From Chapter 2 of The Nature of Personal Reality by Jane Roberts:
The Nature of Personal Reality
You form the fabric of your experience through your own beliefs and expectations. These personal ideas about yourself and the nature of reality will affect your thoughts and emotions. You take your beliefs about reality as truth, and often do not question them. They seem self- explanatory. They appear in your mind as statements of fact, far too obvious for examination.
Therefore they are accepted without question too often. They are not recognized as beliefs about reality, but are instead considered characteristics of reality itself. Frequently such ideas appear indisputable, so much a part of you that it does not occur to you to speculate on their validity. They become invisible assumptions, but they nevertheless color and form your personal experience.
Some people, for example, do not question their religious beliefs but except them as fact. Others find it comparatively easy to recognize such inner assumptions when they appear in a religious context, but are blind to them in other areas. It is far simpler to recognize your own beliefs in regard to religion, politics or similar subjects, than it is to pinpoint your deepest beliefs about yourself and who and what you are — particularly in relationship with your own life.
Many individuals are completely blind to their own beliefs about themselves, and the nature of reality… They grew up believing that the conscious mind was relatively powerless, that adult experience was set in the days of infancy. These concepts themselves set up artificial divisions. People learned that they should not be aware of “subconscious” material.
Each person experiences a unique reality, different from any other individual’s. This reality springs outward from the inner landscape of thoughts, feelings, expectations and beliefs. If you believe that the inner self works against you rather than for you, then you hamper its functioning – or rather, you force it to behave in a certain way because of your beliefs.
The conscious mind is meant to make clear judgments about your position in physical reality. Often false beliefs will prevent it from making these, for the egotistically held ideas will cloud its clear vision. Your beliefs can be like fences that surround you. You must first recognize the existence of such barriers – you must see them or you will not even realize that you are not free, simply because you will not see beyond the fences. They will represent the boundaries of your experience. There is one belief, however, that destroys artificial barriers to perception, an expanding belief that automatically pierces false and inhibiting ideas. Now, separately:
The Self Is Not Limited.
That statement is a statement of fact. It exists regardless of your belief or disbelief in it. Following this concept is another: There Are No Boundaries or Separations of the Self. Those that you experience are the result of false beliefs. Following this is the idea that I have already mentioned: You Make Your Own Reality…
I told you that the self was not limited, yet surely you think that your self stops where your skin meets space, that you are inside your skin. Period. Yet your environment is an extension of yourself. It is the body of your experience, coalesced in physical form. The inner self forms the objects that you know as surely and automatically as it forms your finger or your eye.
Your environment is the physical picture of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs made visible. Since your thoughts, emotions and beliefs move through space and time, you therefore affect physical conditions separate from you. Consider the spectacular framework of your body just from the physical standpoint. You perceive it as solid, as you perceive all other physical matter; yet the more matter is explored the more obvious it becomes that within it energy takes on specific shape (in the form of organs, cells, molecules, atoms, electrons), each less physical than the last, each combining in mysterious gestalt to form matter.
The atoms within your body spin. There is constant commotion and activity. The flesh that seemed so solid turns out to be composed of swiftly moving particles – often orbiting each other – in which great exchanges of energy continually occur. The stuff, the space outside of your body, is composed of the same elements, but in different proportions. There is a constant physical interchange between the structure you call your body and the space outside it; chemical interactions, basic exchanges without which life as you know it would be impossible…
You are in physical existence to learn and understand that your energy, translated into feelings, thoughts and emotions, causes all experience. There are no exceptions. Once you understand this you have only to learn to examine the nature of your beliefs, for these will automatically cause you to feel and think in certain fashions. Your emotions follow your beliefs. It is not the other way around.
I would like you to recognize your own beliefs in several areas. You must realize that any idea you accept as truth is a belief that you hold. You must, then, take the next step and say, “It is not necessarily true, even though I believe it.” You will, I hope, learn to disregard all beliefs that imply basic limitations. Later we will discuss some of the reasons for your beliefs, but for now I simply want you to recognize them. I am going to list some limiting false beliefs. If you find yourself agreeing with any of them, then recognize this as an area in which you must personally work:
1. Life is a valley of sorrows.
2. The body is inferior. As a vehicle of the soul it is automatically degraded, tinged.
You may feel that the flesh is inherently bad or evil, that its appetites are wrong. Christians may find the body deplorable, thinking that the soul descended into it – “descent” automatically meaning the change from a higher or better condition to one that is worse. Followers of Eastern religions often feel it their duty, also, to deny the flesh, to rise above it, so to speak, into a state where nothing is desired. (“Emptiness” in Taoism, for instance.) Using a different vocabulary, they still believe that earth experience is not desirable in itself.
3. I am helpless before circumstances that I cannot control.
4. I am helpless because my personality and character were formed in infancy, and I am at the mercy of my past.
5. I am helpless because I am at the mercy of events from past lives in other incarnations, over which I now have no control. I must be punished, or I am punishing myself for unkindnesses done to others in past lives. I must accept the negative aspects of my life because of my karma.
6. People are basically bad, and out to get me.
7. I have the truth and no one else has. Or, my group has the truth and no other group has.
8. I will grow frailer, sicker, and lose my powers as I grow old.
9. My existence is dependent upon my experience in flesh. When my body dies my consciousness dies with it.
Now, that was a rather general list of false beliefs. Here is a more specific list of more intimate beliefs, any of which you may have personally about yourself:
1. I am sickly, and always have been.
2. There is something wrong with money. People who have it are greedy, less-spiritual than those who are poor. They are unhappier, and snobs.
3. I am not creative. I have no imagination.
4. I can never do what I want to do.
5. People dislike me.
6. I am fat.
7. I always have bad luck.
These are all beliefs held by many people. Those who have them will meet them in experience. Physical data will always seem to reinforce the beliefs, therefore, but the beliefs formed the reality. We are going to attempt to knock down such limiting concepts. First of all, you must realize that no one can change your beliefs for you, nor can they be forced upon you from without. You can indeed change them for yourself, however, with knowledge and application.
Look about you. Your entire physical environment is the materialization of your beliefs. Your sense of joy, sorrow, health or illness – all of these are also caused by your beliefs. If you believe that a given situation should make you unhappy, then it will, and the unhappiness will then reinforce the condition.
Within you is the ability to change your ideas about reality and about yourself, to create a personal living experience that is fulfilling to yourself and others…Much has been written about the nature and importance of suggestion. One of the current ideas in vogue holds that you are constantly at the mercy of suggestion. Your own conscious beliefs are the most important suggestions that you receive. All other ideas are rejected or accepted according to whether or not you believe they are true, in line with the steady conscious chattering that goes on within your mind most of the day – the suggestions given to you by yourself…
The false beliefs must be weeded out so that the conscious mind can become aware of its source once again, and open to the inner channels of splendor and power available to it. Often you quite consciously decide to bury a thought or an idea that might cause you to alter your behavior, because it does not seem to fit in with limiting ideas that you already hold. Listen to your own train of thought as you go about your days. What suggestions and ideas are you giving yourself? Realize that these will be materialized in your personal experience.
Many quite limiting ideas will pass without scrutiny under the guise of goodness. You may feel quite virtuous, for example, in hating evil, or what seems to you to be evil; but if you find yourself concentrating upon either hatred or evil you are creating it. If you are poor you may feel quite self-righteous in your financial condition, looking with scorn upon those who are wealthy, telling yourself that money is wrong and so reinforcing the condition of poverty. if you are ill you may find yourself dwelling upon the misery of your condition, and bitterly envying those who are healthy, bemoaning your state.- and therefore perpetuating it through your thoughts.
If you dwell upon limitations, then you will meet them. You must create a new picture in your mind. It will differ from the picture your physical senses may show you at any given time, precisely in those areas where changes are required. Hatred of war will not bring peace – another example. Only love of peace will bring about those conditions.
I quite realize that many of my statements will contradict the beliefs of those of you who accept the idea that the conscious mind is relatively powerless, and that the answers to problems lie hidden beneath…I am not telling you to inhibit thoughts or feelings. I am asking that you become aware of those you have. Realize that they form your reality. Concentrate upon those that give you the results that you want.
If you find all of this difficult, you can also examine your physical reality in all of its aspects. Realize that your physical experience and environment is the materialization of your beliefs. If you find great exuberance, health, effective work, abundance, smiles on the faces of those you meet, then take it for granted that your beliefs are beneficial. If you see a world that is good, people that like you, take it for granted, again, that your beliefs are beneficial. But if you find poor health, a lack of meaningful work, a lack of abundance, a world of sorrow and evil, then assume that your beliefs are faulty and begin examining them.
We will later discuss the nature of mass reality, but for now we are dwelling upon the personal aspects. The main point I wanted to make in this chapter was that your conscious beliefs are extremely important, and that you are not at the mercy of events or causes that dwell far beneath your awareness.”
For more on how your beliefs create your reality see the Understanding Reality Course.