Keeping it Real?


mannequin-head         Photo: Mannequin Head by Peter Griffin 

Our connection to the outside world is governed by our senses. The human brain can process as much as 400 billion bits of information a second, but we are consciously aware of only about 2,000 bits a second. This means we filter out most of our ‘reality’.

The data we’re left with, is what our brain considers to be important. The information it thinks we need to thrive and survive. But our brain takes shortcuts based on generalisations. What was once important to us stays there unless new connections render the old ones obsolete.

Over time, we establish thought patterns and beliefs that determine how we expect ‘reality’ to behave. Anything confirming that view is allowed through, but conflicting information is generally disregarded. Constant conditioning.

But we don’t have to keep the same modes of thinking. It’s possible to consciously reset some of our filters.

For instance, if you tend to look on the negative side of things, you can make a deliberate practice of not worrying about things beyond your control. Stuff happens! Your challenge is to make your situation better, whatever your starting point.

Try and look for solutions rather than being stuck with your problems. Find a few things to be grateful for each day. Sometimes this can be tough, but if you’re reading this post, you’re probably more affluent than most people in the world.

For a few minutes, you can ‘live in the now’, focusing on your senses and nothing else. It can give you a chance to choose a better version of your own reality. Why not give it a try?

Law of Attraction or Law of Perception?

magnet-illustration Magnet Illustration by K Whiteford

You may have changed your car and noticed soon afterwards that you see a lot more of the same vehicle on the roads. It’s nice to be a trendsetter! But deep down, we know something else is happening. It’s actually that we’re noticing the cars that look like ours a lot more, rather than an actual increase. This is known as observational selection bias.

Now, what if the Law of Attraction was us actually noticing the things that we focus on, rather than attracting the things we focus on?

Instead of the Universe having rearranged itself to do our bidding, what if our changed perception can now see opportunities that were not clear to us before, despite always being present?

If we cultivate the sort of positive outlook that finds us ready to take advantage of our circumstances, do we really need to wait for the Cosmos to align in our favour?

There does seem to be an implicit question of faith with the LOA. If you’re not getting the results that the gurus get, do you believe strongly enough? Are you being positive enough? Maybe their latest book or audio program will help to boost your belief. These products can give you a short-term positivity boost, but in my experience, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I know, because I’ve bought many of them myself.

It’s neither possible nor desirable to think positively all the time. Imagine being chased by a wild animal and not bothering to run, because you believe ‘It will all work out fine, in the end.’ I still think that we each hold the key to our own destiny, but I now accept that Life will always have uncertainties. Maybe that’s why we signed up in the first place.

Whatever our life circumstances, we can still choose how we view them and how we react to them. That is about us changing how we see ourselves, and our world.

A Quantum of Physics


Photo: Space by Silviu Firulete


I don’t know about you, but Quantum Physics (or Quantum Mechanics) has a strange fascination for me. They say that particles can be in more than one place at a time. If something isn’t being observed, it can exist simultaneously in multiple locations. Does that mean, if I take my car into the garage and leave; quantum mechanics everywhere are waiting to observe it? And how much extra will that cost me? 🙂

There are multiple universes/realities where, literally, all sorts of possibilities are taking place. Also, you can’t observe something without changing it, basically to what you expect will happen. There’s no such thing as a passive observer! And Time isn’t linear, it’s horizontal. In effect, everything is happening NOW. That means you’re reading this at the same time I’m writing it! Oh, and thanks for all the ‘Likes’ and positive comments about this article. Now I’m pushing it! 😉

They say that everything exists in potential. When it is focused upon enough by an observer, it will form into matter. You are the observer, so everything you want already exists. You decide by your focus which of the potentials get to make it to your “reality”. So maybe the Law of Attraction should actually be called the Law of Filtration! Everything is there for us, but we filter into being, that which we expect to see – based on our own conditioning.

Reality is all about our own perception.

For instance, you’re not what you eat. You are what you feel about what you eat. You can’t be healthy if you don’t feel healthy on the inside – whatever your lifestyle.

So the message is, “Go Within”. The way to change our external circumstances is through internal transformation. Change the way we think and feel about ourselves, on a daily basis. We have to grow to become the thing we wish to receive. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

In case you’d like a better explanation about Quantum Physics from someone who’s an expert – try any of the ‘Dr Quantum’ books by Dr Fred Alan Wolf. The combination of his knowledge as a physicist, his spiritual insights and quirky sense of humour, make his books a must-read.

Placebo or Nocebo?


Photo: Medical Pills by Vera Kratochvil

Placebo (Latin: “I will please”) Nocebo (Latin: “I will harm”)

Most people are familiar with the “Placebo Effect”, positive health benefits brought about purely by a person’s belief in the healing effects of their medication. A placebo, or “sugar pill” contains only an inert substance that has no independent healing properties.

It is purely the person’s belief in the medication, often coupled with the reassurance of a trusted medical professional, that kick-starts the healing process.

The effects of this process are so significant that it is commonly factored into the testing of new drugs, before they are released onto the market.

Less well known is the “Nocebo Effect”, where people receiving a placebo report negative effects – worsening of their symptoms. This is not through any chemical side effects, but purely through their belief that the tablet will not be effective in treating their condition.

The evidence shows that the key to our physical wellbeing lies with our mental attitude, brought about by our thoughts and feelings. If we don’t direct our thoughts, they may drift between positive and negative, or be predominantly one or the other.

We can choose our thoughts by practice and repetition. No matter what our current circumstances, the answer lies within us.

Which effect do you choose to nurture: placebo or nocebo?

Piece of the Action or Peace of Mind


Photo: Safe Harbour by Tamara Ward

Zig Ziglar: ”If standard of living is your major objective, quality of life almost never improves, but if quality of life is your number one objective, your standard of living almost always improves.”

What is it that you focus on the most? If you’re not happy with your current circumstances, it makes sense to set goals to improve them. You have to start from where you are, but where should your emphasis go?

It’s tempting to focus on the money. Many of us have done it at one time or another. I know I have. “If only I had more money…” “When I get more money…” “If I had the money that they have…”

But really, is the money an end result, or just a means to an end? We need money to live in a material world, no question. But basically we want peace of mind. Happiness. Maybe having a big house and new car will give you lasting happiness, and maybe it won’t. But doesn’t it make sense to go directly for the end result?

If you want happiness, cut out the middleman and go for it. Focus on it now, plan for it and take some small action towards it. What really inspires you? What would you do if the money was already taken care of? If you can’t find the time and effort to practice being happy now, how will you do it when you’ve got all the “things”, and you’re still chasing happiness?

Don’t forget to appreciate the good things you already have. It’s sometimes easy to forget, when you get caught up thinking about the future. It may be a cliché, but there are so many things that happiness can’t buy. If your focus is happiness, you’re unlikely to have many of the hang-ups about money that stop you getting it in the first place.

Relax and enjoy the good things in your life now. Then get started on being really happy.