“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws but for potential.”
~ Ellen Goodman
January 1, 2021.
Day 1. New year. New beginnings.
Maybe you wrote your New Year resolution. Maybe you didn’t.
Regardless of how you treated your goals this year, today I want to talk about the manifestation of reality.
The framework that I’m going to use is rather simple. That is the framework that I use to see my own life.
We will also use some fundamental presuppositions. Here is the first one:
You create your reality inside out.
Let’s look into it.
This is how reality creation starts.
At first, there is an internal movement of the spirit. The spirit drives the mind giving a primary vector— the change starts with an inner feeling, an intuition if you will, an impulse to move in a certain direction.
Next, the mind follows. It starts digging, searching for information, looking for experiences and confirmation, trying to find the answers to the questioning that arises within.
The mind tells the body where to go, what to do, and what words to say to other people to make things happen.
This process is straightforward, and nothing seems to jeopardize effective creation.
However, what happens to most of us, in reality, is that the hungry and tenacious mind consumes us — it grows continuously until it becomes so strong that the voice of the spirit is no longer heard.
The mind brings the vessel (the body) and the spirit it contains on the path of self-destruction and soul-desolating routine. This happens every time when the spirit and the mind are not in alignment.
So the first step in the effective creation of reality is rather obvious — it is to develop an ability to silence the mind.
There are those who believe that it is impossible for them to stop thinking, they believe in that “I think therefore I am” dogma proposed and popularized by René Descartes (little did he know that his saying will twist and mislead the minds of millions).
But then there are those who know the cessation of the thought is something that can be achieved and as a matter of fact, the reach of the thoughtless state is much closer that one would assume.
So here comes another fundamental presupposition that I want to throw at you.
You are not your thoughts.
I will explain briefly why I keep using the word “presupposition”.
Words are a physical manifestation of thoughts. Everything that is being said is a reflection of the processes that take place in the mind.
It becomes obvious that it is impossible to explain what a thoughtless state feels like by means of words — that are just the instruments of thought with all their consequential limitations.
The understanding of what a thoughtless state is can only come in the form of insight.
The very word “insight" points us at the nature of spiritual knowledge. In-sight — sight in. Insight is looking within, having an inner spiritual event, seeing it, and understanding it. It is an experiential confirmation.
So for now if it is too hard for you to accept that you are not your thinking mind, it’s totally fine.
Just except for a moment this powerful pointing. Everything that comes with the pronoun “my" — my thoughts, my body, my beliefs, my mind should come with the central “I" that makes these statements.
Who is that “I”?
I encourage you to look within and find the answer.
For now, if you feel that there is an internal resistance that arises to what you read here, I just ask you to leave it aside. I have no intention to impose my opinions on you. Let these words just be birds that come to visit your balcony. They will sit here for a while, and then they will fly away.
So returning to our second presupposition, we can clearly see that we can only be effective creators if we are in control of our minds. It is only when a mind serves us as an obedient tool that we can create the world that we want.
So what does it mean to be in control of your mind?
Well, here is the way I see it.
To be in control of your mind means to be in control of your attention.
Where attention goes energy flows.
Or put it in other words this famous saying, what you focus on in your life, multiplies.
And that is one of the biggest problems of today’s life.
We’ve ruined our ability to concentrate.
Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, any form of social media where we spend so much of our time is designed to train our brain for clip-thinking.
People are increasingly forgetting how to stay still and focused for prolonged periods of time.
This is the skill that Cal Newport called “deep work" and explores extensively in his book of the same name.
Deep work — activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit.
This is the second element of the effective creation of reality — developing an ability to deep work.
How can you develop deep work?
Well, that’s simple — you have to work deep. Here are some of the simplest and the most available methods of all:
- Reading books
The last one is one of the best things that you can do for your mind because technically it is direct training of attention. You choose your focal point, your breath for example, and your return to it every time your mind drifts away.
The ability to concentrate is not only the tool of creating life, you can call it life itself. You are life. Right here, right at this moment. But you can grasp it only if you can ground your full attention in this present moment.
Lastly, you can only be effective in creating your life when you know what is that you want to create.
Self-awareness is crucial. There is a simple exercise to get you started.
Take a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle to divide it in half. Name both halves —the first column: “things that are important to me”, the second column: “things that annoy me.”
Discharge the contents of your mind and fill up the columns. You will gain more clarity on what are the things you should be focusing more on, and what kind of things you should deprive of the energy of your attention.
This is the third puzzle piece. It could be Pythagoras who was the first to put it succinctly:
Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God.
Starting with yourself will always be a good first step to life mastery.
So let’s summarize.
To be effective in reality creation, you should:
- Understand that you are not your mind and accept the fact that you are creating the reality inside out.
- Your ability to channel your attention is the most important skill that you can learn in this life. Practice deep work to develop your ability to focus.
- Self-management starts with self-awareness. You can create a good life only when you have a profound understanding of what exactly a good life means to you.
New Year. 365 new opportunities (we say this every year, don’t we?) Regardless of how trivial it sounds, it could be a productive way of looking at things but in reality, the only time is now.
The key to everything that you want to become, everything that you want to accomplish, is confined within this very moment.
I am writing right now because I want to be a better writer.
I want to be a better writer because I want to be a better thinker.
And if that is the ambition we both share, let’s promise to ourselves that we will be the force of change in our lives.
We do not control everything in our life, but those that we can we will.
Today, let’s walk through the rooms of our lives. Not just looking for flaws but for potential.