Quick note: sorry for the lack of recent updates, I’m currently drowning in a sea of books, paper and essays (i.e. uni is rather hectic at the moment). I’ll try harder, I promise!
Preface: one could easily argue that your perception IS your reality. I mean to distinguish between the two as one within the realm of your control, and one not. As in, you can view having enough money to survive as being wealthy, or you can wish for a million dollars hard cash instead of the $10 you have. The first is your perception of the financial situation, the latter is the reality (the $10, not the million :P).
At the moment there are a lot of books, films, talk shows (ugh), etc. going around that deal with the premise of creative visualization as a means by which the ordinary individual can literally “picture” their life to be happy, and it will be. (And can I just say… uh, well done secular society for finally managing to catch on to creative visualization, it’s only the basis of most witchcraft and magickal practices. At least we don’t [generally] capitalize on it.)
Yes, well that’s not quite how it works. Once again, someone has seen a really great idea (i.e. creative visualization as a tool for attaining the “dream life” that you desire) and not bothered to really think things through or do any research, and thus have produced half-arsed ideas (i.e. the money-accruing “The Secret”) that simultaneously manage to give people entirely the wrong impression, as well as potentially ruining any greater social exploration of a rich topic.
Things like “The Secret” basically promise that if you want something enough, and if you picture it enough, then it will just manifest within your life. Take happiness for example – visualize your life being happy smooth-sailing, and it will be.
Well, again, that’s not strictly true. The nasty reality of existence is that bad things do happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. Just because you want your life to go smoothly doesn’t mean it will. See, in truth, the basis of creative visualization, like any genuine attempt at “self-improvement”, is that you aren’t really attempting to change your surroundings. It’s that you’re trying to change yourself.
After all, what would be the point in suddenly having a great life, if you’re still to arrogant, too materialistic, etc., to be able to appreciate it? No, the real aim of the task is to transform yourself, and more specifically, to transform your perspective; it’s not changing the nature of reality, it’s simply changing your perception of it. Unless you’re extremely fortunate, your life is never going to be completely easy. It’s just that it’ll be easier for you to deal with, if you attempt to change your perspective so that you don’t allow yourself to get so worked up.
That’s largely my own practice these days – it’s not the same as being blindly optimistic, it’s more a kind of laid-back existentialism: nothing in life is fair or unfair, it simply is. It exists, it is being, it is your reality, you’re here and now. So don’t whinge about it; either change it or accept it.
The funny thing is, people buy these books, and they don’t realise that the entire basis of the concept is changing yourself, not your environment/life/surroundings. People like that, well they generally want the easy option; they want their life to be smooth and easy, but they don’t want to have to abandon the attention-seeking “emo-ness”, or be the one who has to take the so-called “moral highground” and walk away from an argument or a melodrama. Most of those people enjoy being victims, yet they want their lives to be easy.
And therein lies the crux of the point of this blog: you want your life to be easier for you, you have to be the one to change it. And by “it”, I don’t mean you change jobs, houses, people, etc. I mean you have to change yourself, as necessary. Yep. That’s right. You may even have to grow as a person, leave the drama, the immaturity, the self-indulgence behind. Because all good things require sacrifice, and you can’t continue to cling onto old habits of immaturity whilst expecting your life to become something great.