For some reason, as humans, we like to have everything tied up in a neat little bow. Perhaps this explains our dogged insistence on hanging on to our Newtonian view of the world and the logical order implied in “cause and effect,” when reality and science are screaming at us that the reality is more random than fractals and truthfully almost never explained by cause and effect.
One of the ways that our reliance on cause and effect misleads us is when we attempt to explain symptoms and diseases by this false assumption.
One example of this is the disease of multiple sclerosis. The conventional medical wisdom, the cause and effect thinking of its “cause,” is that it’s a degenerative neurological disease that is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, a lining of fat cells that protect the nerves and allow them to conduct nerve impulses more rapidly and smoothly than would be possible otherwise.
If the law of cause and effect actually applied to multiple sclerosis, then clearly the people with the most damage to the myelin sheath (which is now visible on MRI scans) would be most debilitated, whereas those with less damage to the myelin sheath would be less disabled. Oops! This can be the case, but often it is not. Some people with minor damage to the myelin sheath are quite disabled, whereas others experts would not expect to be walking are doing just fine.
Another example of how cause and effect distorts our thinking, causing us to make choices not necessarily based on fact, is the fame of the “Mediterranean diet.” Somehow because the longevity statistics of populations where this diet is predominant are better than ours, it is assumed the Mediterranean diet causes the longevity. Is there any evidence that this is so, or is this just another example of assuming that cause and effect must function as we believe they do? Does this false assumption give us more information about what our diet choices should be, or does it keep us from knowing what might actually work for us, because we’ve already decided the Mediterranean diet is “the answer?”
Are you feeling like the rug’s just been pulled out from under you? If cause and effect were really a lie, or at the very least a major distortion of the truth, then how would we choose? How would we go about creating anything? Clearly if nothing actually causes anything, then a new way of going about creating what we’d like is required.
These very questions are among those asked by Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness. Douglas has traveled the world for 20 years in his quest to increase consciousness everywhere. In so doing, he has developed and shared many tools for dealing with just this degree of uncertainty about how to achieve what we are looking for.
One of the principles Douglas lives by is a truth that “if it’s light, it’s right; and if it’s heavy it’s a lie.” By this description, Douglas acknowledges that what is true for us at this moment will feel light to us, whereas anything untrue for us will feel heavy. One easy way to make a choice is to notice which of two or more choices feels lightest to you, and make that choice.
You do not have to know what will happen when you make the choice, Douglas points out. “Where is the adventure in life?” he asks. “When you go on vacation do you have to know if you’ll stay in a 4 star hotel, have room service, and everything that’s going to happen before you go? Or is part of the adventure the not knowing?”
Another tool Douglas uses which facilitates his choice is making choices, is that he only expects any choice to last for 10 seconds. This approach takes the seriousness out of our choices. If a choice is forever, then there is tremendous pressure on us to make “the right choice,” what Douglas calls the “Lord of the Rings choice – one choice to rule them all.”
When a choice only has to last for 10 seconds, everything is lighter. It also frees you to appreciate the awareness that choice creates. When we’re locked into making the one right choice, we think we have to know everything about what that choice will create. However logical this goal, it is not actually possible to accomplish it. The simple reason for this impossibility is that choice creates awareness, not the other way around. We can never know everything a choice will create until we actually make a choice – because the process of committing to that choice brings the awareness of what the choice has created. It’s not possible to know that in advance – especially once we step out of the cause and effect world. The magic of this is that often within 10 seconds or less, we get the awareness of what that choice is creating and if we don’t like it, we can change it.
For example; you ever choose to go see someone and you know the moment you choose it, it is a really bad idea. You don’t know why, you just know not to go. Then you don’t listen to yourself and go any way and find out just how bad it is? Well, what if in that moment of knowing it’s a bad idea, you stop and choose something else, just choose again? That is 10 seconds of choice.
A key element in using these tools is asking questions. Questions create possibilities, whereas answers, statement, conclusions, decisions and judgments (anything that isn’t a true question) destroy them.
Questions which are non-linear are best at creating outside of the cause-and-effect universe. Some examples of non-linear questions are, “What will it take to create x (your desired product)?” “What else is possible?” “How does it get even better than this?” and “What are the infinite possibilities?”
Using these questions and considering cause-and-effect to be nothing more than merely an interesting point of view, not a law cast in stone, just might turn your life into an adventure. How much fun could you have then?
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