"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” — Ernest Holmes
In Alchemy, the mind is understood to be the bridge between our awareness and the external material world we perceive and experience. To the alchemist, the experience of reality is understood to be a projection of the mind and therefore, by changing the mind, a person can change their reality.
Despite the appearance of an objective “real world” that is external to you, everything that you perceive is actually a mental construct that is created in your mind. Sensory data is gathered by your sense organs and translated into electrochemical information. Your brain then uses that electrochemical information, informed by your thoughts, memories, preferences, and knowledge, to construct a mental projection of reality that is subjective.
You will only ever live in and experience this subjective reality created by your mind. For example, you are reading this on a phone or computer screen that you perceive as completely solid, however, we know that seemingly solid objects are actually 99.99999% empty space and that therefore this perception of solidity is an illusion. We know further that we only see and hear narrow bands of the light and sound spectrum and that the vast majority of the light and sound spectrum is beyond our perception. What we perceive as the entirety of the objectively “real” world, is actually a projection of our mind layered onto what is actually there.
We each assign subjective meaning to everything that we experience based on our preferences, which are based on our beliefs. We automatically categorize actions, events, and experiences as good/positive or bad/negative based on our thinking and our preferences. Two different people can experience the exact same event and have completely different subjective experiences depending on their perspective, which is the result of their beliefs.
Your experience of reality is controlled by your reticular activating system. The reticular activating system is a network of several areas of the brain and tells the brain what to pay attention to and bring into your conscious awareness. You are consciously aware of only a small amount of the available sensory data that your brain has access to (around 3%). Based on the priorities your thoughts and beliefs have given your reticular activating system, your brain will construct your experienced reality differently, you will focus on different things and you will perceive different subjective realities. Our thoughts and beliefs are therefore critically important to the reality we experience. Do you want to live in a world of opportunity and unlimited possibilities or a world of problems and suffering? The choice is literally yours.
In order to begin becoming the architect of our experience and conscious creator of our reality, the first step is to bring awareness to our internal reality and the beliefs and thought patterns that are structuring our present experience. Only by understanding how our beliefs and thoughts are creating our experience and by critically evaluating our beliefs and thought patterns can we begin to shift our reality.
Consider how differently you would behave based on the belief that the world is an abundant place, with plenty for all vs. the belief that the world is a scarce place where there isn't enough to go around. There are objective facts that can support either perspective, but neither belief is objectively true. No belief is objectively true. Every belief is at best a perspective on truth. The question then becomes what do you want your experience of life to be and what beliefs about yourself, others and the world generally are in alignment with that desired experience.
Your current experience of reality is the result of your perspectives. Your perspectives are the result of the beliefs, assumptions and the stories that you believe to be true about yourself, about other people and about the world, many of which you did not consciously choose. Beliefs, assumptions, and stories from parents, friends, teachers, marketing agencies, news media, and even your imagination are unconsciously affecting your perceptions and subjective reality and dictating the course of your life. In order to become the conscious creator of your reality, all of your assumptions and beliefs and stories must be brought into the light of your conscious awareness, critically evaluated and consciously adjusted or replaced, as necessary.
How do we actually achieve all this though? Awareness. You must become aware of each thought you think, each emotion you feel and each judgment you make. You can then go about the process of critically evaluating and shifting your beliefs, assumptions, and stories to bring them into alignment with the reality you want to experience.
Changing your thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions will not only shift your subjective reality, but your shifted subjective experience will also lead to you think and act differently and will, therefore, have an impact on intersubjective reality (i.e. the co-created shared reality between you and other people). The shifts you make will therefore not be just in your mind... change begins in your mind, but your life will then also take a different path. If you find, for example, that you have a belief based on some childhood experience that strangers are dangerous you may notice that you are reluctant to approach new people or get nervous in situations where you are around strangers. If you then decide that a belief that people are strangers are just friends you haven't met yet is more in alignment with the world you want to live in, by shifting that fundamental belief you will act very differently towards new people you meet, which will take your life in a new direction.
The world is a mirror that reflects your thoughts and beliefs back to you.
The first basic step is to recognize how your thoughts and beliefs shape your perceptions and how your perceptions then shape your reality. The second step is to audit your mind. To become introspective and aware about the many layers of beliefs and assumptions about yourself, other people and the world that profoundly impact not only the way you see the world and behave in it, but also the available possible futures that are before you. The best way to build introspective awareness of your internal reality is through meditation, which we will explore in "Creating Your Reality - Part 2". After you have developed your introspective awareness and have begun the practice of critically evaluating your thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions, you may find that the best beliefs are no beliefs. That by holding no fixed beliefs, assumptions or stories you are able to see the world from more and more perspectives and open yourself to more and more possibilities. This practice will result in increased accuracy and clarity of thought and perception.
What does this have to do with brain nutrition? Shifting reality requires changing thought patterns, ranging from fundamental assumptions and beliefs about the world to preferences and emotional reactions to external events. Your thought patterns and beliefs are physically wired into the neural networks of your brain. While our brains remain plastic throughout our lives, the brain's ability to rewire itself declines as we age. Proper brain nutrition improves not just the performance of your brain, but also improves your brain's ability to rewire itself, enabling you to more easily change your thought patterns and beliefs to ones that are in alignment with your desired reality.
The combination of proper brain nutrition and meditation is incredibly powerful and enables anyone to become the conscious creator of their reality.