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It's All Make Believe

| Nirmala | Miscellaneous

It's All Make Believe

Published on
23 October 2008

We live in a make-believe reality. We make up our beliefs and then live as if they are true, and in that sense they are true for us. But we make them up; we make believe. And in any moment, we can make believe something else. Belief is just a thought or pattern of thought, and in the time it takes to have a new thought, we can start to experience a new belief. If that new thought gets repeated often enough, then we say that our belief has changed, and therefore our make-believe reality has changed.

There is nothing wrong with this. We are by nature belief-making creatures. Just like squirrels hide their nuts, humans make up beliefs. It is how we create the meaning in our life and how we organize and define the story of our life. Each of us is the novelist or screenwriter for the story of me, and we do this by making believe that what we think about our life is the whole truth of that experience.

However, it is possible to realize that while this process of defining our reality is very creative, challenging for our minds, and even fun, it is never complete or fully accurate. Our beliefs, by their nature as thought, leave out a lot of the reality of a situation. If we believe someone is a nice person, we have left out that person's shadow side. If we believe that someone is a jerk, we have probably left out some of the good things about him or her. This limited nature of belief applies not just to our beliefs about others, but our beliefs about ourselves. We have an identity that is composed of our beliefs about ourselves, and that identity is therefore as fluid, changeable, and incomplete as any other set of beliefs...

This is not a problem and is even a very creative process. However, we can often simply forget that we are making it up. We make believe that we are a good person, or better than others, and then forget that this is at best only half of the truth, and it is all made up. It is like when we watch a movie and forget that it is fictional and still feel upset by the actions of the characters for hours or days after the movie has ended. The actors were paid to behave badly, and yet we have forgotten it was all made up.

So, while there is nothing wrong with our beliefs and our identities, they can cause us to suffer when we forget that we make them up. If we start to hold them rigidly and defend them from any contradiction, they can start to limit our awareness and our actions. We are stuck in a make-believe movie created by our own mind and forget that we can change the script anytime. However, knowing that it is all make believe doesn't necessarily mean you change anything about your experience. Simply knowing that reality is not as you believe it is can also allow you to enjoy the experience as it is. Knowing that you are watching a movie can allow you to enjoy the outrageous antics of a superhero or the desperate acts of a heart-broken loser without taking it so seriously. Forgetting that your interpretations of your own life are just as made up can mean that, instead of enjoying the richness of every experience, you are busy trying to change things in order to solve the problems your own beliefs have created.

What does it mean that you are broke or wealthy? What are you like when someone has made you the butt of the joke? How do you feel when your career soars or crashes? Who do you think you really are? You get to make up the answer to all of these questions and millions more, and in the midst of this incredibly creative storytelling about your existence, there is also the opportunity to look beyond the story to see what else is here. What is present right now that is not a part of your beliefs? What is the real reality underlying your make-believe reality? What creates the physical world? What creates the mind that is creating your beliefs? There is no need to reach a definitive answer to these questions, as that would just be another belief. Instead you can play with endless new answers to every question, and thereby discover the limitless potential of your true nature. Make believe is fun!