The study of Ashtanga Yoga in India, and Huichol Shamanism in Mexico opened doors of perception and awareness that suggests to me: each persons reality is powerfully influenced by personal beliefs. This impact on our consensus reality, by beliefs, seems to actively interact with the stage of life, reality, and a reflection of beliefs is confirmed in the perceptions of reality, the “external world”. Several examples of this power:
- Warriors who can go out on the battle field and survive in exceptional circumstances. Dances with Wolves, beginning of the movie:John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) rides in front of many troops that are trying to shoot him, yet they cannot hit him: George Armstrong Custer did this twice during the Civil War. Crazy Horse was famous for this ability, riding his horse in front of firing soldiers, and passing un touched. William “Bill” Kilgore (Robert Duvall) conveys this competence and personal power when in Apocalypse Now he walks out into gunfire and artillery explosions, fearlessly, and is not touched. I am sure there are many real life stories of this kind; I would like to see a book of collected accounts by soldiers who have experienced these kinds of miraculous events.
- Dreams Come True: take a look at Maidentrip. Laura Dekker sailed around the world, age 14-16: This was her dream, and it happened, despite intense opposition.
- Heal Documentary about beliefs and healing.
- Henry Ford: “If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”.
When I was with don Jose in the Huichol Sierra, Huichol beliefs powerfully influenced the environment, including myself. There seems to be a common consensus, dominated by the majority of a local population, and this actively defines characteristics of reality: including what is possible and impossible. Don Jose could heal because people believed he could heal, and reality actually attempts to conform to those beliefs. On one occasion, during the California drought of 1977, he lead an all night ceremony, and said it would rain the next day: it did. He said the rains would return the next fall, and they did. In Mexico I saw numerous examples of environmental modulation via the beliefs and expectations of shamans and Huichol people.
Three points of reference (triangulation, as used in navigation) have helped me observe fascinating characteristics about reality: 1) Yoga and the perspective of the Deep Self, as described by the Hindu Yogi Ramana Maharshi; 2) Huichol shamanic perception of reality: the world and nature as a living being; 3) Modern Mind, that which I learned in my own culture: Judeo-Christian & scientific. This “modern mind” is described in extraordinary detail by Rick Tarnas, PhD, in his best selling, Passion of the Western Mind. It is very difficult to see our own mind, how is formed, how it perceives, and is modulated by our collective reality: Passion of the Western Mind does an outstanding job of revealing the modern mind set, and how it was formed.
It would appear that we might live in great collective cosmic dream, the world as a Great Idea or Thought, a world that tends to conform to our desires, expectations and beliefs. There are rules and laws, yet these might have various exceptions, which become apparent when living in cultures quite different from our own.
Paul C Adams (c) 2018 updated: 5/3/18