Belief as the Substrate of Reality
This is a thought experiment in which you adopt the reality tunnel, “Belief is the foundation of reality”.
For those not familiar with the Timothy Leary / Robert Anton Wilson concept, a “reality tunnel” is your perspective. It’s how you experience reality at any given moment. It is formed by your body configuration (including neurochemical activity), imprinting, conditioning and knowledge.
In this exercise, temporarily suspend your existing beliefs about reality and instead adopt the perspective that belief itself is the basis of reality. That means that what is believed, comes true. If you believe something will happen, it does happen (sooner or later).
The second part of this exercise is to begin writing down every belief you notice that you hold. You determine this by noticing what your expectations are about situations and their outcomes. It includes but is not limited to: what you believe will happen, what you believe about yourself, what you believe you deserve, what you believe is possible, what you believe your skills to be, what you believe people think about you, what you believe the future will hold, and so forth. I recommend taking a notepad and pen around with you and writing these down over the course of a day or two, as many will pop into your awareness during the course of your daily activities.
The key here is to be as honest as possible. You are writing down what you actually believe, as evidenced by your feelings about things. So don’t bother writing down the beliefs you wish you had, or anything aspirational like that — that’s not what this exercise is about.
Write down both positive and negative beliefs, non-judgmentally. Just list them as you notice them, and don’t omit something just because it doesn’t fit in with your self-image.
At the end of the two days, look at the list.
Does the list accurately describe your current reality?
There is no follow-up to this exercise. The awareness alone will get cogs turning, though. It’s often like that.
UPDATE: This post now continues here: Consciousness Predates Matter