can imagine from that state the ability to manifest could be bigger.

  25. Thomas Lomax December 30, 2009 at 3:34 am - Reply


    You said, “I don’t think that you, as a creation, can consistently ‘create’ anything in reality, such as relationships or money.”

    Now, if the Law of Attraction, as commonly taught, was “Truth”, then, you would manifest “not consistently creating things” in accordance with your belief. Right?

    The issue is: what is the true nature of “reality”. From this one can then extrapolate “laws” (like gravity, which affects everyone equally, all the time). To the extent that we can grasp the true nature of “things”, we will then know if beliefs are the sole determinant of what we experience or if it is Angels ruling a Kabbalistic sphere that do.

  26. JOAO December 30, 2009 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Dear Morty, I have tried your system many times, I never got results i continue with my beliefs fears and blocks, what can you do for me?

Leave A Comment