There is a popular saying I often hear circulating among people who are part of the movement to create a new improved paradigm for living and healing that says “you create your own reality”. For me, a far more interesting question to ask is how do you respond to whatever is happening? I don’t believe that there is some magical formula here.
Rather than asserting you can totally create your own reality, I prefer to say that you can choose how to respond to your reality, which consequently affects your reality. How you choose to respond to any given situation colors your perspective. This in turn influences how you experience your reality. Then, because your subjective experience is different, you can also say that your reality is different. So, depending on the nature of your response, you have changed your reality.
For me, the bottom line question is not whether or not we create our own reality, but what we do when things “out of our control” happen—that is, how we receive and respond to whatever occurs.
When something happens in your life and you transform it into a means for growth—even with particularly painful situations like the death of a loved one, undergoing a chronic illness, a business failure and so on—rather than trying to evaluate whether you have done a good or poor job of “attracting” it—it seems to me the real work is how to hold the stance of accepting, even welcoming, all that happens as food for spiritual/personal growth and development.
I am not saying I think we should rejoice when we feel pain and suffering. However, I am suggesting that when you allow the present moment, whatever it is, to somehow become a contribution to your life, it becomes possible to experience even the greatest pain in a way that doesn’t feel oppressive or make you feel like a victim. By keeping the channels open, you can discover how you might use those obstacles either for information or redirection of your qi.
Vicki Dello Joio, founder of The Way of Joy: A Spiritual Fitness program, is a teacher, speaker and performing artist. Integrating over 40 years of Chi Kung practice with other martial arts as well as her work in Yoga, Feldenkreis, physical fitness and theater, Vicki has developed a dynamic set of tools to increase awareness, transform obstacles into opportunities and enhance creative potential. Book: The Way of Joy: An Evolutionary Process to Awaken Inspiration, Focus Intention and Manifest Fulfillment, CD: Short Meditations for a Busy Life.