Life in the Youniverse


Copyright © Patricia F. Hare.
All rights reserved.

Leading-edge physicists (among others) have been busy lately, telling us that the world we experience is created in consciousness. That day-to-day reality is not determined by forces that exist outside of us but by processes that take place within our individual and collective consciousnesses. In short, they are telling us that what we experience “out there” is a reflection of what we’ve got going on “in here.”

We are getting the message, some of us, but it begs the question: Now that I know, what do I do about it? The answer: Explore the contents of your consciousness and change what you don’t like to be more to your liking. In this simple, elegant way, you can change the Youniverse.

Here’s how it works: The brain, among other things, is a large data storage unit. In it we store the information (ideas, thoughts, images, concepts, belief systems, etc.) we are spoon-fed by our parents, teachers and others when we are small. We add information (new and reinforcing data) to the mix as we grow and have experiences independent of our earlier guides. All this data is stored in the neural structuring of our brain.

Each day, we go about our business taking in data in the form of stimulation (sight, sound, taste, etc.). Data/stimuli that match what is stored in our brains registers (that means we notice it). However, data/stimuli that don’t match go unnoticed. This is one reason why two people can observe the same thing yet report seeing different things. And, it’s a self-reinforcing loop-the stored data determines which data/stimuli will register, which reinforces the storage of existing data/stimuli, which determines what will register, and so on.

On the up side, this loop keeps some consistency going in our experience and helps to stabilize our world. On the down side, it causes us to replay the same scenarios over and over again-sometimes with increasing ferocity as each replay strengthens and expands existing neural structuring.

However, (here comes the most exciting part of this whole article) we can selectively intervene in this loop. Once we get to know what we’ve got stored in this most miraculous storage unit we call a brain, we can make decisions about what we want to continue storing and what we want to replace. As we make those inner changes in our consciousness, our day-to-day experience will reflect them.

The most powerful technique I’ve found to carry out this “selective intervention” is creative visualization. As Jeffrey M. Schwartz, M.D., showed in his work with obsessive compulsive patients, we can change our brains: “…we are seeing evidence of the brain’s ability to remake itself through adult life, not only in response to outside stimuli but even in response to directed mental effort.” [Italics added.] (The Mind and The Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, HarperCollins, 2002, p. 223.) And that’s what creative visualization is: directed mental effort.

So, if there is anything going on in your life that you aren’t all that fond of, don’t waste your time by physically trying to change it. (All that will do, by the way, is reinforce it and keep that loop going.) Instead, take some time to explore the Youniverse: What are your thoughts? Beliefs? Fears? Desires? Loves? Aspirations? What do you focus your attention on each day? The more you know about what you think and feel, the more you can connect the dots to what you are experiencing.

Then, using creative visualization, focus on the thoughts, feelings, ideas, and imagery that are consistent with the new experience you would like to have. If you are able to do this with some regularity, over time, you will change your brain. New brain = new life experience. (And you thought physics was boring!)

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