Words create reality. My reality, your reality, and our collective reality might be three completely different things. Reality is subjectively formed; it is affected by our choices, our life’s journey, and the experiences we’ve had. For example, two sisters were abused in their childhood. The first grew bitter and angry while the second chose to empower others by forming an organization to support abused women. When asked why they are the way they are, they both replied, “How can I not be?”
Our mental process—the way we word our reality—is one of the determining factors in the type of life we choose to lead. I use the word “choose” because, in my reality, life is a result of choice and subjective meaning. That is one of the reasons almost every spiritual tradition incorporates one form or another of concentration, meditation, and contemplation. These approaches bring awareness to our thoughts and their resulting actions.
In the study of Spiritism, we understand we are here as an embodied expression of spirit. Within this body of knowledge, we also understand that we came here to fulfill a particular mission or learn a very specific lesson. When we chose this life, we chose many of the challenges it entails—we chose our family, our friends, our vocation, and so much more. However, life isn’t fully predetermined; it responds to our reactions and choices along the way. As a safety net, we ensure that we meet the right people, receive the right teachings, and live the intended situations that can ensure we remain on the path to learn that which we came here to learn.
If we subscribe to this point of view, we accept both destiny and free will. But what this implies is that anything and everything we experience is happening for a reason and is a part of our divine mission here on this earth and in this very specific body. Seeing our life in this way allows us to come to a place of acceptance; of allowing our life to unfold as it does.
However, since life isn’t predetermined and we are the architects of our future, we are continually choosing and shaping our lives. Words create reality and thoughts shape our state of being. And so, if my reaction to any given situation is somewhat under my control, I should probably focus on positive thinking and word my reality in a favorable way, right? Well, yes and no. The main problem with positive thinking is that you need to think about it to make it happen, and thinking requires attention and energy. Some of our mental processes are quite deep and follow strong patterns and analyzing them takes a good deal of effort. The second problem with positive thinking is that thinking is just one layer of the human experience. If I feel challenged, sad, depressed, or angry, it is quite difficult to sift through the myriad of reasons and circumstances contributing to my state of being and simply respond with positive thoughts.
If I hurt my knee and focus on positive thoughts such as, “It’s not painful, I am healed, my knee is healthy, etc.,” I might be bypassing the actual need to take action and appropriately react to the situation. If I was betrayed or taken advantage of, simply telling myself that I haven’t been or that I am strong and empowered is not going to truly affect my inner core and address the depth of my wounding.
In recent years, the line between science and metaphysics is thinning. There is more and more research being conducted into the emotional and thought-form effect of words on matter and our overall health. Many teachers of spirituality and healing focus on affirmations. These are declarations of empowerment that are stated in the present with the intention of altering our path and bringing about a brighter future. Though the power of affirmations is great, let’s observe the process of mental healing in a more integrative approach. There is a beautiful saying in the Jewish Talmud reminding us not to “shorten our winters.”
In other words, let’s not escape our challenging emotions and shirk their impact on our overall condition. If I feel angry, let me allow this anger its time and place. In doing so, I am letting this season fully play out. If I try to think positively and avoid the pain, I will eventually repress it and allow it to transform into some kind of illness because I will have forced myself to hold it within my body.
However, if all I do is remain focused on this pain, it will fester and grow. So, how do I find the balance—how do I embrace both my darkness and light?
The first condition to unconditional self-love is having no conditions. I must acknowledge that I am perfectly imperfect and have within me the full range of emotions, reactions, and thoughts. There are seasons of winter or fall where I’m angry, sad, or depressed, and others of spring or summer where I am enthusiastic, in love, and inspired. The important thing to remember is that all seasons are welcomed here because they are but a wholistic component to who I am. I allow my inner dialogue and emotional process to take its place. I witness, I express my truth, and I stand in my weakness. Once I stand in this truth and allow the emotions to resolve, I can train my mind to affirm a reality of choice and empowerment.
This is not an escape but an invitation; it’s a welcoming approach to a life of awareness and choice.
The final piece is shifting from a “how-to” approach to a “why-to” inquiry. We’ve all seen The Secret and read about vision boards and the law of attraction. However, the reason it seems to have mixed results is because we forget that the primary cause for not having those envisioned things is because we charted our own life and planned not to have them.
So, imagine for a moment that there is an office somewhere in the sky where your guardian angel is drinking their coffee and reading your progress-reports. One day, they receive a very detailed letter (or a vision board) with new requests and desires that you’ve asked them to fulfill. They want to help you but are confronted with a pre-existing document you yourself have crafted that accurately states what you should have and when and where you will have it. Because of this, they’ll respond with, “I can’t fulfill your request because there’s a pre-existing condition you have requested for me to follow.”
What you are asking for is not a new car, a new house, or a new relationship—you are asking for an alteration in your Divine Plan. In other words, you’re requesting Divine Intervention because you’re appealing your current situation and asking for something new. For this appeal to be heard and received, you don’t need exact details of what you’d look like sitting in your new car, or the number of kids you want to have. What you need is a really strong and empowered “why”. If your “why” is, “Because I want a cool car,” or, “I’m feeling alone,” that isn’t a strong enough argument to have your guardian angel shift your plan. However, if your “why” is stated around, “I wish to give more, help others, allow the healing of planet Earth to take its place, etc.,” there is a much better chance your request will not go unanswered.
As such, the integrative approach to manifesting change and positively altering our lives is first rooted in remembering we are playing a part of a greater whole. We are all each other’s medicine and our healing impacts life around us. As St. Francis said, “My misery is selfish and prevents the healing of the collective.” Ask with a deep knowing of your “whys”, meditate on those whys, and accept your current situation with nothing but gratitude. Hold an attitude of always looking for meaning behind your challenges and their implied existence in your life at this moment.
Live your life in such acceptance that positive thinking will be a symptom of overflow and not the practice of a beggar. Affirm your reality as a statement of joy and not as the cry of an empty heart. Find your “why” and your “how”, “when”, and “where” will be nothing but the song of your inspired soul.