The world shows up for us. We wake up in the morning, open our eyes, and there it is. Like magic it just appears there.
But here’s the problem. We’ve been conditioned to assume that the reason the world shows up that way, is because that’s the way it is. More or less, we generally believe that the world is the way it appears to us.
If paradigm shifting means anything, it means realizing that we can change the way the world shows up for us, and when we do, we change the world!
We live in a paradigm that teaches us that there is a world that exists separate from us and exists independent of our experiences of it. Even if there was no one in the universe, the cold dark universe would still exist.
We need to question that assumption. The current paradigm rests on a belief that we live in an expanse of empty space filled with material things. That space and those things are assumed to be separate from us and mostly inanimate and unconscious
Because we have been trained to see it that way, that is the way we see it, and we tend to assume that must be the way it is because that’s the way it appears.
Many of us have pursued spiritual practices; meditation, yoga, prayer, fasting, etc., and occasionally we’ve experienced truly mind-altering shifts in awareness that catapult us into a different reality.
Suddenly we realize that all is one, that the divine is everywhere, that everything is made of energy, that love is the only truth – one way or another we have seen beyond the limits of the current paradigm and found ourselves in a very different world.
In these moments of realization, the world shows up for us completely differently. Suddenly we are not in an inanimate universe of empty space. We are in a living universe that is aware and compassionate, and we are not separate from that universe.
For a few minutes, a few hours or a few days, we live in a new reality – a living reality of wholeness. And for those minutes, hours or days, we have no doubt whatsoever that this new world that we find ourselves in is more real than anything we’ve ever experienced before.
Almost inevitably these experiences fade into memory and the world reconfigures into its original form. We feel alone again in an empty universe again. And once our sensibilities have returned to their previous set point, all but the most profoundly innocent of us, will doubt our memories of the living universe and return to the ordinary world.
There are of course, very rare individuals who are so ripe for transformation and have such powerful faith that they never go back. These individuals are so important. They inspire millions of others to pursue a higher life. But it isn’t only the saints among us who can attain lasting transformation.
Our breakthrough experiences can be our best friends on the path to transformation, but not necessarily. You see, too often we assume that the final goal of our spiritual work is a breakthrough experience. We think that having that big experience is the whole point, but those experiences are more often than not just the starting point. They make transformation possible, but they are not the time to stop our spiritual practice. They are more likely a sign that we should lean into our practice even more.
Now is the time to engage even more intensely with the spiritual practices that have given us access to our breakthrough experiences. Over time, our practice will lead to shifts in our perceptual habits. Science tells us that actual neurological changes will happen. The end result is that the world spontaneously shows up differently to us. We live in a different world.
Our practice changes us, in alters our neurological wiring, and opens our senses to more of reality, and as it does the world shows up differently. We occupy a new world.
Where we used to experience separation and division, we experience unity and wholeness. The universe that had seemed unconscious is now awake with wisdom and awareness, and we see how our own thoughts and feelings are connected to that universal source. We are one with a living universe.
This is the most exciting thing to me – the fact that we can actually transform. We can change how we experience the world, and in doing so we can change the world.