With many millions of subscribers, the Calm app has been a huge success. If, like me, you are a regular user, you may have heard the story of the Wishing Tree which featured in the Daily Calm recently. I use the app as part of my morning 101010 (find out more about this daily practice here) and this old Indian parable sparked an interesting thought process about creating our own reality.
The Wishing Tree
The story goes that a traveller was wandering through the forest and started to feel tired and hungry, so he stopped for a rest and sat with his back resting on a splendid old tree.
“I’m so hungry,” he thought, “I’d love something to eat.” Within an instant, some fresh, succulent food appeared before him. A tad bewildered, he tucked in to the food. As he did so, he thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to have some fresh water to wash this food down?” Lo and behold, a glass of fresh water appeared and he drank his fill.
This chain of events continued as he thought of a comfortable bed to sleep on, then a house to live in and eventually a beautiful, intelligent wife to keep him company. The whole thing seemed just perfect!
Then the direction of his thoughts changed. “Why is this happening to me? I’m not this lucky in life! Surely it’s all happened by accident?” And the moment he thought this, all of the wonderful things disappeared in an instant. “See!” he thought, “I was right!”
Life imitates art
While this is a lovely tale and somewhat amusing, in my experience this is actually how life works! We have thoughts, believe them to be true, act on and react to them, and ultimately end up physically manifesting the thoughts and creating our own reality.
We then see this physical reality and say, “See – I was right! Thank goodness I did this/didn’t do that…” But the truth is, if we take time to reflect, we realise that the whole thing started as a thought, a story in our minds.
As I see it, this is how we achieve creating our own reality:
- We do not control the thoughts that come into our minds (well, I haven’t learned to anyway!) but we can choose which thoughts we pay attention to. All too often it’s the ‘noisier’ negative thoughts we pay most attention to, and this is where it can start to go wrong.
- There is no feeling without a prior thought. Our feelings only ever come from our thinking. Because our feelings are real, we believe the whole experience of our thinking to be reality. As Michael Neill says, “We only ever live in the feeling of our thinking in the moment.”
- We act on this belief and react to what we believe to be true. With these actions, we impact others and then (sometimes instantly, sometimes over time), their subsequent actions create the reality that was previously purely in our heads.
We all do this unwittingly every day and, in doing so, can cause ourselves no end of struggle, anxiety, stress, upset and angst.
The importance of a quiet mind
When I have negative feelings, I try to lean in to them and understand the thinking that is behind them. This attempt to ‘consume’ them rather than allowing them to consume me prevents me from being at their mercy.
As Jack Pransky writes in his book, “Somebody Should Have Told Us!”, our thinking is like a big brass band and our inner wisdom like a solo flute. When the big brass band is playing, we never hear the flute. To hear your inner wisdom, that is always there to guide you, you need to have a quiet mind. As your thinking settles, like the snow in the snow globe, the real picture reveals itself.
I see feelings as a dashboard in a car, giving us warning signals and information to guide us in the right direction at the right speed, but we are still the driver. By having a quiet mind, we can take better notice of the signals; we can navigate our journey with higher consciousness, less expectation and a deep joy and compassion for what plays out.
When this happens, we are more open for the ‘everyday miracles’ to appear and happy to accept them. Rather than calling this serendipity or luck, I know that it’s because we’ve heard greater wisdom from within, experienced deeper connections with others and found an inner peace. Creating our own reality is really quite addictive!
Create your own success
When I came across this realisation five or six years ago it changed my life. Since then I try to see the easier path that is always in front of me.
When mentoring clients, my focus is on helping them to have more fun being themselves than ever before in their lives, and understanding how creating our own reality in every moment of every single day is key to achieving that.
It leads to incredible results in a business context too, which is no surprise to me. We call this growing Profit and Smiles. If you’re interested in hearing more, please get in touch and let’s chat about what we could do for you and your teams.
Here’s what our mentees have said about working with us:
- “I have grown and am more successful as a leader”
- “My team became more collaborative, motivated and focused”
- “I’m more focused on what matters…including the development of my people”
- “We outperformed all but one [country organisation] in the world”
- “My personal impact on the business has been more effective, which has driven sales and the development of my team”