Reality Confusion to Dream a New You

Sometimes I confuse my dreams with the remembered events from which my dreams derived their emotional elements. Due to confusion in attribution, I sometimes believe I am remembering real events when those memories are actually my remembrances of dreams instead.

For example, an event of the day results in me feeling overpowered by my boss. That night, I dream I am being chased by a bear. Upon awakening in the morning, I imagine my partner is acting abusively toward me. In this case, the attribution of the emotion of powerlessness travels from boss to dream bear to partner.

Out of Attribution Confusion

Knowing that memories are fallible and subject to errors in attribution, I reconfirm that I can manipulate memories – through dreams molded to help support how I want to feel today. Maybe you can change the details of your memories to support a new you.

What if you chose to restructure your dreams from a perspective of gratitude rather than victim-hood?

“How do I do that?” you might reasonably ask. I can control a dream using lucid dreaming in which I realize I’m dreaming while I’m dreaming. This is a very powerful imagery because it includes full sensory engagement – a real experience. That’s one way to manipulate emotionally charged memories.

Comes a New You

Another method is to perform a simple bedtime exercise. As you find yourself drifting off to sleep…

  1. Recall a negative emotion-charged memory of an experience you had that day. Just let it flash across the stage of your soon-to-be dreaming mind.
  2. Resist the temptation to ruminate over the memory and how you feel about it. This is NOT about fixing a problem – it’s about confusing attribution.
  3. Then, immediately after recalling the negative event, recall a memory of ANY TIME in your life that supports how you’d rather feel. It’s important that the last memory you entertain before slipping off to sleep is one where you feel strong, capable, happy, and grateful.
  4. Then, let the dreams come.

The idea is to set gratitude as the last emotion just before dropping off to sleep. The dream-attribution mechanism  then presents stories from a baseline perspective of gratitude. That may affect your dream stories and memories of the day. It could also change your overall perspective.

You may not recall your dreams the next morning – that’s okay. The confusion just as you fell asleep may be just enough to confound your dream-attribution mechanism. You may view your emotionally-charged memory of the previous day in a new way. Perhaps you’ll solve a problem associated with that memory or suddenly experience a flash of inspiration concerning it. Who knows?

Practicing this simple exercise just before sleep might just create a new you.

Playing the Trust Wild Card

What if you were to change your previous cause and effect relationships to experience what happens next in the direction of trust? Interested in exploring this trust wild card?

This level of trust requires a merging of all your need to prove rightness about reality – to consider instead embracing an alternative reality that supports humility, openness, and authenticity. There’s nothing to lose because you never had anything to gain from being right. All you really have is your perceptions to fear – ghosts.

What about Ego?

I acknowledge I have an ego. That’s the aspect of mind that tells me what to do and how to do it. Behind every ego order, there’s an army of defenses armed and ready to give me a sense of authority. The seat of rightness can get pretty demanding when I abdicate my true self-authority.

Many of my life’s intentions have been left to ego, whose job it is to protect me from harm. So far, I think it’s done a pretty good job – at the expense of losing connection with others, not to mention losing touch with my genuine Self.

Considering the infrequency of my Self-awareness that’s capable of challenging ego, I must admit it may well be that I’ve simply believed the propaganda.

To explore beyond ego, one would have to release defenses of any kind. When you don’t have to be right, you won’t set yourself up to be wrong either.

Playing the Trust Wild Card

When you find that fear has left you, your choices increase exponentially and your opportunities for understanding match those choices.

Playing the trust wild card simply comes down to acceptance of Self as authority over ego, which is used to being in charge, a position it’s not keen to relinquish. Self-awareness may take Self-trust in the face of ego-imagined fears. With practice and patience, I can tame the wild beast.

Questioning My Mantras

or What’s in a Can’t Chant?

What are mantras? How do they work? Why would I want to do mantras? Who benefits from them?

A mantra is a statement or slogan repeated frequently – like a buzzword, catchphrase, or slogan – usually intended for personal change. Behind every mantra hides a reason for its use – a secret “why” that, when explored can reveal something useful about the one employing it.

Until recently, I had this thought that mantras must be carefully constructed, that they pertain only to positive change, and that they are always “good.” Then, I looked at the structure of mantras and realized they are simply self-talk. I often accompany self-talk with body sensations and movements – like sighs, eye casts, muscle activity, and etc.

Can’t Chants in Self-Talk

Until I recognized what I was doing to myself, I continued a program of belief-supportive self-talk – “Can’t Chants.” These mantras sound a lot like this:

  • I can’t even think about eating that – I’ll gain 10 pounds! (…so shame on me for even thinking!)
  • Sigh, I can’t do anything right. (…so I can’t have what I want.)
  • You know I can’t do math. (…so I can’t go to school, get the job, and whatever else I want.)
  • There’s always more month than money. (…so can’t support myself.)
  • See! I was right! (…and so can’t consider alternatives.)

You may have some more – great! Add them to the list. Maybe you, too, have codified these into “Can’t Chants” that have the format, I can’t:

  • Be (what I want to be)
  • Do (what I want to do)
  • Have (what I want to have)

Let’s challenge these cause-effect mantras with questions intended to stir the brain to work with us – to act.

Question Beliefs!

Unquestioned beliefs tend to continue as is (Newton’s First Law of Motion). When you notice something you want to change in your life, that something is a belief that is ripe for change.

Let’s investigate our beliefs with a series of HOW questions that challenge the doing part of our cause-effect relationship mantras. Simply ask the question and allow your body to do the answering – sensation and intensity.

  1. In what ways is my perception wrong about this?
  2. How does this provide feedback for my mind and heart?
  3. In what ways does this mantra serve me?
  4. How might I perceive myself differently?

When your old cause-effect relationship “can’t chants” change turn into consciously directed mantras, you’ll begin to feel like you’re sliding down hill instead of working to fight your way up.

After challenging our first example chant above (I can’t even think about eating that – I’ll gain 10 pounds!”), eating well and exercising may begin to feel more like they come NATURALLY and EASILY – as though on automatic. You may find that the foods that used to pack on the pounds take on a foul taste. You might experience a drop in appetite. Maybe the exercises you were doing become more enjoyable or somebody shows up in your life to make that exercise more motivational.

Remember – what, how, and why you speak to yourself as you do affects EVERYTHING because it affects WHO you are. With some conscious attention, you CAN choose your mantras.

“Everything is as it is because I believe it that way.”

Mantras that Can Change Everything

How do my beliefs affect others? What happens when I change a belief?

Beliefs set up cause-effect relationships that I defend. For example, I might perceive myself as poor because I don’t make enough money to comfortably pay my debts. I’m perceiving a do->be cause->effect relationship between not making enough money [do/cause] and being poor [be/effect]. I codify this into a self-talk mantra, “I can’t make enough because I’m poor…”

I may have defended and fortified this relationship with substantial amounts of evidence. Yet, all that evidence and its interpretations are based on the same premise – the SAME underlying BELIEF. I have codified this into an even shorter, yet convincing mantra – a self-judgment – “I’m poor.”

It’s as though my belief has its own life and my experiences are its evidence. From anyone’s perspective, what I believe is the way things are – in my perception.

Beliefs cause perceptual effects that confirm those beliefs. Do you see the logical cause-effect loop in this formula? I like this formula so well, I’ve incorporated it into a bias – confirmation bias that affects everything I perceive:

“…the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.” (Plous, Scott (1993). The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making. p. 233)

Change your cause-effect relationships and you change your belief – oh, and did I mention that you change the world as a result?

Cause-Effect Relationships

Let’s improve the probability of a NEW BELIEF by assigning it new cause-effect relationships. It’s your human nature to create cause-effect relationships at will. The example above illustrates this ability.

It occurs to me that one must release their hold on what is right, justified, and proper, to make a belief change. That means starting the process inside the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble – becoming aware of and then challenging my beliefs.

Below are some simple mantras you can practice that may start the process of breaking up old cause-effect relationships and open doors to taking charge of them. You do mantras all the time (mostly negative) that you’ve grown so accustomed to that you maybe take them for granted. Remember confirmation bias? Now, as we exercise AWARENESS, things can get interesting.

Four Simple Mantras to Change Everything:

  1. “I could be wrong about this.” Say it as many times as you can every day. So long as you believe you are right, you will continue to justify your past behavior and strengthen those old cause-effect relationships into the future.
  2. “Everything I perceive is feedback for ME.” Remember, this mantra is about your perception.
  3. “I now have exactly what I most want.” This fortifies your accountability for creating your life.
  4. “Everything is as it is because I believe it’s that way.” This mantra acknowledges the source of accountability in your universe – you!

The matrix I call my life is an interesting thing due to how beliefs affect the universe – when a belief changes, everything changes, including supportive evidence like memories, societal expectations and norms, and perceptions. For that reason, once a belief has truly changed, it may go unnoticed – as though the new way of being has always been the only way of being. Any evidence to the contrary will simply be ignored or re-spun to fit the new belief – just as I do now with the beliefs I currently defend.

I’ve not left my perceptual bubble. I’ve simply taken a step toward fully accepting accountability for it.

Belief, Manifestation, and Appropriate Action

Manifestation is about making things happen. Maybe you made some new year resolutions – expressing ways in which you would like to see your life change for the better. Maybe this will be the year you quit smoking, or get that raise, or lose that weight. Whatever it is, your first action is to NAME the change you want to make. You have done this part so often that you maybe now take it for granted.

You are already taking action on what it is you really want – it’s automatic – you do it unconsciously. Based on your beliefs, you take action that is appropriate with what you accept as true – your beliefs. You don’t even have to think about or plan anything – you do it automatically.

For example, when you believe you are inadequate, you set up scenarios in which you confirm that belief – not enough money, not enough willpower, not enough whatever…

About Manifestation

Why, then, do you not get what you want? The truth is – you mostly DO get what you want (or at least are satisfied with). You just don’t recognize it – because you are so used to getting what you want from life.

If you continue to act (behaving) as you have acted in the past – based on what you believed to be true in the past – you will tend to continue to get what you have gotten in the past. You’ll continue to take the appropriate action to achieve whatever it is that you have gotten in the past. You do those actions so well by now that you are unconscious of them. You’re a master at doing whatever it is that you do to achieve what you are currently experiencing.

The reason you don’t have what you think you want is because you don’t realize that you already have exactly what it is you want. Things and events appear to happen as they do; you and others appear to act as they do because you believe a certain way. It appears that they, not you, are in charge of their lives, getting what they want, and etc. That appearance is simply feedback to you about YOUR BELIEFS.