Chapter One OF Real Power By David J. Lieberman

A Sneek Peek into Real Power By David J. Lieberman -



A Glimpse of Reality

“One must guard his mind more than anything else, for it produces all the results of life.” (Mishlei 4:23)

What makes some people capable of handling life’s challenges with quiet calm and optimistic resolve, while others dissolve at the slightest insult or frustration? The answer has to do with our perspective: how we see, feel, behave, and, ultimately, respond to circumstances in our life.

Imagine a small child playing with a toy that suddenly breaks. The child’s whole world is shattered, and she may respond by crying, or by becoming frustrated, sad, or even angry. The child fails to appreciate, let alone recognize, that she is still being clothed, fed, loved, and taken care of — not to mention that there is a whole world outside of her own smaller world. The child’s parents know that the broken toy has no significance, but the parents have perspective that the child lacks.

Intellectually, we may know that what makes us anxious or upset is actually unimportant and insignificant. The qualities however, that most of us strive to exemplify — such as objectivity, calm, and patience — are lost to annoyance and impatience when, in a hurry, we encounter the checkout clerk with the trainee name-tag staring at the cash register as if it were the cockpit of a 757. We try to maintain our cool, but negative emotions surface, and once sparked, blaze. Now we face an uphill battle.

Techniques such as taking deep breaths, reciting affirmations, or practicing visualization, might work when we face minor issues, but they’re insufficient for life’s really big challenges.[1] Reminding ourselves not to get annoyed is not a solution. Yes, the objective is to remain calm, but this is better accomplished through not becoming agitated in the first place. When we fight the urge to blow up or melt down, we battle our own nature.[2]

Without perspective, we are forever like the child holding the broken toy.[3] This is why we often become irritated in the heat of an argument. After a few moments, our anger subsides. A few hours later, we are less angry, and in a few days, we wonder why we were so bothered in the first place. Time provides perspective, allowing us to see the situation with clarity.[4]

Likewise, as we grow older and look back on certain events and incidents in our lives, we realize that the car we (as young adults) felt we must have, the person we must go out with, or the job we must land, simply aren’t “musts” anymore.

When we discover how to shift perspective, we see the events of today through the lens of tomorrow. Once we can recognize what really matters, we will no longer need to force ourselves to remain calm. Our thoughts, feelings, and responses to any critical situation reshape themselves. Negative emotions like impatience, insecurity, anger, and worry dissolve — not because we fight to control our emotions, but rather because we realize that the circumstances are inconsequential.

The Lens of Physics

The ability to shape our emotional state is not simply a matter of looking through rose-colored glasses. Rather, reality itself changes when we shift perspective.

Quantum mechanics provides insight into two fascinating discoveries about the nature of energy and our universe. Quarks — subatomic particles that make up atoms and are the building blocks of creation — have two unique properties. One is that particles are changed when they are observed. As unusual as this seems, it is impossible to observe the particle’s true nature, because the very act of observation actually changes what it is. Second, quarks can appear in two places at once. They are not confined to one location at one time. Our discussion will focus primarily on the former quality.

Perspective does not make us see reality differently; on a quantum level, it creates our reality. Where you are “standing,” your vantage point, determines what is brought into existence.[5] Since the observation of an event changes it, we recognize that our perspective changes our objective reality, because our perspective alters our place of observation.[6] Physicists agree, then, that we do not interface with our environment as separate entities. More accurately, we affect reality as if we were a single organism.

[1] Affirmations can be a powerful tool in reshaping our self-image. However, an effective short-term therapy called Neo-Cognitive Psychology, advises that reciting positive affirmations can be counterproductive while we are in a negative state. This is because we are charging the thought with negative energy. Instead, we should verbalize an affirmation only when we are in either a neutral or positive state.

[2] When we desire to change our behavior, particularly when it goes against our natural inclinations, it is as effective as being told that we need to alter our past behavior. No one would suggest trying to rewrite history, yet we believe that we have more control over how we will behave and respond to similar circumstances in the future. This is the inherent shortcoming of motivation. We can feel excited, and desire to make a change, but the enthusiasm soon wears off when we find ourselves frequently unable to continue to behave in a way that is inconsistent with who we are. Like a spring, we will stretch only so far before snapping back to our original positions

[3] Perspective is one of the three translations of the sefirah of knowledge (da’at). In this particular context, da’at is the key that opens and closes the chambers of the heart, the seat of emotion. In the language of the Sages, “Without da’at, there is no separation (havdalah)” (Berachot 33a). In today’s language and this context, this means that, without perspective, a person cannot disengage (i.e., separate) from his own emotions and stop himself from being “suffocated” by them.

[4] “Accept a teacher upon yourself” (Ethics of the Fathers 1:16). No matter how a great a person is, there is no escaping some bias. Making wise choices can often be less about knowledge, and more about having the ability to see the situation clearly.

[5] Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science revealed that the greater the amount of watching of these subatomic particles, the greater the observer’s influence on what actually takes place. (A 1998 study reported in the February 26 issue of Nature, Vol. 391, pp. 871–874.) In effect, this is why we cannot, in an instant, recreate our reality. The watching that we speak of is qualitative in nature, not quantitative. The significance of this is that the ability to be in the moment, whole, and focused is more necessary a condition to affecting reality, than the mere amount of time spent vaguely daydreaming a particular existence.

[6] The power of the mind is astonishing. A myriad of studies show that a person with multiple personality disorder — an illness in which two or more distinct personalities inhabit a single body — can manifest traits, desires, memories, abilities, eye color, and even separate IQs for each personality. Documented cases show that each personality also manifests its own brainwave and voice patterns. Each personality can have individual medical disorders, such as asthma, or even diabetes, while the other personality shows no signs or symptoms.

Chapter 2 to follow next week – buy Real Power on amazon


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