What you Manifest

What you Manifest

The reality you see right in front of you is the result, and only the result, of the choices you have made. Reality is not happening to you–it is you.

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For the past few days Darbella’s been reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” by Garth Stein, and she passed it on to me.
I’d highly recommend that you read it—however, you might just prepare yourself for a good cry, especially if you’ve loved a dog. I know. Odd, eh?

Anyway, the story is told from the perspective of an old, and incredibly wise dog. I thought, over the next few weeks, that I might segue off of some quotes from the book. I picked ones that were profound, yet needed little of the “back story.

Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.

p 46 large text version

Life without exemption

People want to get all philosophical about the idea that we create our destiny, or our reality. I seldom get much of an argument when the person judges that the experience is positive, but boy is there resistance to “owning” the ‘negative’ stuff.

The reason for this is that we are conditioned to believe in things like ‘right and wrong’, karma, etc. Take karma, for example.

karma
Karma Chameleon

The word karma simply means “volitional action.” Vipaka is often paired with it, and means “result.” Or, cause and effect. That’s all karma means.

It’s been blown all out of proportion, though, and is stretched to mean, “If a bad thing happens to me, I must deserve it, and if I seem innocent of blame, then I must have done something really bad in a former life.”

The same thing happens in Christianity, which has been perverted into this:

[This is] the way “the Protestant work ethic” has been used in the United States to scapegoat poor people for their circumstances. By rationalizing that, by virtue of their unwillingness to work hard, “the poor” are to blame for their own poverty, Americans can comfortably ignore economic injustice. After all, if “those people” are unwilling to lift a finger to help themselves, why should any of the rest of us? And, in a broader sense, why should the government support those who have only their own shiftlessness to blame for their situation? This position, of course, assumes that everyone who “works hard” will be economically fulfilled. The “rags to riches” mythology is a pervasive part of the American subconscious, while the stories of those who work their guts out all of their lives, yet never realize any economic gain, are conveniently glazed over. Those people and families are marginalized, and their life experiences forgotten, because they occur outside of the accepted “work ethic” ideology.“
Blue Mountain Zendo

Shit Happens

The reality of life is that some stuff is actually out of our control. Some stuff wasn’t “created by us”—it, “just happened.” Things like the laws of nature (i.e. gravity,) weather and climate, our genetic makeup, and even some of the “social aspects”—how we were brought up, and by whom. There certainly is a “norm” in each category, and then, there are exceptions—the things we notice. We didn’t “cause” them, and we can’t control them. Think of falling, hurricanes, Down Syndrome, and child abuse. The person experiencing these things is, in a sense “subject” to them, while not the cause of them.

The common denominator

We could spend endless inches of column space on just how “unfair” some situations are. But that is not the point. Of course, many things “shouldn’t” happen. In many cases (i.e., again, child abuse) there are laws meant to punish perpetrators after the fact. But to get caught in the unfairness dialogue is a waste of time, precisely because of our quote, above. 

Let’s be clear: getting caught in an unfair situation is not the “fault” of the person caught. Blaming the perpetrator (or “god,” in the case of natural disasters) is futile. Living your life in reaction to the event is equally futile. Explaining is futile. As adults, what is key is:
given this, what will I do? 

Another quote from The Art of Racing in the Rain:

These are simply the terms we use to describe the phenomena around us. What matters is not how precisely we can explain an event, but the event itself and its consequences… Any problems that may occur have ultimately been caused by you, because you are responsible for where you are and what you are doing there. p 101

Addressing Whom?

Notice this last sentence: “Any problems that may occur have ultimately been caused by you, because you are responsible for where you are and what you are doing there.”

To whom does this refer, and when? 

You. Right now. Me. Right now.

I wish shit didn’t happen to people, and wishes are irrelevant regarding “right here, right now.” Rather than spending time trying to “language” our situation (so as to assign blame), far better to look at where you are, right now, and say after me: 

I am right here, right now. Everything that happened to me happened to me, and where I am and what I am confronting now is totally the result of my choices. I may have spent years blaming “circumstances” for where I am, but here I am, and I got here by making choices. I have created this.”

For example,

  • If your relationship sucks, that would be you, sucking at relating. No one is “making” you do what you do to contribute to the overall sucky-ness. You’re creating what is right in front of you. From this perspective, demanding that your partner change is a bit disingenuous. Or a lot.
  • If you can’t seem to get your life in order, that’s you, standing there, repeating all the things that got you to where you are. I was cleaning files on my computer last night, and I found some e‑mails from a client dated 2001. I read through them, and thought, “She’s still not in touch with her body and her defensiveness, 10 years later. Same shit, different decade.” Why? She’s still afraid of intimacy. 
  • If you aren’t living your passion, it’s not due to a vast conspiracy, but rather is due to your choice to focus on what is holding you back. Your stuckness is your creation. 

If you suddenly confront an “out of your control” situation, you can freeze, briefly wonder “Why me?” and “die,” or you can take action.

I’ve had my last auto accident on my mind lately, and it popped up again. Now this was in 1975 or so, but interesting none-the-less. 

pray
Why isn’t this helping???

I was stopped at a red light, on an Illinois road with a 50 MPH speed limit. I happened to glance up to the rear view mirror, and see a car cresting a small hill behind me. I could tell, in that instant: 
1) the car was going more than 50. 
2) she wasn’t going to be able to stop, and 
3) her reaction to her situation was to scream and take both hand off the wheel, while grabbing either side of her face.

I saw all of this in that “slow motion” thing that happens in such situations. 

I cranked the wheel 60 degrees to the right, and took my foot off of the brake, and “braced for impact.” (Just like Star Trek!) Boom! I had a big, heavy car. I got pushed to the right, missing the car in front of me, and getting off the brake meant minimal damage, under the circumstances. 

No one “wants” to get tail ended at 50 MPH. No one “did this” to me. “God” was not out to get me. I was there, however, because I drove there. That was my reality, in that moment.

Sometimes, all you can do is take your foot off the brake, and brace yourself.

Look around you, and “own” all of it.

This is specifically all about me and my choices. I have set this in motion, I have shown up moment-by-moment and fed this reality, and no one but me is accountable for it. No fault, no blame. I own my here and now.

Just ask a simple question: Is this what I want?

If not, you have two choices, whine, or change something.

Pick another direction, and walk it. Experiment with something new. Break your ties with what (or who) is not working for you, and shift your behaviour.

Then, like the shampoo bottle: wash, rinse, repeat.


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So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

2 thoughts on “What you Manifest”

  1. I love the art of racing in the rain. The part at the end where Enzo is in the field was the only thing that could make me cry in two long years of numbing myself from grief and all the rubbish I was denying in my life. If it hadn’t been for that passage in that book I doubt I’d have cried at all. Funny how even with the biggest defences and barriers I could have imagined I still managed to find what I needed in these few hundred words. 

    I’m fine now, I’ve learnt to grieve and I’m in touch with all my emotions and that passage no longer makes me cry. Today it reminds me love is all around us and we go on; that matter doesn’t die it just becomes something else.

    Reply

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