Joy is a choice. So is fear.
And although it may seem obvious which one is more desirable, making a conscious decision about which one you want to experience isn’t always an easy feat. Or rather, it isn’t always easy realizing that you do indeed have the power to choose, in every situation. But rest assured that you do.
Experience has taught me this time and again, and today I’m going to begin to share with you a new way to look at fear and risk while travelling, how to spot when a limiting belief rears its ugly head, and how using this new perspective played out in my own experience. Because I want to cover a lot with this topic, I’ve broken it up into two separate articles. In this first article, I advise you to buckle your seat belts, because we’re going to look fear straight in the face, face the shadows of your mind, challenge how you perceive danger and safety, and nearly kill a cat.
Beliefs are always a choice
As you travel more and more, you will encounter more and more people who amaze you, annoy you, excite you, weird you out, and inspire you. And this is all by design, and extremely instrumental for your growth as a person. Occasionally however, you will come across a thought pattern that conflicts with your personal experience in a certain area. For instance, you may encounter a person who insists that a certain drink you don’t enjoy (for instance, cow’s milk) is important for your health. Now whether or not you’ve been very healthy for years without this hypothetical food item is usually not the person’s concern. They have their belief, and they may even feel that it’s their personal duty to “save” you.
Similarly, you may meet someone who believes that riding a particular bus or train service is fraught with terrible danger; and they may proclaim that you won’t make it out alive, despite the fact that you may have ridden this bus or train dozens of times and found that other kind people were aboard, as well.
While the first is merely the example of someone who is misinformed, the second is far more insidious. It is the projection of a belief system based around fear. And often this fear isn’t perceived as a choice by one who harbors the fear. Instead, it is merely thought of as a “fact of life” or worse, clung to like a security blanket. But these beliefs are always, and ever, a choice. And the real truth comes out when they are tested and verified. The process of realizing that a fact needs to be tested and carefully picked apart and weighed before it can be believed is the process of Discernment, and it is a life saver.
Shell of Your Understanding
Often when travelling, I come across individuals who harbor vast range of limiting beliefs like this. They may be terrified to use a certain service of which I know to be safe, or spooked at even the mention of visiting a certain place that I’ve found to be quite enjoyable. And to be completely frank, when this happens it makes me sad. It makes me sad because I see a powerful being, a human being, who can create whatever they want in their life, who can set their course for any rising star… and they choose to succumb to fear. They choose to give their power away to something outside themselves, and in doing so, keep themselves in a box of their own making.
Yet if they fail to explore even the nearest boundaries of their beliefs, how will they ever break the shell that encloses their understanding?
Perceptions aren’t always Truth
As the above examples illustrate: Other People’s Perceptions are not Truth. This is very important. A person can perceive the truth, yes, but the truth always goes deeper than any one person can understand. A perception alone is not truth any more than an eye is a beam of light. Or put another way, the chances of any one person’s fears coming true are always probabilistic, meaning they aren’t set in stone. If you go to XYZ place at XYZ time, there is no guarantee of anything, because that’s the nature our shared reality. Many minds are creating their lives here, and there are uncounted numbers of variables to consider. The process of making smart choices is about understanding risk as well as understanding the bias of the person warning. However, as we shall see, you can bend these probabilities to your whims, to your side.
Anyone may perceive danger. Anyone may perceive safety. Different people may see opposites. Even in the same place. Even at the same time. You may have noticed this in your own life, and when this occurs it means that the two people have profoundly different beliefs about what they’re perceiving. That is because perception is filtered through their belief system just like light filters through shaded sunglasses. But as my most recent longterm trip reinforced, it’s much more than that. Much, much more.
Observation is Creation
You may be familiar with the famous Schrödinger’s cat experiment in which teeny-tiny reactions happening at the quantum scale affect something on our not-so-tiny everyday scale. What Schrödinger had no idea of when he invented the thought experiment was that it was also the perfect way to explain why our perceptions effect our reality in such a profound way, even to the extent of actually creating reality around what we expect to see.
In the thought experiment, famous physicist Erwin Schrödinger envisions a sealed box containing:
- A living cat
- A container of poison
- A Geiger counter
- A radioactive triggering mechanism
If the Geiger counter detects radiation from the radioactive trigger, it shatters the container of poison thereby killing the cat. However, the radioactive trigger is decaying so slowly that there is only a 50/50 chance that it will trigger the Geiger counter an hour after the experiment is begun.
Because the trigger is a radioactive process, quantum physics comes into play. Therefore, after this one hour has elapsed, both realities have been superimposed upon the box.
When you apply quantum mechanics to an everyday scale, strange things happen. This thought experiment implies both possible outcomes of the experiment exist simultaneously… until the box is open. But before we open the box, the cat would simultaneously be dead from the poison and alive and well because the poison never would have been released. Basically, before you open the box, the outcome of the experiment is like a “wave” and not a particle. It’s not a realized reality yet. However, when you look into the box you “collapse the wave”, and you see the cat either alive or dead. By observing the experiment, an outcome is decided. By measuring what has happened, you create the outcome.
Obviously a cat can’t be both alive and dead at the same time, right?
At least, it can’t in our shared reality. But this is precisely what happens on the atomic level with quantum physics… all the time. (Just ask your local quantum physicist.) Clearly the Universe is a lot more weird than we could have ever imagined.
The Focus-Reflection Model of Reality
Schrödinger, who was a personal friend of Albert Einstein, designed this thought experiment to show how the behavior of particles behaving as waves in the quantum scale just didn’t make sense in the our everyday world. In fact, he described that if this model of reality were true on the everyday scale, if the cat were actually in both states at once, it would be a “blurred model” for representing reality. And while Schrödinger clearly has trouble accepting this as how reality works in his original article, he does admit that, “In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory…” since “There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.”
What if Schrödinger didn’t take his idea far enough? Or, taking another angle, what if he did take it farther but no one would publish any ideas “crazier” than that?
Schrödinger’s “blurred model” of reality could better be described as the “Focus-Reflection Model” of reality. Meaning, what a person focuses on is what coalesces, manifests, and reflects back to them in their reality. I’ve seen firsthand how my own (and others) beliefs dramatically shape the reality around them. In the past, I’ve written about how this can happen in outright weird ways. In fact, if you’re not familiar with the intention-manifestation model of reality (also known as the “Law of Attraction”), I highly recommend you read “How I Solved my Travel Dilemma in 60 Seconds using the Law of Attraction” as it will give you greater clarity on what I’m describing here.
But if I had to sum it up, I’d say that, based on what we’re learning about the true nature of reality, you shape your life more than you could ever realize. Events that you think are out of your control… are reflections of you. Your specific set of beliefs, attitudes, and expectations affect what the wave collapses into.
You are the one who decides if the cat lives.
Very well written, in-depth analysis of subjective reality. One thing that travel can do for us, if we allow it to, is expose us to the different ways other people in other cultures see the world. One way is never the “right” way.
Excellent article. I’ll be including this in my next blog carnival.
People seem to try to protect others from there own fears rather than thinking about the given situation.
You took this subject deeper than I thought it could go.
@ Jennifer, Mark
Very glad you enjoyed the article! It seemed to flow out of me quite organically. And Jennifer, you’re quite right, travel opens us up to possibilities hitherto unimagined.
That’s quite true. People are projecting all the time, and they seldom realize it. The trick is realizing where your own bias starts and the real truth begins. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. 🙂
I saw this at the Law of Attraction carnival. This is both legit and awesome. I didn’t expect it to go to quantum mechanics and back, but I’m glad it did. I also didn’t know Schrödinger was a personal friend of Einstein.
I have genuinely learned something, thank you!
Before I did research for this article, I didn’t know he was a personal friend of Einstein either, but the research proved most enlightening.
Yes, it is interesting. Everything ends up relating to quantum mechanics at the end of the day, doesn’t it? 😉
Very informative post. I enjoyed it quite a bit. True enough, we each hold our own subjective reality. However, that does not rule out the existence of an objective reality.
The importance of what is said here is underrated in our society.
Well said! I’m printing this for myself…
Meeting other people when you travel will encounter new experiences and yes, some have their own beliefs. You may not necessarily agree with them but you should still respect them. Awesome information.