Familiar memories “re-mind” us to reproduce the same experiences. When you see the same people every day, do the same things, go to the same places, and look at the same objects, the familiar memories of your known world “re-mind” you to reproduce the same experiences.
We could say that the environment is actually controlling your mind. Since the neuroscientific definition of mind is the brain in action, you repeatedly reproduce the same level of mind by “reminding” yourself who you think you are in reference to the outer world. Your identity becomes defined by everything outside of you because you identify with all the elements that make up your external world. Thus, you’re observing your reality with a mind that is equal to it, so you collapse the infinite waves of probabilities of the quantum field into events that reflect the mind you use to experience your life. You create more of the same.
You may not think that your environment and your thoughts are that rigidly similar and your reality so easily reproduced. But when you consider that your brain is a complete record of your past, and your mind is the product of your consciousness, in one sense you might always be thinking in the past. By responding with the same brain hardware that matches what you remember, you’re creating a level of mind that’s identical to the past, because your brain is automatically firing existing circuits to reflect everything you already know, have experienced and thus can predict. According to quantum law (which, by the way, is still working for you), your past is now becoming your future.
Reason this: When you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all the “knowns” in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it. And since your brain is equal to your environment, each morning your senses plug you into the same reality and start the same stream of consciousness.
All of the sensory input that your brain processes from the external world (that is, seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling and tasting) turns your brain on to think equal to everything familiar in your reality. You open your eyes and you know the person lying next to you is your spouse because of your past experiences together. You hear barking outside your door, and you know it’s your dog wanting to go out. There’s a pain in your back, and you remember it’s the same pain you felt yesterday. You associate your outer, familiar world with who you think you are, by remembering yourself in this dimension, this particular time and space.
Our morning routine: Plugging into our past self
What do most of us do each morning after we’ve been plugged into our reality by these sensory reminders of who we are, where we are, and so forth? We remain plugged into this past self by following a highly routine, unconscious set of automatic behaviours. For example, you probably wake up on the same side of the bed, slip into your robe the same way as always, look into the mirror to remember who you are, and shower, following an automatic routine. Then you groom yourself to look like everyone expects you to look and brush your teeth in your usual memorized fashion. You drink coffee out of your favourite mug and eat your customary breakfast cereal. You put on the jacket you always wear and unconsciously zip it up.
Next, you automatically drive to work along your accustomed, convenient route. At work you do the familiar things that you have memorized how to do so well. You see the same people, who push your same emotional buttons, which causes you to think the same thoughts about those people and your work and your life. Later you hurry up and go home, so you can hurry up and eat, so you can hurry up and watch your favourite TV show, so you can hurry up and go to bed, so you can hurry up and do it all over again. Has your brain changed at all that day?
Why are you secretly expecting something different to show up in your life, when you think the same thoughts, perform the same actions, and experience the same emotions every single day? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? All of us have fallen prey to this type of limited life, one time or another. By now, you understand the reason why.
In the preceding example, it’s safe to say that you’re reproducing the same level of mind every day. And if the quantum world shows that the environment is an extension of your mind (and that mind and matter are one), then as long as your mind remains the same, your life will stay “status quo.” Thus, if your environment remains the same and you react by thinking in the same way, then according to the quantum model of reality, shouldn’t you create more of the same? Think of it this way: input remains the same, so the output has to remain the same. How then can you ever create anything new?
Hardwired to hard times
There’s another possible consequence that I should mention if you keep firing the same neural patterns by living your life the same way each day. Every time you respond to your familiar reality by re-creating the same mind (that is, turning on the same nerve cells to make the brain work in the same way), you “hardwire” your brain to match the customary conditions in your personal reality, be they good or bad. There’s a principle in neuroscience called Hebb’s Law. It basically states that “nerve cells that fire together, wire together.” Hebb’s credo demonstrates that if you repeatedly activate the same nerve cells, then each time they turn on, it’ll be easier for them to fire in unison again. Eventually those neurons will develop a long-term relationship.
So when I use the term hardwired, it means that clusters of neurons have fired so many times in the same ways that they’ve organized themselves into specific patterns with long-lasting connections. The more these networks of neurons fire, the more they wire into static routes of activity. In time, whatever the oft-repeated thought, behaviour or feeling is, it’ll become an automatic, unconscious habit. When your environment is influencing your mind to that extent, your habitat becomes your habit.
So if you keep thinking the same thoughts, doing the same things and feeling the same emotions, you’ll begin to hardwire your brain into a finite pattern that is the direct reflection of your finite reality. Consequently, it will become easier and more natural for you to reproduce the same mind on a moment-to-moment basis. This innocent response cycle causes your brain and then your mind to reinforce even further the particular reality that is your external world. The more you fire the same circuits by reacting to your external life, the more you’ll wire your brain to be equal to your personal world. You’ll become neurochemically attached to the conditions in your life. In time, you’ll begin to think “in the box,” because your brain will fire a finite set of circuits that then creates a very specific mental signature. This signature is called your personality.
How you form the habit of being yourself
As an effect of this neural habituation, the two realities of the inner mind and outer world seem to become almost inseparable. For instance, if you can never stop thinking about your problems, then your mind and your life will merge together as one. The objective world is now coloured by the perceptions of your subjective mind, and thus reality continuously conforms. You become lost in the illusion of the dream. You could call this a rut, and we all fall into them, but it goes much deeper than that, not just your actions, but also your attitudes and your feelings become repetitive. You have formed the habit of being yourself by becoming, in a sense, enslaved to your environment. Your thinking has become equal to the conditions in your life, and thus you, as the quantum observer, are creating a mind that only reaffirms those circumstances into your specific reality. All you are doing is reacting to your external, known, unchanging world.
In a very real way, you have become an effect of circumstances outside of yourself. You have allowed yourself to give up control of your destiny. Unlike Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day, you’re not even fighting against the ceaseless monotony of what you are like and what your life has become. Worse, you aren’t the victim of some mysterious and unseen force that has placed you in this repetitive loop—you are the creator of that loop. The good news is that since you created this loop, you can choose to end it.
The quantum model of reality tells us that to change our lives we must fundamentally change the ways we think, act and feel. We must change our state of being. Because how we think, feel and behave is, in essence, our personality. It’s our personality that creates our personal reality. So to create a new personal reality, a new life, we must create a new personality; we must become someone else. To change, then, is to think and act greater than our present circumstances, greater than our environment.
Before I begin to explore the ways in which you can think greater than your environment and to thus break the habit of being yourself, I want to remind you of something. It is possible to think greater than your present reality, and history books are filled with people who have done so—men and women such as Martin Luther King, Jr., William Wallace, Marie Curie, Mahatma Gandhi, Thomas Edison and Joan of Arc. Every one of these individuals had a concept in his or her mind of a future reality that existed as a potential in the quantum field. This vision was alive in an inner world of possibilities beyond the senses, and in time, each of these people made those ideas a reality.
As a common thread, they all had a dream, vision or objective that was much larger than they were. They all believed in a future destiny that was so real in their minds that they began to live as if that dream was already happening. They couldn’t see, hear, taste, smell or feel it, but they were so possessed by their dream that they acted in a way that corresponded to this potential reality ahead of time. In other words, they behaved as if what they envisioned was already a reality.
For example, the imperialist dictums that had India under colonial rule in the early 1900s were demoralizing to Indians. Despite that, Gandhi believed in a reality that wasn’t yet present in his people’s lives. He wholeheartedly endorsed the concepts of equality, freedom and nonviolence with undying conviction. Even though Gandhi endorsed liberty for all, the reality of tyranny and British control at that time was quite different. The conventional beliefs of that era were in contrast to his hopes and aspirations. Although the experience of liberty was not a reality while he was initially engaged in changing India, he did not let outward evidence of adversity sway him to give up this ideal.
For a long time, much of the feedback from the external world didn’t show Gandhi that he was making a difference. But seldom did he allow the conditions in his environment to control his way of being. He believed in a future that he could not yet see or experience with his senses, but which was so alive in his mind that he could not live any other way. He embraced a new future life while physically living his present life. He understood that the way he was thinking, acting and feeling would change the current conditions in his environment. And eventually, reality began to change as a result of his efforts.
When our behaviours match our intentions, when our actions are equal to our thoughts, when our minds and our bodies are working together, when our words and our deeds are aligned…there is an immense power behind any individual.