“I think that cognitive scientists would support
the view that our visual system does not
directly represent what is out there in the world
and that our brain constructs a lot of the
imagery that we believe we are seeing.”
climber, wilderness photographer
Is what you see really there? Surely what’s in front of your eyes is as real as can be?
Beleive it or not, this is true:
The world you see around you is mostly made up – by you, inside your head. Very little of what’s “out there” actually goes into the version of the world you live in.
How you create what you see
The visual cortex is the part of the brain that creates what we seeing. But only 20% of the nerves going to the brain’s visual cortex come from the eyes. The remaining 80% of them come from other parts of the brain, which dealing with things like memory. So the largest portion of what we see is created from our memories.
So what do you think now? Is what you see real? The famous British neuropsychologist, Richard Gregory said that 90% or even more of our perceptions is made up of our memories. He says, “we project sensations of consciousness into the external world”.
It means that our memories and previous experiences have a big role in how we experience the world. This is an astounding fact! If we can change this dependence on our past, we can see ourselves as new individuals, and build new worlds and new futures for ourselves.
It can happen spontaneously. Some experiences are so intense they can be life-changing. A new job, someone new you meet, books you read, even movies and songs can sometimes break through the memory conditioning. Then we can see ourselves and our world in a different light. This changes our actions and the circumstances we live in change accordingly.
How to Change your Reality
But waiting for something to happen is an unreliable way of creating a new world, a new you. You can take control of what goes on in your head and shape it closer to your desires.
Your past experiences shape your beliefs about the world. These beliefs control your thoughts and actions. They effectively create the world you live in. It is possible to get to grips with these beliefs, and change them if and when you have to.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
One of the quickest and most effective ways of doing this is CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). That might sound like a mouthful, but what it means is that it helps you to examine your thoughts and beliefs. Then you can see what’s helpful and harmful about them. You can change the harmful ones to more helpful ones. CBT is a powerful tool to change your life.
One of the great things about CBT is that you can do it yourself. There are many ways to get access to the techniques of CBT. (An online way to do this is at www.moodgym.com.au. This is a program devised by staff at the National Institute for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, and it’s not very expensive)
There are also good books on CBT. Search Amazon of one of the other bookstores for “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy”.
Another easy and efective way of changing your ideas about yourself and the world is through hypnotherapy. That’s why hypnosis is widely acknowledged as an effective way to create change in your life. Again, it’s something you can learn to do yourself – self-hypnosis. Don’t be frightened off by the word. Hypnosis is not the mysterious or dangerous power that many of us take it to be. In fact, all of us fall into light hypnotic trances several times each day – each time we go to sleep is one example. Self-hypnosis is one of the most useful things we can learn. It can help us to stop smoking, lose weight, become more assertive, a better leader, more successful… the list goes on.
So, once again: Is what you see real? No, there’s a lot more to it than that. We make up most of the reality we live in . And that means we can change it if we want to. We can be the best we want to be
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