Six years ago, I learned something that derailed my entire mental paradigm.
Remember Newton’s third law of motion? For every action or force in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Then there’s quantum theory, which shows us that when quantum particles are observed, their behavior changes. Observation affects reality.
So what affects observation?
Essentially, our beliefs, preferences, attachments, expectations, fears, emotions, and experiences all get rolled up into one big burrito and, voilà, we’ve got our subjective impression of reality.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself using an example from Elizabeth Gilbert that I love: wherever you are sitting right now, take one minute and focus on everything red in the room. When you’re finished, turn your eyes back to the screen and try to remember everything you saw that was blue.
Exactly. You can’t really…or at least the red overshadows everything else. That’s how we walk through life: filtering reality to fit in the schemas we hold closest.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this. Our brains are wired for survival. Much of what we were forced to deal with long ago was life-threatening. And in the wild, what induces fear—say a gigantic polar bear trying to bite your face off—should be fled from as fast as f*cking possible.
What induces fear for most of us now is what causes cognitive dissonance or runs contrary to our beliefs about reality. It’s what challenges us. It’s also what our brains naturally filter out.
Circling back to gravity, we get what we expect. What we focus on, expands.
If we walk around stressed out and feeling like nothing can ever go right, and we fundamentally believe this to be the way that our lives are going to go, our brains unconsciously feed us more of the same.
So, how do we get out of this cognitive labyrinth and into a reality we actually want?
I like to describe it as attuning to our most authentic self.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras tell us there is no way to stop this madness in the mind, but he does offer a solution: yoga. He defines yoga as the control of the fluctuations of the mind and states that when we obtain this control, we are abiding by our true nature.
We find control by “watching the thinker,” as Eckhart Tolle calls it. We meditate + anchor ourselves to the present.
This is also my definition of the divine: infinite expansion.
My yoga teacher always says, “Calm is our deepest seed.” I think this practice allows us to glimpse the parts of us that endure beyond the physical—and all it takes is consistently showing up.
So try a practice with me:
Commit to at least five minutes every single day on the mat with yourself. Don’t judge or condemn your mind for darting around like a pinball machine. Just watch it and notice what stories it is telling you over and over again.
You realize the story is not fundamentally “you.”
It’s almost like you become the narrator instead of the protagonist in the thick of the plot of your life. You’re still incredibly involved in the story, but you are one frame removed so you can see things from a broader scope.
Rather than trying to fit everything into rigid schemas, what if we paused—especially in trying moments—and tried to actually feel expansion within us? Instead of owning a dusty, unused telescope, what if we showed up to peer through it, glimpsing the ineffable glory of the cosmos?
Things would start to shift—out of the mind and into the heart.
Our lives would become a cosmic dance and we would move with the natural rhythm of our souls.
We would be deliberate creators, allowing everything that we truly want to flow into our experience, rather than creating by default—rather than being dragged around by the mind.
We would begin to plant the seeds of the most expansive states of being: peace, joy, love, health, and abundance.
Our realities wouldn’t be so photoshopped by the mind.
Here’s a simple mantra we can use for our journey: “May our thoughts be the script for the symphony we most deeply desire and may our instrument be our hearts.”
And don’t forget—when we choose to shine our light, the whole world becomes infinitely brighter.
(See the full published article on Elephant Journal here).