Change Starts With You

You can be certain that perception is reality. Our lives tend to get very complex, and at the end of the day things get very simple. We go to sleep. Such is the way of science, particularly as it relates to discoveries involving the brain. Neuroscientist David Eagleman sums up decades of scientific research using this simple statement: “Our perception of reality has less to do with what is happening ‘out there’ (in the world) and more to do with what’s happening ‘in here’ (in the brain). We do not see things as they are but rather as we are.”

Most of us intuitively know this, but like everyone else, we just are not able to put our finger on how this is actually possible. We hear the mantra “change starts with you” but have no real way of knowing what that means in a practical way. One thing is for certain: you can only fix a problem that you know exists. Hearing someone say “You don’t know what you don’t know” only illustrates how frustrating life can be.

When my son is over the top on his reaction to an event, I have shown him how I would handle the same situation, explaining how he can benefit by modelling my response. It is equally important that I model for my daughter the importance of standing up for herself. The question is, if we are modelling behaviors of suffering and pain, how can we ask our children to live lives of happiness?

If “You don’t know what you don’t know” then the only reality that we have to offer other people is what we project from our own mind. In order to be able to offer anything else, we need to change the content of our own minds. Your words and actions are the light of the projector, and the only way we can project a different picture is by changing the scenes in our mind. The problem is, when we hear and see other people’s words and actions they are required to match the scenes in our own mind in order to make any sense. For new or different information to be accepted into our minds we have to realize that what there is to know and the number of possibilities for us to change are infinite. This is clearly our personal responsibility, yet with that responsibility comes the empowerment to effect change within our own lives.

To project something in words or actions requires you have some content to project. What you project is essentially a mirror image or a reflection of what is known to you. Judging others requires us to make the other person’s words and actions match the contents of our own mind. Dissatisfaction comes from analyzing the other person through your own knowledge base. In the same way, when the projected content matches our own, there is understanding, agreement, and beauty found in the world.

Think about a book you first read and thought it was garbage. It did not end up there, but you kept it on your shelf. A couple of years later you pick it up to see if it is still bad as it was before, then decide it is an awesome read. Did the book change? No, but it is obvious your perception of the content of the book changed. When movie and book critics (they are called critics because they are projecting their knowledge base on to you) write their approval or disapproval, they are making the case for the content to change based on their own criteria. How is this possible if you know that your perception is neurologically-based and is fixed unless you are willing to add to or change the information in your knowledge base?

The Blame Game is always fun to play because there are so many things that are willing to play: our past, the world in general, politics, the economy. There is a comfortable feeling that goes with The Game because we can freeze time by keeping us where we are, and take on the avatar of The Victim. One of the rules of The Game is to maintain the status quo at all costs. We will have to make a choice: either continue to play The Game and not get the results we hope to get from our lives or to quit playing The Game.

Choosing to quit playing The Game is difficult to do when maintaining the status quo is one of the most important rules of The Game. To power off instead of respawning requires a good deal of courage and personal commitment. Once powered off, we need to keep moving and growing, focusing on taking responsibility of our own lives – and keeping the power off. Then you will begin to see the results you have been hoping for without looking for the approval of the status quo.

How you arrived at the point you currently are at, with all of its problems and challenges, we all are, at this moment, responsible to make do with what we have. However your brain has been filled with the thoughts, actions, words, and decisions of others, the future quality of your life is squarely in your lap, to do with as you will. We can choose to change our knowledge base and project a different picture to others. You are smart enough to know when your smartphone is not working, and you make the choice to either fix it or simply leave it broken. All the unresolved negative emotions, perceived limitations, and overall dissatisfaction with our lives is not going anywhere unless we choose to fix it. It is an investment of time and energy, of love and patience. But the investment extends far beyond our own life, affecting the planet and the future generations of our children. It takes a strong will and determination to regularly practice erasing old habits and working to change the information stored in the knowledge base of our brain. We exercise our bodies, why not our brains?

Once we begin to focus on the positives that exist in our lives, we can then experience the true benefit of change. We already have a wealth of information to use, both in our own knowledge base and that which exists outside of ourselves. By choosing change, we project change to others around us, and we personally experience the results of our efforts. The neurons in our brains glow with change, creating a brain-chain reaction that benefits everyone. But the beginning of change is always a choice, and the choice is what we decide to focus on. The final decision is always our own.