Our five senses are constantly bombarded by more stimuli than we could ever consciously attend to. Therefore, we must filter out most of what we perceive and only be aware of a small portion of our total life experience. All that we have chosen to ignore is then stored in our unconscious and superconscious minds.
These “perceptual filters” are created by our beliefs, because it is our beliefs that influence our expectations. In turn, our expectations influence our perceptions. For example, if we believe that the world is a hostile place, we will expect to see an enemy around every corner. Then, someone comes around that corner, a normal someone with a vast and paradoxical range of thoughts and emotions.
Since we believe that the world is hostile, we expect to see an angry threatening person. Therefore, we will be aware of only the portions of that complex person that express anger. We will filter out the portions that are kind and loving and then “defend” ourselves in an angry fashion. With our fear and anger we amplify the fear and anger in this stranger. Voila! We have created an enemy, and we have also reaffirmed our belief that the world is a hostile place.
On the other hand, let us say that our belief is that the world is generally a loving place and that most people are of good nature. Now, on the very same day, at the very same time, we walk around the same corner and meet that same complex person. Because we believe the world is generally a loving place, we expect the approaching person to be friendly. Therefore, we smile warmly and say hello.
Since we are warm and friendly, we amplify the portion of this stranger that is also warm and friendly. Also, we expect a friendly reply, so we filter out the portion of the person that is frightened or angry and choose to perceive the portion of the person that is warm. In this scenario, it is likely that that person will respond in the same manner in which he or she was addressed. Again, we have affirmed our belief by our expectations and the perceptions arising from those expectations.
Creation of Belief Filters
How were the beliefs that created our filters formed? Belief filters are custom made based on a hierarchical system. In other words, what is most important comes first. And, what is most important of all is survival. Inherent in all species is the fear for survival”. Once this fear is activated, we will create systems that provide a primary coping mechanism so that we can survive.
For example, if you are a person who believes that the world is a hostile place then you were likely raised in a frightening environment. Your belief system was indeed necessary for you to reach adulthood. In order to survive early life, you learned to believe that everyone and everything was a possible threat. Therefore, you expected an enemy everywhere and constantly prepared for battle. The external danger was then internalized and the battle continued even though the war was over. Unfortunately, since you are now creating a reality filled with your childhood fear, the war is NOT over.
On the other hand, if you are a person who believes that the world is a loving place you were likely raised in a safe and caring environment. Or, perhaps you worked through your early fear and anger and found a way to believe in love. Either way, you learned to believe that the world is a loving place or, at least, you learned to believe in the power of love. Therefore, you are now able to filter out the surrounding negativity and be aware of the positive.
The fact is, not many of us were able to come into adulthood without some fear, anger, loss or pain. However, if we were somehow able to find love, then we can use our past trauma to recognize real “not perceived” danger so that we can protect ourselves.
All of us are now experiencing, or have experienced, a reality that was created for us by our families, our past, and our society. These realities are based on beliefs that were programmed into our consciousness. Some of these beliefs have assisted us, but some of them have created great limitations in our ability to expect and perceive the positive and loving aspects of our third dimensional life (see unconscious section). Our beliefs can be changed, but habit is powerful. The reality that is familiar brings comfort, even if it is painful. Therefore, how can we break out of the habitual beliefs of the familiar and dare to step into an unknown and unfamiliar reality
Changing our Reality
To change our reality we must change our beliefs. We must transmute our beliefs in fear and limitation into beliefs in love and freedom. When our belief system is based on fear, we feel separate from the world around us because our view is that everyone and everything may try to harm us. However, when we learn to believe in love we feel united with the world. Everyone and everything can then be viewed as a new opportunity to experience love.
Belief in fear and limitation creates a self-image of victim hood, “The world is my enemy and I am its victim.” On the other hand, belief in love and freedom creates a self-image of empowerment, “Somehow I created my reality and since I created it, I can change it.” It is in switching from “living in fear” to “living in love” that we can alter the basis of our belief systems. Only then can we begin to change the reality that we experience. This change takes time and experience, but if we can understand that our experiences are lessons, we can begin our transformation from a dependent victim to a dependable leader. This transformation has three phases: “dependent,” “independent,” and “dependable.”
Everyone moves through these stages of consciousness. Since we are all complex people, we often move through these phases more quickly in some areas of our life and more slowly in others. Usually, it is in the areas of our life where we have experienced love that we can transform quickly and the areas that have caused us fear that transform more slowly. Unfortunately, it is these fear-filled areas of our life that often become our personal nemesis, and we return again and again to address the same old issue in a new way. Fortunately, we each have only a few of these “stuck” places. These areas of our life are our greatest challenge yet they also provide the greatest possibility for growth.