Do We Really Create Our Own Reality?

Young woman meditation on the beach

There’s a school of thought in spiritual circles that ascribes to the idea that everything that happens in our lives—the blissful things, the growth edge things, the horrid things—all happens with purpose. This spiritual teaching suggests that everything reflected in our lives is the result of our conscious or unconscious desires, and that when things aren’t going our way, it’s because the blueprint of the subconscious actually desires the very thing we think we don’t want. In other words, we may believe that we want to meet the love of our life, or we may hope to have the cancer cured, but if someone were to muscle test us or read the subconscious mind intuitively, we would discover that at the level of the subconscious, we’re actually terrified of falling in love because of a past heartbreak, or the cancer is meeting some core need for rest, connection, or freedom from a toxic job, for example.

“Wait!” you say. “But I really DO want to find The One!” Or “Hang on a minute! I swear I want to be cured of my cancer.” Or “Watch it now. Are you suggesting that my business is failing because I want it to fail?”

Yes, and no. Those who promote this viewpoint are not suggesting that you CONSCIOUSLY want a crappy love life or cancer or failure in your business. They’re saying you subconsciously want it, and because your subconscious is in charge 95% of the time, this subconscious blueprint will sabotage the very thing your conscious mind wants to create. They say that everything in your life, you create. The good, the bad, the ugly—it’s all up to you.

Yeah! We Are Not Victims!

I find myself simultaneously attracted to and challenged with this viewpoint. The good news is that if this is true, and everything in our reality is the direct out-picturing of our subconscious blueprint, then we are not victims! We are empowered! If we are sick, or broke, or heartbroken, or grieving, or pained with unmet longing for something we don’t yet have, then we should be able to simply change the blueprint by reprogramming the conscious and subconscious mind, something we are increasingly able to do through energy psychology techniques.

I’ve witnessed and personally experienced seemingly miraculous outcomes from those who employ these techniques towards cancer or money issues or the desire for a dream to come true. So that seems kind of awesome. Heal the subconscious blueprint, and voila! Your 3D reality shifts almost instantaneously. You meet the love of your life. The cancer disappears. Your business takes off like a rocket ship to superstardom.

But Hang on a Second . . . 

If this is the case, we should always be able to control outcomes in our lives and get what we want. The message is “You can have the perfect life! Whatever you desire, you can have—as long as you do more. Try harder. If you’re not getting everything you want, it’s all your fault—and you can change it.”

But then this sounds like yet another grasping strategy for how to get what the ego wants, a spiritual spin on how to control the Universe. This viewpoint also strikes me as cruel. If a mother loses her child, does this mean she subconsciously wants to lose her baby? Or that her baby subconsciously has a death wish? If a woman has stage 4 cancer but is fighting for her life with every possible treatment, does that mean that, at least subconsciously, she has lost the will to live? Does that mean that Syrian refugees subconsciously wish to be tortured and forced to flee their homes, running for their lives into a world that doesn’t want to welcome them and keep them safe? Does that mean that the poverty-stricken are subconsciously stuck in scarcity thinking? Such a viewpoint doesn’t feel benevolent or loving to me, not one bit. And how can we claim to be spiritual if we’re not deeply rooted in compassion, able to be with someone’s suffering as a source of comfort?


I certainly can’t claim to know how to explain the cause and effect of 3D reality. What if we’re humble enough to acknowledge that the way the Universe operates is one big phat mystery? What if we’re all here for some unspecified purpose, and our souls are here to learn God knows what, and the Universe is conspiring to shower us with blessings—but those blessings may not be wrapped up in nice neat little packages? What if our wishes and desires are duly noted, but in some unseen realm, our souls are in cahoots with a wise, loving Universal Intelligence that participates in orchestrating our reality so that we can learn exactly what we’re here to learn so we can grow closer to whatever you might call God, so we can become more benevolent, more compassionate, more gentle, more humble, more unconditionally loving?

What if the Rolling Stones are right? Maybe we can’t always get what we want, but somehow, we get what we need?

I don’t know how these things work. I played around with these ideas in my upcoming book The Anatomy of a Calling: A Doctor’s Journey from the Head to the Heart and a Prescription for Finding Your Life’s Purpose, which you can preorder here. But I ask more questions these days than I dare to answer.

All I can conclude is that when it comes to spiritual teachings like this, we need to hold our viewpoints lightly. Be curious. Wonder. Be willing to participate in the co-creation of reality. Stay humble. Remain open for awe. If things go the way you wish, stumble into gratitude wholeheartedly. And if not, be exquisitely tender with your heart. Find the gifts in the challenges without blaming yourself or wallowing in a victim story, but also be kind and acknowledge that it is hard to be human, and we’re all doing the best we can.

If nothing else, practice compassion for all beings. Including yourself. BE love. Close your eyes right now and feel it. You are loved. Everything in the universe is conspiring to support you. Everything is going to be okay. . .


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