For most of us, the idea that we form our reality for ourselves has to be accepted gradually. Such a concept contradicts most of the basic “assumptions of life” that we’ve learned in the course of growing up.
The heart of any kind of inner work revolves around learning to create our reality consciously. The internal work that we do involves the “raw material” of our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Dealing with our own concepts – enlarging them, transforming them – may seem beside the point when we’re struggling to grow, heal and achieve more satisfaction in our lives. But this is only because we’ve largely lost the ability to perceive the picture of our lives as being the end result of our ideas. The reality, nonetheless, remains: If we want to transform our lives then we must change our ideas about ourselves.
No kind of therapy or practice can accomplish this for us. This is the difficult part. We have to somehow alter our beliefs even when doing so may seem to contradict “the reality of things” as we have perceived it thus far. We have to believe that our life is self-created and then have faith that we can actually change the beliefs that we hold.
It may sound like a lonely journey. But the deeper we delve within ourselves the more we encounter the enduring ties that bind us to our fellow human beings and to the whole rest of life. We really are connected to everything else that lives, every expression of consciousness, and by awakening spiritually we can come to know this truth in a very visceral way.
If we feel separate and isolated then we can see how this is actually just a trick of the mind. Our sense of loneliness is the result of limiting beliefs that we can shed – once we become aware of them. It is not an established “fact”. We are the ones who created what we consider to be the facts of our lives in the first place.
Nothing out there in the world can really give us what we’re seeking. Many spiritual traditions have recognized this truth, but some have distorted it, proclaiming that we must transcend or deny the world – or, that we must quench all desire within ourselves and become egoless. All of these doctrines miss the point. The physical world is there for us to enjoy, but it is not the source of our joy. Rather, we are the source of our world. It serves as a mirror for us. This is a liberating realization for anyone doing inner work to attain.
Another benefit of inner work is the enduring peace of mind that it can bring. Seeing our lives as our personal creations – and our challenges as self-chosen – can offer us immense relief. We’re no longer leaves at the mercy of the wind. The world’s crazy turnings don’t bring us as much fear and distress as they did before because we understand the reasons for our own involvement in those dramas.