“The world reflects back to you what you deeply believe.” I wasn’t sure of the source of this quote, but it recently prompted me to wonder. Could the negative belief that my three novels of the ancient Maya are not being widely read is actually creating that reality? Some research explained that subconscious beliefs shape the world of our experience. (1) We get what we believe to be true. The above composite (created many years ago; someone I didn’t know) was titled “No matter where you go, there you are.” Apropos, I think.
In childhood, we develop generalizations about who we are and how the world works based on our observations and experiences with family, friends, teachers and others. Gradually, the subconscious mind absorbs information, stories and experiences and they shape our identity, personality and worldview. The subconscious doesn’t discriminate between good and bad, right or wrong, healthy or not. It stores everything continuously and creates an internal reservoir that holds our beliefs. And we measure everything against them, accepting new information, ideas and experiences that are familiar and rejecting those that are unfamiliar or in conflict. Psychologists and others refer to the overall reservoir of acquired perspectives, values, beliefs and memories as the “conditioned self.” In contrast, the “authentic,” unconditioned self is a property of the soul. That’s why it’s a more dependable guide than the ego-driven mind.
Another finding was that whatever the situation, most people would rather be right than happy. A study by a team of researchers at the University of Auckland (2) concluded: “We saw that ‘right versus happy’ was not so much about getting crowned the winner or loser, a genius or fool; it was more about flawed thinking and a desire to want to feel like we’re in control. Our null hypothesis was that it is better to be right than happy.”
Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
The research also illuminated our powerful need for consistency between what we believe to be true and what is actually true. We’ll even arrange to be right by rationalizing, lying, cheating or creating situations that confirm our belief. What agrees with us is right; what doesn’t is wrong. And that has considerable consequences. Dan Mager (3) of Psychology Today writes, “For someone who is emotionally attached to the need to be right, all divergent perspectives, ideas, suggestions, and actions must be ‘wrong.’ The need to be right convinces him or her of the correctness of his or her approach, while attachment to this end serves to justify the means used to facilitate it. When this dynamic is acted out, it creates suffering for those caught in its wake.” Keeping an open mind takes tremendous courage, because it requires putting a temporary “hold” on what we think is right.
Another consequence of negative beliefs—about oneself, others, career, relationships, ideas, policies—is how they block manifestation, for instance my desire to sell more books. When we focus on what we don’t want—for instance “I don’t want John Doe to win the election”—the subconscious doesn’t see or hear the words. Instead, the mind and the energy of the universe responds to the images and feelings we hold, in particular what’s in the heart, because at that level like produces like. Negative thoughts, images and feelings drive toward and eventually evoke negative outcomes. The solution then, is to focus on what we do want and solidify it with reinforcing positive images and emotions.
Since whatever you deeply believe comes true in your life, you could make a conscious choice to believe whatever would create a happier, more peaceful life… You do not have to believe what appeared true based on past experience or continue to believe just because you gave your allegiance to it before.
Not enough time has passed for me to notice if my transformed belief will allow my books (4) to be more widely read, but whether or not that happens, the possibility allows me to rest with less attachment to the outcome. And that’s both freeing and hopeful.
1. Breines, J. (2015) 3 Ways Your Beliefs Can Shape Your Reality, Psychology Today, August 30, 2015.
2. Arroll, B, Goodyear-Smith, F., Moyes, Simon A., Kenealy, T. Being Right Or Being Happy: Pilot Study, BMJ; Research Gate, December, 2013.
3. Mager, D. Would You Rather Be Right or Would You Rather Be Happy? Psychology Today, July 24, 2014.
4. Smith, D.L. A trilogy: The Path of The Jaguar (One soul in three incarnations)
Jaguar Rising: A Novel of the Preclassic Maya
Jaguar Wind and Waves: A Novel of the Early Classic Maya
Jaguar Sun: The Journey of an Ancient Maya Storyteller
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