Your Thoughts Do Not Create Your Reality, Stupid.

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 5.6
Hearts 1.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
13 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.



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.


 Subscribe to elephant journal’s Walk the Talk Show, free for now.

Ed: B. Bemel

Image: lucahennig/Flickr

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 5.6
Hearts 1.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
13 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

anonymous Mar 6, 2016 2:42pm

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.

anonymous Feb 14, 2016 12:40pm

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.


anonymous Feb 13, 2016 2:03am

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).

anonymous Jan 23, 2016 10:15pm

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.

anonymous Dec 5, 2015 6:38pm

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.

    anonymous Jan 23, 2016 9:04pm

    Bravo, my friend nicely said!

anonymous Nov 20, 2015 9:24am

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

anonymous Nov 17, 2015 12:07am

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!

anonymous Aug 15, 2015 9:25pm

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.

anonymous Jul 15, 2015 4:47pm

It's amazing how people state their opinion as fact, and call people who think differently "stupid."

anonymous Jul 3, 2015 11:57am

I love how you made that distinct difference. Very important.

anonymous Jun 28, 2015 1:49pm

Your thoughts manifest your reality. For example say if you want to be a doctor, well there first must occur the thought that you want to be one. This is the same for any other part of your reality. Don't be so closed minded.

anonymous Jun 26, 2015 1:44pm

Actually you do very much create the reality with your thoughts. I've thought of very specific events and things I even wanted people to say and it all panned out exactly as I imagined it. So it is true that your thoughts create your reality.

anonymous May 4, 2015 3:54am

Dear Kara-Leah Grant:
I disagree with your reasoning; we are certainly able to create our own reality through our power of intent, because the universe is a “Virtual Reality Field”; everything within it; including ourselves along with other sentient beings and all objects are Virtual Reality Entities.

I would suggest you to read the book “My Big Toe”, by Dr. Tom Campbell, physicist; you can also watch some of his YouTube presentations about the nature of reality. and about “My Big Toe” (Theory Of Everything)

According to Dr. Campbell, every sentient being is a small unit of consciousness in constant interface (communication) with the larger consciousness system (the Universe); As such, a small unit of consciousness can command and control the larger consciousness system within one’s own context. Such interface is done through the power of intent which is a balance of one’s thoughts, one’s action, one’s heart desire, and the context in which one wants that reality to be created. Once all these data are provided to the larger consciousness system ( the Universe), then the larger consciousness system produces the intended reality to us in a most believable and logical context. It’s like a Computer Simulation Program where one must pre-set all parameters of the simulation before the virtual reality game then the system produces the virtual reality environment for the game.

Because the larger consciousness system ( the Universe) is a virtual reality system which includes everything within it; ourselves and other sentient being within it – as such, every sentient being is a small unit of consciousness capable of creating any virtual reality objects within the larger consciousness system ( i.e. perceived physical objects ) which one needs to use for the purpose of one’s own reality- one's own life experience.

For instance; if one needs a Car, a House, a Garden etc. through the control of power one’s own intent, a sentient being ( i.e. humans, animals, or plants ) are able to create any object in the larger consciousness system ( the Universe) which is a Virtual reality system; it’s like a virtual reality video game, where one’s power of intent which is a balance of one’s thoughts, one’s action, one’s heart desire, and the context in which one wants that reality to be created – all of these data preset the parameter of one’s own reality within which the larger consciousness system (the Universe) will produce that reality. The challenge however, is the control our own intent which we often fail to accomplish that reflects our reality.

We are certainly able to create our own reality through our power of intent, because the nature of reality is “Virtual”, that is non-physical. the challenge however, is the control our own true intent.

Ali B.

anonymous Apr 26, 2015 12:33pm

pThere is no fixed external reality. There is an illusion of external reality, but only for personalities that are unaware. You agree that creativity (action?) creates the external reality. But what creates creativity and action? Thoughts. Your believes create your reality because your actions follow your beliefs. Don't confuse your believes with your will. What you want is something different than what you truly believe, most likely.

Your experienced reality will always be in sync with your beliefs. Otherwise you would not be able to perceive it. And the feedback of reality will make hidden beliefs potentially known able. There is no reality without experience. You can not experience a reality that is not yours. So yes, you must create your own reality. And you do. If you want to believe it or not.

anonymous Apr 7, 2015 5:57am

It seems to me some of your critics have not even read your essay. For instance, my understanding of what you wrote is not inconsistent with Zen’ichi’s recitation on Buddhist belief. Changing our experience of reality is “changing ourselves.”

My experience over the long haul of decades is that one must couple the hope/intention of a given outcome with appropriate action directed at manifesting that outcome. Simply intending or desiring an outcome will not increase the likelihood of manifesting the desired outcome. While there are likely forces in nature we do not fully understand, even intending an outcome and praying for it or engaging in magik towards manifesting it almost never results in the desired outcome without engaging in concurring actions reasonably designed to acheiving the desired outcome. We can pray or do magik with the desire of acheiving wealth, but if we don’t at least buy a lottery ticket, or better yet, design and start a business after studying and engaging in sound business practices, the wealth is almost guaranteed not to manifest.

And I must say, this statement is profoundly wrong: “Scientists have proven over and over again that the universe does not behave in a way that is logical to humans.” Scientists have proven over and over again that the universe behaves in a way that is logical to humans, but that the logic applied in earlier understandings often was flawed or not fully informed by all of the pertinent facts.

Another couple of points worth mentioning here: 1) When we change ourselves, we tend to draw towards others that appreciate who we have then become, and thereby change the melieu in which we live amd thereby our manifested reality. So in that sense, we do manifest our inner reality. If I become a love centered person inwardly, over time I become surrounded by more like minded people, and therefore interact more frequently with other love centered people and as a result live a more love filled life. 2) There is nothing in the universe that is supernatural. There are forces and phenomena we do not yet understand, but they are still subject to natural laws that will almost certainly be comprehensible to the human mind at some point in time, through further study. Some of us may actually have learned how to direct some of these forces and phenomena, even though science has not yet explained or verified them.

But bottom line, I agree with the author. Magikal thinking, without more, is indeed stupid. Even fatal at times.

anonymous Apr 6, 2015 5:34am

Great text!

I will just upgrade math like this:

Beliefs (b) + Thoughts (t) + feelings (f) = Internal Reality (IR)
Environment (En) + events (e) + people (p) = External Reality (ER)
Natural Universal Law (NUL) = Ultimate Reality (UR)

Life = UR + (0 * (IR+ER))
But we can change our perspective with this: UR + IR + ER = Our UR (that is not reality)

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

anonymous Apr 5, 2015 6:55pm

Sweet title. Way to lump Jung, Emerson, Thoreau, Einstein, Schroedinger, Hill, Bell, Aurelius, Carnegie, and countless other great minds all under the label of stupid. Bravo.

anonymous Apr 5, 2015 2:02pm

Ugh!! You know not of what you think!! If you paid any attention to the secret, you do not imagine, vision board things and them WAIT. You ACT!! They say that continually throughout the secret. They specifically say, when you're inspired by an idea, ACT!! That's your job. As for creating your reality vs creating the experience of your reality….semantics. Same idea. Reality IS your experience. Sorry, but all this article did was make me want to make you actually sit down and watch it. One final point, they say that our feeling come first and the thoughts are an expression of those feelings. You say the exact opposite. To me, this is a chicken/egg argument. Isn't it simply important to GER THERE? Who cares what route anyone takes. Honestly, you sound upset that people are making money because of the secret. Isn't that their point? I respect your difference of opinion, but don't dog those who use the secret, believe in the secret, or those who've made money on the secret.

anonymous Mar 23, 2015 8:23am

It’s going to be end of mine day, except before finish I am reading this enormous paragraph to improve my knowledge.

anonymous Jan 2, 2015 6:27pm

What it all boils down to is that no one really knows just what creates our reality. We all have our opinions. Frankly, I do not believe we create anything whatsoever. We didn't create our being here in the first place, we didn't control when or where we were born, our parents, siblings, early upbringing, etc. When did we start controlling or creating our reality? Do we create our thoughts? Of course not. We have no idea what will be our next. We cannot stop the incessant unsolicited flow of thoughts. If we cannot stop the flow, what in the world makes us think we are in control. If we are not controlling our thoughts, what could we possibly be controlling? What is, IS. We cannot affect or change it in the
slightest. I suggest that we are duped into believing we have control when, in reality, we have none whatsoever. Did we create that which we now experience? We only think so, where is the evidence? Even the thought, shall I have coffee or tea, is simply thought flowing from beyond. No brain ever created a thought. The physical does not create the mental. The brain may process thought or it may not. The reality we experience is simply the ever changing roles Consciousness is projecting. There is no time or space. Everything is happening simultaneously in the NOW and HERE. There is no past or future only the present moment as Awareness expresses through ever changing phenomena. In my opinion, if we control anything, it is merely how we respond to "what is", either acceptance or resistance. As mentioned, we cannot change or influence it in the slightest, so why resist. This is what surrender is all about, merely accepting what is with gratitude and not trying to change or gain anything different. In my opinion the "secret" to living a blissful life is surrender, acceptance and letting life flow as it will.

One other thought if I may, is it not true that contentment is entirely dependent upon our acceptance or resistance of "what is"? How can we be content if we are not content with what is? Yet, if we have even the slightest ability to control or influence our future, then we must be about making effort to change things, no? Does this not put us in resistance and discontent? My friends, there is great release and relief in coming to the realization that we are simply here to experience whatever is put on our plate and surrender completely to it.

anonymous Nov 20, 2014 4:20pm

Well put. And about your use of the word "stupid". I got it. It was funny. Because I, like everyone here, can in our humility relate to being "stupid" or foolish or failing from time to time and remember that's ok.Even when we're chasing someone else's ideals. It's only then we can move forward to where we're meant to be. Thanks for the whole article. Enjoyed it.

anonymous Oct 14, 2014 10:32am

Why do you have to call people "stupid?" Really? Just because you feel so superior in your OWN OPINION? People who believe these things are simply LIKE ALL OF US trying to figure this whole life thing out and trying to create some happiness in their lives? How can you be so DAMN SURE it does not work; because it did not work for you? And now EVERYONE else is stupid. You article probably had about 5 percent information that could be useful and worth thinking about but it was not shared out of pure concern for readers; not when you start by referring to them as STUPID? This article is all about being on the high horse of your EGO to sprout out our opinion. Its obviously by what you mentioned (vision board, buzz word, manifesting) that you KNOW abut some of these things and perhaps tried them……and they didn't work……for you. And so now , again, you are on the attack. Maybe out f your own disappointment? All I know is that SOME OF WHAT YOU SAID is the same thing you are attacking!!!! " A"smidgen" of truth? Then you go on to say what YOU think is true and yet you almost describe the practice of those that believe thinking creates their reality?

Anyway I wold have maybe really pondered the OPINION YOU had to offer if it wasn't laced with the condescending attitude of referring to those who may be sincerely in that "thoughts create your reality" boat STUPID! In the future maybe you will remember that honey works better than vinegar. That would be the SMARTER way of sharing…..I would think?

anonymous Sep 27, 2014 2:38pm

after a long couple of years sorting through my inner "shadow" sides and getting to the core of my deeply engrained "programming" I picked up as a child from the adults and peers around me, I can proudly say at 25 that I'm actually getting the hang of this Law of Attraction that governs our realities. It takes work, action, focus, willingness to dive deep into beliefs that are sketched into your subconscious that keep playing over and over again. Creating new more positive and uplifting programs to replace the old, I love this new place in my life 🙂 I'm leaving a toxic 5 year relationship and flying out this Sunday October 5th at 9pm and oh so excited to start my new life, leaving the old patterns behind me.

anonymous Sep 25, 2014 2:22pm

That word "fixed"?

I do not think it means what you think it means.

anonymous Aug 16, 2014 5:46pm

Do you want to know the truth.

anonymous Aug 4, 2014 5:25pm

Our external reality, in this moment, is fixed.

Our response to that external reality is fluid.

So our external reality it fixed in that moment, which is joined to the next moment and the next and so one, and so in actual fact, it's not fixed – the way I see it, and the response is from our beliefs/thoughts/feelings, I just don't get what you're writing about. Our thoughts do create out reality, otherwise how do we get from one 'fixed' moment to the next.
I don't understand why thinking our thoughts creates our reality has anything to do with comparing myself to others, or feeling as if I need more. I see it as a way to create and take charge in my present from the inside (me) out.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 3:38pm

I totally agree.
People need to wake up from this mumbo-jumbo called the secret, i was part of this shit, and my life has stopped.

anonymous Jul 27, 2014 7:31pm

I completely disagree with everything you’ve written. Clearly, you don’t know what you’re talking about and should not be teaching these subjects. The ‘secret’ is simply an oversimplified introduction into the loa, one of many universal laws. This is by the way scientifically verified. You might wanna look into quantum physics and science. I have a feeling people resonate with your teaching because they feel powerless and irresponsible for their own life and the results they create. There is way more to it than what you are describing, but it does work. It works for me 100% of the time.

anonymous Jul 1, 2014 4:29pm

The title of this article and most of the content within made me cringe. It's all YOUR projection about another's beliefs. I have done some powerful manifesting in my life that was based from love, joy and trust in the Universe. But, hey, I must be stupid! Glad you have it all figured out.

anonymous Apr 10, 2014 2:30pm

I'm really disappointed by the title of this post. It's spiritually and psychologically violent to call someone with whom you have a disagreement "stupid." So much for your claim to some form of enlightenment, eh? Not only that, there's actually something to the notion that "thoughts are things," and experiments in quantum physics have demonstrated this. The buddhist notion of essho funi is also illustrative of this concept:

"At the most fundamental level of life itself, there is no separation between ourselves and the environment. According to Buddhism, everything around us, including work and family relationships, is the reflection of our inner lives. Everything is perceived through the self and alters according to the individual's inner state of life. Thus, if we change ourselves, our circumstances will inevitably change also."

So for you to blithely call people of science and faith "stupid" for believing something that is pretty clearly a valid theory, well, it's just more than a bit smug. I should hope your Yogic practise would help you see that, but obviously–at least as far as your commentary goes–it has not so far.

I wish you the inner peace you seek, and truly hope that you'll find some compassion through your practise.


    anonymous Oct 21, 2014 8:46pm

    "At the most fundamental level of life itself, there is no separation between ourselves and the environment. According to Buddhism, everything around us, including work and family relationships, is the reflection of our inner lives. Everything is perceived through the self and alters according to the individual's inner state of life. Thus, if we change ourselves, our circumstances will inevitably change also."

    + 1 Super !

    anonymous Jan 23, 2016 8:43pm

    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!

anonymous Mar 29, 2014 8:12am

I take exception to your title, calling people stupid says something very telling about you, this must be the way you think of yourself, and ironically you've created that reality for yourself, no person is ever stupid, our source has created only perfection, it's insecure people that attempt to judge others, like yourself and some these commenters, rethink this article.

    anonymous Mar 24, 2016 3:44pm

    Thank you so much for saying this. Spot on.

anonymous Mar 29, 2014 7:57am

I disagree with you, and most of your commenters, we do create our own reality 100 percent of it, I have been following these topics for years and never spent a dime on anything and learned so much about myself and the desensitized zombies people have become, you offer no examples proof or even experiences, so I find your article to be uncredible and and a waste of Time

anonymous Jan 20, 2014 11:51pm

I totally agree. I bet most people don't know, that many makers/actors of The Secret are frauds and criminals (investment banker, who tought his way to riches by stealing other people's money, then that guy, who killed a few people in one of his "meditation" sessions, one of them has ghostwriters for his books, etc.). People who don't believe this – just look it up, it's very well documented.

anonymous Jan 18, 2014 11:06am

I create my own reality and luck by writing down things I am grateful for everyday, then I visualize things I want to happen but more importantly by feeling the emotions I want to feel with long duration and intensity. Then when I accomplish goals I always give myself recognition. It works really good for me.

anonymous Jan 15, 2014 4:26am

This is so beautiful. Thanks Kara x

anonymous Jan 14, 2014 12:51am

Epically awesome and spot on ; thank you for explaining how the new-age 'thought manifestation' nonsense is so off-based. I've seen so many people do exactly what you outline as skewed, and then wonder why their life isn't amazing.

anonymous Jan 3, 2014 2:13pm

I know that everything is thought before it is reality. Posaitive thinking works for me. I never think( I need) I always think ( I have )

anonymous Oct 7, 2013 6:01am

your sense of self creates your reality.
if you lie to your reality then reality lies to you.
this is what i understood so far in life.

anonymous Sep 22, 2013 8:33am

Then how can you explain cases like that of Cynthia Stafford, which wrote $112 million in a paper, visualized the heck out of what she wanted to do, then 4 months later she won the Mega Millions jackpot right when it was at $112 million? (there are a few cases like that, but they've been less mediatic). Might it be, that the flaw is precisely to rely on seemingly "logical", linear thinking?

anonymous Sep 11, 2013 12:32am

Results are only produced by actions not mere thoughts. However, thoughts of the end results encourage the person to be bold enough to do some action. It might be possible that there would be no action if that particular thought was missing.

anonymous Jul 17, 2013 9:11pm

Actually you're doing it wrong if you are fearful. Firstly you have to exhale fear from your mind and body. That takes a bit of time to learn how to do. Then you have to know how to release anxiety. Think of when you jump into a swimming pool and you're trying to float; at first you are unsteady but you find that if you just relax and let go, you begin to float. You see you cannot be attached to the outcome. You have to let go and know that once you imagine yourself in the position of what you desire, you have to trust enough that the Universe will start placing things in your path. Be on the look out for serendipity! But fear or anxiety will only reinforce the status quo. You also have to understand that change will require a critical mass therefore you have to keep reinforcing the positive emotional scenarios and those "vibrations" will be met with vibrations on the same plane. Hope this helps!

anonymous Jul 17, 2013 2:28pm

Thank you everyone for your comments – I have loved reading them, and have loved the depth of the discussion. The ideas I've explored in this article are really only jumping-off points – no attempt to assert a fixed idea that this is the way it is as such. So I've really enjoyed the expounding of further aspects by other people. It feels like that collective wisdom coming to bear on an idea.

What is the true nature of reality? I guess that's the underlying question that curious folk have explored for centuries and longer.

It looks like I've got some more reading to do on this subject as well!!!

anonymous Jul 17, 2013 9:39am

I am one of those very few people, I confess, who has never actually watched The Secret. Indeed, the very reason I haven't is because it struck me as grossly misleading (and, as you say, a great way to manipulate vulnerabilities and misery to sell books and DVDs).

To be clear though, I do believe in the law of attraction, complete with visualization, resonant feelings, and possibly even a better car. What I have found though, from my own experience, is that visualizing a better life for myself, although it began with some superficial tendencies, became not a journey towards "better" life but a more meaningful one. Through dreams of wealth and success, I found that the more I questioned myself and explored the ideas (I will note here the importance of self-awareness, as you point out, in any dream…that is, why do I want these things?) the more I found that what I actually wanted was a purpose. I wanted to be of use. I did not want to be rich for the sake of being rich. I wanted to do for others. I wanted always to have something to give. I began then to play with ideas of what my life would look like if I was wildly rich. More to the point, I began to ask myself not what do I want to have, but who do I want to be. That doesn't mean I've given up on the idea of wealth or success, but that the journey has become more complete, more rounded, and less about the self-satisfying ego. Will becoming the person I most admire help me achieve wealth and success? I believe it will. I may be wrong (though I don't think so) but I nonetheless feel guided towards these changes by some greater force, the same force that manifests better jobs and new cars. I choose to operate in alignment with that force not because I want a new car but because it is the only thing I am meant to do.

The law of attraction is just one of several guiding principles of the universe, and not, in my mind, meant to to exercised in isolation. Ultimately we are either operating in accordance with these laws–in alignment with the power of the universe, in flow if you will–or we are not. Meditation has been my greatest tool, as most everyone who practices will attest, to living in that "flow." I find that through meditation, along with a few other practices, like a gratitude journal, and daily hikes in the forest, my life has improved beyond measure in very little time at all. This is, as you say, a perceptual shift of reality.

Having said that, there is a good deal of scientific research and many examples of how thoughts, being as they are just forms of energy, affect the concrete, fixed reality of our outer world (also just forms of energy). Einstein had lots to say on the subject. I also just read a study out of Moscow to do with meditation and its effects on our outer world. And as a stupefying example of manifestation in the clearest of terms, I suggest a little reading on California's Cynthia Stafford. I won't ruin the surprise, but she's well worth the research. Dr. Joseph Murphy (The Power of Your Subconscious Mind) is another proponent of this sort altering of reality.

What is most at odds with successful visualization and manifestation, is, I believe, inherently linked to your statement that altering our outer reality will "fix" who we are. It is a selfish and shame-filled (not to be confused with shameful) approach. And it's an innately human quality. We do, indeed, all fall victim to the myth of instant gratification and oversimplified solutions. Our failure is in not realizing that we are, at any given moment, absolutely perfect. There is no thing that will make us better. There is nothing to fix. There is acceptance and compassion. That's all.

I am a firm believer that we are all capable of manifesting the lives we want to live. I believe anything is possible. I also believe that the path to that bright future is a reflective one and it requires self-examination, honesty, compassion for self and others, and a wide open heart.

Thank you for this truly engaging article. It was a joy to read and respond to.

anonymous Jul 17, 2013 8:21am

This is so funny to me because right before I saw this post via Facebook, I was watching an interview with "Abraham Hicks" via Esther and Jerry Hicks! It was maybe the second time I had been exposed to "Their Teachings" as someone had given me a CD recording about "The Vortex" a few years back that I also listened to.

I guess where I rest in my own understanding is that if at any given moment one is "seeking" for something else, "seeking" for happiness (or actually, the more conditionally dependent experience of pleasure), then in the midst of "seeking" one is not actually Being Happy. There can be a vast array of actions expressing "the search", that will ultimately never change anything if the actual problem lies in how one is Choosing to Be, moment to moment.

At the same time, one can be completely at ease in the emotional/psychological/spiritual place of simply Being Happy, and also be very active in the world, where those actions become an expression of Already Present Happiness rather than a search for it.

In that case, the most important beliefs would have to be about The Source of Happiness; i.e. does happiness come from some external experience of reality, or is that something I choose, or is it Always Already the Case when I Stop Choosing to be unhappy, angry, resentful, reactive, etc.?

I do agree though with the basic idea that in any given moment, external reality is (more or less) "fixed", while my internal capacity for response is much, much more "fluid".

anonymous Jul 17, 2013 5:05am

Here is what works for me.. Think about what I want. Decide what I want. Act on my decision. Lastly, Feel whatever it is I feel. I try not to let my feelings determine what I want, I try to trust my thinking because feelings for me our not a good guide, but can be the reward for my actions. Or if I doing something out of my comfort zone, I choose to ignore the feelings and carry on with my decision first. After I accomplished my objective, I allow my self to feel and usually show these feeling, mostly fear if I am challenging myself way beyond my perceived limits and beliefs, then i usually try to show these feelings to someone I love and trust. I model this after observing how young ones interact with their environment, because they no filters and live in the moment. Most adults have been so thoroughly conditioned by the culture and not good role models of rational thinking and or behavior.

anonymous Jul 16, 2013 8:07pm

Thank you (audible sigh of relief!)

anonymous Jul 16, 2013 7:17pm

Very simply…I love this! The "getting rich" example is fantastic! What's that saying about there is no reality, just our perception of reality (or something like that). Thanks for sharing this!!!

anonymous Jul 16, 2013 9:45am

An issue that never seems to be addressed in "manifesting" circles is the fact that we all share a collective reality, which we jointly create with our thoughts, feelings, assumptions, delusions, and so on. You don't have to look far to notice that we've all jointly created an economic system that's rife with injustice and inequality, especially in the US. And that's an outward manifestation of what's going on in our minds, or you might say, the collective semi-conscious. Justice, fairness, and our general well-being are not served by individuals visualizing their way to personal wealth and comfort, no matter how smartly that's done. That's just a continuation, in a new best-selling wrapper, of the old Calvinist mindset that properly religious people (the "elect") will be materially rewarded by God, and the rest can go you-know-where. That whole way of thinking needs to be dispensed with, and replaced with the awareness that we've all jointly created our economic system, and we can all jointly change it. Of course that requires a significant evolution of consciousness, not just political action in the conventional sense. Instead of redefining our personal luxuries so we can enjoy them more, how about visualizing less poverty at one end of society and less outrageous wealth at the other, and see if that makes us feel better about our station in life?

    anonymous Jul 17, 2013 7:46am

    I think you have struck on a very important point, and if you have not seen it already, this video from the Metta Center for Non-Violence on Gandhian Economics might be of interest to you. There is definitely a [R]Evolution in thinking that needs to take place with respect to the purpose any economy is supposed to serve, both individually and collectively.

anonymous Jul 15, 2013 8:01pm

Hi Kara-Leah,

I am so glad that i have found you because i have been a real believer of the spiritual movement, read books of dr wayne w dyer and neale donald walsch, the secret and other spiritual books, because of reading a lot and attending spiritual markets and courses, i lost connection with reality and found out that my own spouse and his family and an artist and family and coworkers, both men are musicians, abused me in a severe way. At the time i was thinking that i could never lose all my money because even before i started believing in the spiritual movement, i already was a giver, but through the spiritual way of thinking, i just knew that i would always have enough money and all i need to live a good life, because spiritual movement says that what is given, will return but then 10 times more pff so now i am living in poverty for already about 10 years and my ex husband is living with at least enough money to do whatever he wants and the artist has become a multi millionare because i wrote him very long letters where in i told him my thoughts, ideas to spice up his carreer (which was just at the beginning), my wishes, etc., etc., i still have the letters, some are copies and some original because those have been send back to me, worst part of the artist part is, that they act like they are me, they use my authenticity as their image so they look like real nice, honest and trustworthy people while they are just parasiting while they threatened me several times in a severe way and made me look like a stalker. The wife of the artist even began to look like me so much that people that know me think it is me at the photo's in magazines, so that is really scary stuff which made me for awhile even dyed my hair from blond into red because i dont wanna be compared to a person that i know is a big parasite pff I still feel like they have read my private journals, which easily could have happened because of my exhusband, too many things happened and are said by them that remind me of own wishes and the letters that are written. This really is a sick and weird story but i know that artists do copy behavior and characters of good humans which often are unknown people that adore the artist, people that work in showbizzness have told me that it happens a lot and that artists but especially the people around them, like spouse, familymembers and management and so, are the biggest parasites, they even just use the artist to be able to have lots of luxury and money ofcourse. They all look like real decent humans but keep their evil side hidden and at this point the spiritual movement still bothers me because those parasites keep what they have done to me hidden as well so when for a second thinking in a spiritual way, it feels like i am evil, works exact the same as what you wrote in your article: when after positive thinking and visualising things don't work out the way one thought and visualised, then people feel like that it is their own fault because they must have done something wrong, so i know that i am the opposite of evil but it does feel that way whenever i think in a spiritual way. It has been about 7 years ago that i realized that the spiritual movement is just serving parasites but i know that really believing the spiritual movement harms a lot more than anyone thinks because even seven years later at times in a way it still lingers on pff What worries me is that some of my friends are really into the spiritual movement right now and a few times i have tried to talk them out of it by giving good examples about that spiritual texts often say things that don't combine, for instance that people only have to breath because the universe takes care of everything and another text asks what are you doing for the world? so that makes people feel quilty while the other text says that people only have to breath, anyway, i've tried a few times but they sort of got angry with me so i decided to let go for now because i don't want that rotten spiritual movement to be cause of those friendships to end but i am worried, especially because of knowing what happened to me and fact is that persons that are busy with earning money by writing spiritual books, offer help at spiritual markets, teach reiki and such, keep contacting people as long as they know that people still have money to spend, but as soon as they know that no money is left, they suddenly stop mailing or calling, truly happened to me after i really made clear that if i had any money left that i would have come to them for another consult or so, i also told each of them that i really need money because of not being able to even pay the monthly bills and that was the end of contact with each of them because they just quit trying to keep in contact. Anyway, sorry for the long story which still is missing alot of details haha i just can't tell it in a shorter way, i am grateful to know that there are more people that know that the spiritual movement is serving just parasites and i am gonna share the article and more for sure and keep hoping that people that still believe the spiritual movement will read it and realise that they better start making other choices, thank you so much ღ

anonymous Jul 15, 2013 3:54pm

Is external reality fixed? I get that internal reality is fluid, that makes sense to me. I'd say external reality is fluid as well. Over all, I like the way you challenged the idea of manifesting something without taking any kind of action. Plus, failing to see the wonders of life right here and now.

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 5:33pm

    Hey Pamela,

    Great question… fixed in one moment perhaps. There either is a mountain in front of me, or not. But it may not be there in 10,000 years. It's like points & waves… existing both at the same time. Everything is fixed externally for one moment and then it's not…. oh I love this stuff!

anonymous Jul 15, 2013 9:29am

Great article. I have found what you say to be very true, both for myself and for my patients. Of all the work I do with my patients, I think what heals them the most is when we find limiting beliefs and change them through the practice of awareness, acceptance and compassion for what is. I like your math, it is a great way to illustrate these interrelationships. And Bob is also correct. Thoughts, feelings and beliefs lead to actions which lead to results. A careful examination of each element and each arrow in that expression leads to a very effective personal philosophy. Keep up the good work.

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 3:37pm

    Hey Dr. Hall,

    So true – nothing heals like bringing awareness to our limiting beliefs – those filters which are shaping our experience of life in a way that we don't like anymore. Remove the filter and life changes.

    I like that idea of examining each element and the arrows in each expression… I can see more math there!

Bob Weisenberg Jul 15, 2013 8:24am

Enjoyed this, Kara-Leah.

There's another phenomenon I see at work here, too. Simply visualizing something and then sitting on one's ass won't change reality. But often the act of visualizing has an immediate, both conscious and unconscious, effect on actions, which is more likely to lead to the desired change.

If I visualize chocolate chip cookies, and sit on my ass, I won't be enjoying any cookies. But the very act of visualizing them may cause me to bake some or go to the store and buy some. This happens all the time for big life issues, and this is where the true value of "visualization" lies.

When people find books like "The Secret" helpful, and we know many do, this is usually what is going on. In fact, most of these books say this explicitly inside, even if they don't happen to mention it in the marketing hype.

Bob W. Editor
Best of Yoga Philosophy

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 3:34pm

    Hey Bob,

    There's no doubt there's value in visualisation – everything we experience was visualised first. There still has to be an interplay between that internal reality and the external reality to bring that visualisation into ultimate reality. A train of motion… rather than just thought… is set into action.

      anonymous Nov 17, 2014 12:23am

      Kara. For you to be so sure of something that the greatest collective minds through out all of history have not even begun to understand is completely laughable. You say that thoughts can not affect external reality and continue to back up that claim using simple logic. Scientists have proven over and over again that the universe does not behave in a way that is logical to humans. Your arrogance is pitiful.

Read The Best Articles of March
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. She pours her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico, and Bali. 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.