The Power of Stories
“I believe therefore I am”
Great ! So what do you believe in and what creates and reinforces these beliefs in the first place?
Belief creates Perception creates Reality.
If your beliefs don’t support a certain perception of reality then you can’t ‘see’ it and hence can’t create it. For instance, Joe Dispenza in his brilliant book ‘Evolve your Brain’ cites an experiment that was done with a litter of kittens. One half of the litter was placed in a room with only horizontal lines, the other half in a room with only vertical lines. After a period of time they were re-united in a room with a table and chairs in it.
The kittens that had been raised in the room with only vertical lines kept walking off the tabletop and plummeting to the ground because they couldn’t see the horizontal surface. They believed the world was flat hence couldn’t perceive depth. Whilst the other kittens kept walking into the chair legs because they couldn’t see the vertical forms.
So what do you believe that shapes your perception and hence creates your reality and holds you in a certain fixed view point?
Let’s look at it from an existential perspective so back to the Past/Present/Future model:
Reality lives in the present moment. Once you get past the question of whether or not you actually believe you are real – that is, not some dreamlike construct a la ‘The Matrix’ movie – then in the present something either is or isn’t – debate can be resolved by physical and intellectual verification. Are you reading this right now? Yes or no – not maybe.
The past however is just an intellectual construct – one that spills over in to the present moment because of the way the brain works in constantly searching backwards for previous experiences that match, or are similar to, what it’s experiencing now. So – yes – right now your supercomputer of a brain is trying to relate what you are reading to any past experience that may be relevant.
As I have discussed in previous writings – most of us are going around the Past/Present loop about 90 – 95% of the time. So the momentum from the past is constantly being re-created in the present moment.
And what is it that ‘spills over’ ? – beliefs supported by stories that create perception and hence create reality. More specifically – stories about who you are, how you believe the world works, including whether or not the world is antagonistic or supportive towards you and what you believe you deserve from life.
These key stories sit under the Past circle and start being created from the moment you come into existence. Even as babies we are told who we are by our parents and others we come into contact with. As we grow our parents pass onto us significant beliefs about the world and whether or not we should be wary of it or embraced by it. Out of all this we accumulate a fixed perception of the world and start calculating what it is that we believe we deserve from life – maybe that should be ‘how much we should EXPECT from life’.
These key stories, because they live in the past, are evidence based. If you take a moment now to consider the question of ‘What you deserve from life’ and then ask why you believe this, you will find a raft of factual evidence to support this. For instance, if you believe that you deserve to have a high income job, nice house and car etc, some of the evidence may include; ‘Because I worked hard at University and have a Masters Degree in Engineering’.
The thing about stories though is that as well as telling ourselves good stories, we also tell bad stories.
And it’s when this happens that the evidence based momentum from the past starts to undermine our ability to create what we want and in fact traps us in a certain way of perceiving and hence creating the world. For instance, if our past has led us to believe that life is a struggle and that we never really get what we want - then we will create that. Every time something doesn’t turn out the way we want we may hear the voices of our parents reminding us of that fact. Our super computer brains will also flash before our eyes all of the previous experiences that we’ve had were the same thing happens – in other words EVIDENCE to PROVE that the story is CORRECT.
But it’s just a story isn’t it?
And the past is simply an intellectual construct isn’t it?
The only true reality is right here right now and in every moment we have the opportunity to create the future the way we want it to be.
The problem is those pesky limiting beliefs based on old stories that keep us walking straight off the end of the table top and crashing to the floor like those little kittens.
So, if you’ve got a negative momentum of story power zapping your current reality how do you get out of it?
Consider that Past/Present/Future model again.
The Past stuff is all about EVIDENCE and factually reasoning. If we want to change our direction then we need to plant new seeds in the future and as I have written before – shift our balance from 90% in the Past/Present loop and 10% in the Future/Present loop – to 30% Future/Present and 70% Past/Present.
So, about 1/3 of the time actively creating what we want and about 2/3 of the time ‘putting the new stuff to bed’ and getting it into our habitual way of doing things.
The problem is that there is no EVIDENCE for future based stories…
Our reason – and the reason based arguments of our closest friends and family (yes those people who wish us to remain EXACTLY how we are right now and continue to perpetuate the negative cycle of reality that causes us so much internal angst…) will shoot down those future based stories EVERY time on the basis of lack of EVIDENCE…
Which brings us back to Self Mastery – the ability to create what we wish for in the world. If there is no evidence to support future based stories about who we are, how the world works and what we believe we deserve from life – then what must we use to counteract reason?
If the momentum of the past is based on reason, then the ability to ‘hold space’ around a particular future reality is based on will.
In this sense it becomes purely creative. To spin around and around in the Past/Present loop is by definition a re-active loop. We can do continuous improvement but we can’t be truly creative.
Changing the future. Changing ourselves. Changing the world is all about asking ‘What do we want it to look like and feel like?’ and then actively holding space around that possible reality using the power of our will DESPITE the fact that there is no EVIDENCE.
Our actions and our being then need to be completely aligned to this as I have referred to in ‘Walking between the Worlds’.
So – what stories are you continually telling yourself about who you are, how the world works and what you deserve from life?
And – are they supportive of who you wish to be and how you wish the world to be?
Researchers suggest that we have about 50-60,000 thoughts per day. Imagine if 90% of these thoughts are simply locking things in place just how they are now?
Self Mastery is about deconstructing this pattern.
Once you have done some visioning work and have a clear idea about what you want for the future the next thing is to become aware of the stories.
Get a journal and label it your ‘Self Mastery Journal’. Now as you go through your daily life become aware of your stories. Importantly, become aware of the stories you tell yourself as you come to critical moments in your day – maybe before you go into a meeting, go on a date, begin performing etc.
Write these stories down. Then when you have some quiet time take a moment to look at the stories you have written. Are they supportive or not? If not – re-write them and read them out loud to yourself.
Make a commitment to yourself that you will be supportive. Forgive yourself for any negative chatter you may have and get good at ACKNOWLEDGING and RE-DIRECTING.
In other words – if you find yourself about to experience an important event in your day and suddenly a little voice inside your head begins preparing you for failure by saying things like ‘Don’t get too nervous about it – it’s not that important anyway because you never get what you want so don’t even bother trying’.
DON’T get angry with yourself. Instead simply acknowledge – ‘Hah there’s that old negative story again, that’s interesting it’s coming up now’ – and re-direct by asking ‘What do I REALLY want to think and believe about this?’
By practicing this skill and getting good at becoming aware of and re-writing our stories we slowly but surely shift our ‘being’ from passive re-activeness based on the way things have ALWAYS been to active creativeness based on our deepest and heartfelt desires for the way we wish things to be.
For a good example of how this works try Googleing Will Smith’s 2007 interview with Tavis Smiley where he explains that 2 + 2 doesn’t necessarily equal 4 – it equals what he wants it to be.