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Pay Attention... and See Reality Shift
by Cynthia Sue Larson
September 1, 2000

observant eye

I love this quote by Harry Houdini in the movie "FairyTale: A True Story". It doesn't matter to me whether these words were actually spoken by the world-famous master magician, known in his time as the 'Man No Chains Can Hold'. What I find important about this quote is the idea that those who have the fewest expectations and pre-existing assumptions are best able to see the world most clearly.

This point of view challenges the assumption that wisdom always comes from experience, and that the more we know about things, the better we will understand the world. Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget described that young preschool age children (two to seven years of age) go through a phase called, "magical thinking", in which they have what Piaget considered to be a magical, illogical, intuitive view of the world in which the relationship of objects in space and time is not understood and effect is not clear. Piaget's developmental model described this phase as the pre-operative stage of intellectual development... a stage that we all pass through and outgrow.

What if magicians are right, and those with the fewest pre-existing expectations see most clearly? If we wish to perceive our world as it really is instead of how we have been conditioned to believe it is, we need to find a way to drop the beliefs and assumptions that get in our way.

How can we see the world
with a beginner's mind?

Zen meditation masters have long described the importance of regaining "Beginner's Mind", the state of mind in which one does not interpret reality according to previous experiences, but instead is able to observe in this present moment what is actually taking place. This notion of beginner's mind points to our original, pure nature and the value of approaching each task as if we had never done it before. The advantage of being fully in the present is that we are not misled by what cues and clues and triggers to memories from the past, so we are more fully able to respond to our present circumstances from a fresh, pure, and probably much more appropriate perspective.

More specifically, the world seems full of whatever we are focusing our attention on. When we think of babies, we see babies everywhere we go. When we see things that trigger memories in us (pleasant and unpleasant), we typically overlay those old experiences directly on top of whatever is happening in the here and now.

What happens when we see the world
with a beginner's mind?

One of the first things I've found that happens is that situations that previously would have been upsetting to me are de-fused, because I am not overlaying expectations of difficulty on top of what is really going on.

For example, this morning when I met a woman who was exhibiting signs of extreme stress and not radiating compassion at all, I practiced being in a state of love. Instead of feeling rebuffed by her brusqueness, I radiated my feelings of being blessed and divinely fortunate. These feelings radiated out from me, and seemed to affect the entire room I was in. People who had been engaged in disagreements suddenly seemed more congenial, and the stressed-out woman almost smiled, which I'm certain she would not have done otherwise!

A beginner's mind allows me to see reality shifts as they occur. I have seen things appear, disappear, transport and transform right in front of me, simply by being open to witnessing such things occurring in my presence.

I've felt Time Slow to a Stop, I've seen Materializing Keys, and I've seen a Lady Appear... Twice. I've seen many other real-time reality shifts as they occurred, and have also witnessed the results of a shifted reality, such as the time My Grandmother's Liver Cancer Vanished.

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