“4% of what you see is real”
That was the opener to the talk I heard last week (thank you Hayhouse). The number may be skewed, but the concept is true. What we see forms our reality and what we believe influences our perception. The basics we get right and agree on. We see an orange, we know it’s an orange, and we know that we eat it. But what if you see someone smile? Is it a smile because they are happy and joyful, or is it a smirk because they are making fun of you? Many of the things and experiences we see are like abstract art – everyone sees something or feels something different depending on their past experiences and current mood.
Now let’s talk biology. The cell, the simplest unit of life, is in constant flex and dynamic change in response to the environment it senses. It has the ability to change it’s response (whether it’s gene transcription to create a protein for a signal/receptor/channel or cell signal to divide or grow) dependent on the signals it picks up on the environment. Then the environment changes in response to the cellular changes – there is a constant balance between the inner cell biology and the outer extracellular environment. We have the same ability (makes sense since we are a “bucket of cells”). We create a reaction to the environment, and the environment shapes/shifts in response to our reactions. In the cell it’s simpler as the environment consists of basic chemical and electrical signals. Humans are a bit more complex as our “environment” consists of physicality, thoughts, emotions, past trauma, family, media, peers and social network.
Our reality creates our perception and our perception forms our reality. What you see is how you think and what you think is how you see. When our eyes see something, it only takes a minute amount of physical info (usually the outline of an object) which is configured in our brain to create an internal thought of what we are viewing. We are primed neurological to fill in the gaps based on our previous experiences. An example of this concept are those brain teasers that show partial words and your brain fills in the rest (the words are created in your brain using the vocabulary you have learned). If you spoke a different language or didn’t know the words, you wouldn’t be able to complete the puzzle.
When people say “you only see what you want to see” they are kind of right. Psychological studies show that if you think negative thoughts, you only see (or pay attention to) negative things – the self-fulfilling prophecy. If this is true for the negative, why can’t the same rules apply to the positive? If we choose to act positively and see the light in things, we shift our focus to positive aspects or optimism (the “law of attraction”). Mind you this isn’t a 100% philosophy. There will still be negative things that happen that will cause emotional or physical discomfort. Things aren’t on/off, positive/negative, black/white – they exist in the standard unit of energy – a wave. There are highs, they are lows, and there are transition periods between the two. It’s where we put our focus that matters. Negative things happen – we have our emotion, we learn the lesson, and we let go of the hold it has on us to let in other experiences.
If we feel “stuck” or “powerless” in our lives we need to be active in changing them. When you are passive in life, you are passing on life.
Be the change you want to see and see the change you want to be.
You can change your mindset, you change your pool of past experiences, and you train your brain to perceive a new reality. Then you see new things in your environment that your brain use to ignore. Yes – you can make your brain “work” for you! And you can change your reality by changing perception of the environment around you.
It’s the same concept with our health. We are not a vacuum – symptoms we experience are not created singularly in a cause-effect fashion. Your health is a collection of your past and present responses to your “perceived” environment. The mind and body are not separated – they work together in the same homeostatic dynamic flux, or wave, that we previously discussed above. Our bodies sense the signals in our environment (usually to changes in our environment), they are cerebrally interpreted, and our reactions are formed thoughts/emotions/actions. Reactions to our environment can change our biology and vice-versa. Hence, if we change how we react to our environment by changing our thoughts/mindset (ie our perception of reality), we can change our biology.
Be the change, see the change, live the change.
Healthy happy changing everyone!