Your Thoughts Do Not Create Your Reality, Stupid.

Via Kara-Leah Grant
on Jul 15, 2013
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Let’s get one thing straight.

You do not create your own reality.

Your thoughts do not create your reality either.

All the positive thinking and manifesting and vision boarding and dreaming is not going to get you what you want.

What you do create is your experience of your reality.

Your thoughts about your reality create your experience of that reality.

This distinction is critical, and far too often it’s glossed over, ignored or pushed aside in favor of the far more attractive idea of being completely in control of our reality via our thoughts.

All you need is The Secret, and you too can think your way into a bigger bank balance, a nicer car, a bigger house and a better partner.

Utter crap.

Oh, it doesn’t work unless you get the feeling resonance behind it just right; you really need to feel what it would be like to have that bigger bank balance, drive that bigger car, living in that bigger house and have that better partner.

You need to emotionally-charge your positive thinking, manfiesting, vision-boarding, dreaming…

Now this has a smidgen of truth in it, but it’s still a corrupted way to sell books, DVDs, online courses and workshops that hook into people’s desire to live better lives, and people’s downright greed.

It also implies that if you don’t get the money, the car, the house, the man than there’s something wrong with you.

I’d wager that many people attracted to these kinds of promises are already afraid there’s something wrong with them. Working with manifesting tips and tricks—and failing—is just going to reinforce that fear even more.

So what is the real deal?

Simply this:

Our thoughts and emotions are intertwined. A thought can give rise to a feeling, and a feeling can give rise to a thought. Underlying beliefs, often unconscious, give rise to both thoughts and feelings.

Beliefs, thoughts and feelings are the filter through which we experience our life.

All the circumstances, everything that happens to us, all the people we come in contact with, everything… is experienced through the filter of our beliefs, thoughts and our feelings about the circumstances, the happenings, the people, the everything.

This combination of external reality and internal reality creates your ultimate reality.

Two things, intertwined, inseparable from each other.

What this means is that if your internal reality changes, i.e., your beliefs, thoughts and feelings, then the sum of your reality will change, but not the relative external reality. Because the sum of your reality has changed, the choices you make will change, and then the external reality will also change, because you’re steering your ship in a new direction.

I like math, love it in fact, always have. Math makes things make sense.

Here’s my math on this.

Beliefs (b) + Thoughts (t) + feelings (f) = Internal Reality (IR)

Circumstances (c) + people (p) = External Reality (ER)

BIR + ER = Ultimate Reality (UR) or, more complex (b+t+f)+(c+p)=UR

Change any input in these equations and you’ll change the end result—you’ll change UR.

Lets put this in a real world example.

Stupid Secret Thinking, envisioning the future:

  • You want more money because you want to be rich.
  • You positively think about receiving large sums of cash. You use various manifesting methods. You do a vision board with money on it. You dream about being rich.
  • You feel what it would be like to have a lot of money in the bank.
  • You wait patiently for the money to arrive, and when it doesn’t, you wonder what you did wrong. You feel, in your wanting, just how damn lacking you truly are.

Smarter Thinking, working with what is:

  • You want more money because you want to be rich.
  • You ask yourself why you want to be rich.
  • You realize it’s because you feel you deserve some luxuries in your life because you’ve been working so hard.
  • You take a look at your life to see where you’re already experiencing luxury. You look at where you could treat yourself even more. You ask yourself what luxuries are possible right now. You search out luxuries that are possible on your budget.
  • You begin to treat yourself on a regular basis to things that make you feel good—like long hot baths with bath salts, afternoon walks in the sun by the beach, and a red rose once a week.
  • You notice, in astonishment, that you feel rich, because you’re meeting your need to treat yourself ever now and then with a luxury.
  • You’ve successfully inquired into your thoughts and feelings, using the knowledge gained to change the way you perceive your current reality, and made new choices which changed that reality and therefore changed the way you feel.

That is the big difference between creating your reality, and creating your experience of your reality.

The first is externally focused, hoping and wishing that using the right magical thoughts or feeling will make something happen ‘out there.’

The second is internally focused, making choices and actions that meet the underlying needs creating the desiring wants.

The first is future-focused, hoping and wishing that something will happen in the future.

The second is now-focused, working with what is right now.

Is this even true? I have no idea. This is just one way to look at reality to make some sense out of it and therefore chose how to be. The real question is, does it work?

For me, yes it does, as you can read about it in articles like this:

In all of these cases, I notice my misery, I notice the beliefs, thoughts and feelings that are giving rise to that misery, and I work directly with those beliefs, thoughts and feelings—not be attempting to change them, fix them or heal them. But simply by bringing awareness to them, and allowing that  to create change, or not.

Every now and then, I too get side-tracked. I notice misery and begin to focus on changing my external reality as a way of shifting my ultimate reality. It’s subtle, but you can see this at work in this article:

Usually, I catch myself within a few weeks and turn towards the true source of my misery—that which lies inside me.

It’s easy to see how this process can be subverted—how easy it can be to think that our beliefs, thoughts and feelings create our reality; therefore, if we’re not rich, or successful, or thin or something, there’s something wrong with us. We begin to think that if we just had the right manifesting technique or tool, or thought the right things, we could fix ourselves and our life.

It’s a folly.

Our external reality, in this moment, is fixed.

Our response to that external reality is fluid.

Accept the fixed.

Work with the fluid.

See what arises in that space.

I dare you.


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Ed: B. Bemel


About Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. Along with fellow Elephant Journal writer, Ben Ralston, she runs Heart of Tribe, pouring her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico and Sri Lanka. Kara-Leah is also the founder of New Zealand’s own awesome yoga website, The Yoga Lunchbox, and author of Forty Days of Yoga—Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice and The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. A born & bred Kiwi who spent her twenties wandering the world and living large, Kara-Leah has spent time in Canada, the USA, France, England, Mexico, and a handful of other luscious locations. She now lives and travels internationally with her son, a ninja-in-training. You can find Kara-Leah on her website, or on Facebook.


61 Responses to “Your Thoughts Do Not Create Your Reality, Stupid.”

  1. troubled says:

    Glancing over the article, I stopped at the equation. The internal reality formula is sound but the external reality is fixed.

    I support the summarization of the article being that belief should be followed by action but in the variant view that belief is followed by action. Just as actions can have belief flow behind them. There are numerous examples of this that a moderately educated person can list, so I won't patronize readers.

    In noting the above . Your formula should be corrected from "Circumstances (c) + people (p) = External Reality (ER)" to "Circumstances (c) + people (p) + people's perception of self and circumstances (Posc)= External Reality (ER)"

    Assuming your thoughts have an effect on.your actions causing people to perceive your actions and apply your beginning formula to them.

    Summary being that your formula is not accounting for more than yourself.
    Your writing caused everyone who responded , to respond . Meaning your thoughts and beliefs effected what you did, in turn effecting others. Next remember your are addressing everyone at once. Not just one person.

  2. When someone writes an piece of writing he/she retains the idea of a

    user in his/her brain that how a user can know it.

    Thus that’s why this article is amazing. Thanks!

  3. Robert says:

    if you feel bad about something your external reality will reflect this, feel that you are worthless you might over eat get fat until your reality mirrors what you feel about yourself…you might then work hard on changing your outer reality but you always get pulled back by your feelings of worthlessness…..

    Now if instead your go within and change that feeling of worthlessness you might find your reality changing without much effort… sports if you believe in yourself you will go much much farther then the person who trains hard because he needs to win to compensate for his feeling of worthlessness, his efforts will always fall short, always come second, his deep unconscious beliefs will always sabotage himself.

    I was on the national team in judo, could have done much better if i knew this then. injuries, bad luck, nervousness because i needed to prove something to feel better about myself all caused by deep negative feeling, was like training with an anchor.

    your inner world most definitely creates your outer world

  4. Hemet Osiris Ma'at says:

    Poor thing, going through life letting everything you want slip through your fingers. I can personally say that your thoughts do have a significant effect on your external reality, as all the religions and philosophies of the ancient world teach. Of course, most people today cannot comprehend such wisdom, due to our programming by the puppet masters. Never cast pearls before swine, for they know not their worth. There is a reason why rich people belong to secret societies, and why corporations use ancient sacred symbols as their logos. It’s because they know something that you don’t. I’m hardly a Master at manipulating reality, but I continue to practice, with some astonishing results, and I can assure you that you all have the same ability. The only thing holding you back is your doubt. I say this out of compassion for my fellow humans, but if you prefer to live in the dark I cannot stop you.

  5. martin says:

    Beautifully said, brother, at this time of awakening and confusion, spiritual guides pup everywhere trying to sell you this or that idea, but ultimately is our own decision that will shape our reality base on individual personal beliefs, is obvious to me that there are a lot of people that can't still find real peace despite their TEACHINGS, to sad to see that, When someone says you stupid to another person because they choose to believe in a particular way that's not enlightenment in any way shape or form, all I really hope for is for them to seek and find self-love and compassion!

  6. martin says:

    Bravo, my friend nicely said!

  7. deb says:

    i really appreciate this article and all of the comments: positive and negative. i feel my understanding is much broader as a result. i think your use of the word "perception" is the missing link when people glibly conclude: "you create your reality." you PERCEIVE your reality, based on a formula of variables (not sure what the formula actually is, but i like that you and others attempted to create one).

    i hope this topic will be expanded upon.

    i'm interested in specifics: i.e., how babies and animals create their own realities using the variables (especially when there is no language). how other people can insert themselves into your reality, etc.

  8. paul reveley says:

    Focus, belive and u will achieve. It’s like thousands of test which have been carried out using placebo drugs. If u belive they will heal you they will . We pass our limited beliefs on. And so on it go’s. We are all part of the univers or multi. We can not detach ourself from it. All the greatest minds which ever lived don’t really understand a fraction of how it’s all been put together. Their examinations and understanding of things just keep changing. The answer only lies within each one of us, just belive you (can).

  9. Haley says:

    I hope that Einstein reads this! Wow. Then he'd know he was wrong about a fourth dimension, many possible outcomes and futures, and how we do create our own reality. Gee, I wish he's just been able to get to this blog before wasting all his time on that whole dimension thing. You've really been a great help.

    OR NOT.

  10. Caroline says:

    I think the point that our thoughts create our realty is that what you believe to be true has a great impact on your actions surrounding that belief. For instance if you believe you are poor you continue to take actions to confirm that belief. The opposite is also true. If you believe in abundance that you will act according to that belief. Basically, you get what you believe.

  11. Nanasty says:

    Thank you so much for saying this. Spot on.