When I studied philosophy at university, one of the first thought experiments we examined was the “brain in a jar” argument. It goes something like this.
What if all you really are is a brain kept in a jar by a mad scientist? Connected to a computer by a series of wires which fire electrical impulses to create the illusion of the world around you, of other people, of your own body, your senses, your emotions, and thoughts. Basically it’s like the premise of The Matrix movies. Reality is an illusion manipulated by someone else.
The scary part is, there’s no real way to disprove this theory because all of what we perceive as reality, IS perceived as electrical impulses via our brain.
Let’s just assume for now we are not brains in jars, but ask ourselves, how do we know what we think is “reality” is real? And what is “real” anyway? How come when we dream we can manifest all sorts of realities without needing any physicality to do so? Yet when awake we are bound to our ideas about the material laws – which are constantly changing anyway.
Humans once believed the Earth was flat, at the centre of the universe, that thunder was the Gods getting angry. Modern physics has showed us that we are not solid matter, but electrons whirling in space. And just look at the idea of brain plasticity, which was not scientifically accepted until relatively recently. So many limiting ideas that we once believed as true. How many of our current ideas that limit our thinking will be scientifically disproved in the future?
Our minds are attached to an idea of sameness, of a consistent, limited, physical reality, but really we are always changing. Every breath in and out changes our body chemistry, we are not in the same bodies we were in 5, 10, 15 years ago. Change is the only constant in the physical world.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Heraclitus
Emotions come and go like the weather. The joke in Melbourne is if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes, it will change. Are not our emotions the same?
So what is this ultimate reality we cling to? Why do we so readily dismiss the idea of creating “reality” out of thoughts and intentions as fanciful? If you take away the perception of the solidness of matter, if we are just energy floating in space, then any sense of sameness and stability is an illusion. These are all just concepts in our mind.
See how quickly your reality changes when you cease to imagine yourself as a solid being on solid ground, and imagine yourself as a cluster of energy suspended in space?
As William Blake famously said all things were once only imagined, a chair, a wheel, an aeroplane, a computer.
I may not have manifested a chair, a computer, or even a new place to live, but I have noticed the frequency of serendipity and little clusters of “coincidence” have increased since I began this blog. Things like specific authors or books will be mentioned by several people within a day, even though I’d never heard them mentioned before. I think of something and it crosses my path within a day or so, without me actively seeking it out. I’ll ask a question in my morning meditation and it will be answered by a person, book, or something I read or see or hear later that day.
I have to admit these – albeit small – demonstrations of my power to manifest intentions in this way actually freaks me out and my reaction is to recoil from this gift. In the past I have ceased meditation or ritual practice when I have seen the inklings of tangible results. I worry about what I might invoke with this burgeoning sense of power. As Marianne Williamson said, in her beautiful book, A Return to Love:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
If we are always changing anyway, why not change with imagination? Why not use our imagination to direct change to where we would have it be? Why not own as much of our power as we can?
“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein
A recent study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that our imagination can affect how our senses experience the world.
“This is the first set of experiments to definitively establish that the sensory signals generated by one’s imagination are strong enough to change one’s real-world perception” Professor Henrik Ehrsson, principle investigator.
If imagination and sensory stimulation can alter how we perceive the world around us, it means your mind can create reality at the brain neuronal level. This has profound repercussions for the potential of using the imagination, through visualization and affirmations, to change our perception of reality.
So just ask yourself, what would my imagined world be like?
I am living in a healthy, sustainable world, full of abundance, love, peace, and care for everyone. This world has plentiful clean air, fresh water, and organic food. It is full of bountiful nature, trees, water, plants, animals and sky. There is plenty for everyone – we respect, are thankful for, and share all the bounty the earth has to offer. This world is in perfect harmony.
Let’s finish with this affirmation:
In my imagination, I am creating the world I wish to live in. As I imagine this harmonious world, I change myself and change the world, as we are truly one.
The Imagination study: