Copyright 2017 Maryann Patalano
Belief and the Peephole Effect
“You can if you think you can.”
—Norman Vincent Peale, minister and author
Our beliefs directly influence the depth and breadth of the peephole lens we look through. Mr. Peale tells us that thought (or belief) precedes circumstances and influences the outcome. Similarly, in New Thought we say, “Form follows consciousness.” False or limited beliefs do not make something objectively true, but do tend to make it true in our subjective experience. Belief is a creative factor in our lives. If we wish to change our circumstances, it is imperative that we uncover the causative belief (lens) that is playing out in our experience so we can replace that belief.
Let’s take a brief look at the how the layers of belief in your subconscious contribute to the Peephole Effect in your experience. We will examine this topic more completely in a later chapter to address your specific beliefs, but for now, let’s contemplate the widely held notion “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
On the surface this statement appears true to many people. This belief is strongly held in the collective consciousness (the set of shared societal beliefs), and therefore many people fall victim to believing it without question. However, the Peephole Effect is responsible for this unsound belief. The Creative Mind we are immersed in accepts the thoughts we place into it. The thoughts backed by strong belief are the molds that the Mind uses to create the outward experience. In the case of “The rich get richer…” statement, our individual minds believe the accuracy of the statement despite its questionable underpinnings, and we proceed to experience that belief. The merry-go-round has begun.
Let’s take a peek through the rich peephole and the poor peephole to see how it plays out.
Sheila is born into a family with a history of wealth, success, and fulfilling relationships. Her peephole lens consists of layers of belief perpetuated by experiential and visual proof that life is good. People are good and happy most of the time. Money is good and available in abundant measure. While growing up she becomes aware (through the media, internet, school activities, etc.) of the heartache, financial difficulties, and social struggles of others. It’s at this juncture that the creative ability of Sheila’s consciousness becomes apparent in her own circumstances. Two scenarios could potentially unfold (although infinite potentialities are available):
- Acceptance and fear that these dreadful struggles could affect her or become part of her reality.
- Rejection of any possibility that this could ever happen to her and a continued acceptance of positive potential within her reality.
To the child born into a life of wealth, a life of poverty is not a reality. Conditions of being poor do not align with her consciousness; they are not accepted or believed as part of her vision of herself. While there are exceptions to every rule, the rich child will likely go on to enjoy an abundant, prosperous life that is filled with love and successful, stable relationships. The positive aspects of life were perpetuated in her experiences due to the layers of subconscious belief or the beliefs she allowed to be embedded into her consciousness. The culprit in this situation? The Peephole Effect—in a positive way.
I do not mean to say that Sheila (or anyone) should put her head in the sand or deny that negative circumstances exist. Nor should Sheila assume she cannot be a beneficial presence for those who are less fortunate. Rather, to avoid experiencing the negativity for herself, Sheila must not accept it into her consciousness as being true for herself, nor should she create a strong fear against those circumstances.
The truth is that Sheila’s reality could change at any moment; she can begin to believe in adverse conditions as a part of her experience. Although she was born into a stable environment, excessive fear of things such as sickness, poverty, or violence can manifest and bring matching circumstances to her. Since feelings are part of the creative process, intense fear is a powerful creative agent and should be avoided.
Alternatively, let’s consider Keith, who was raised in a low-income household with a strong history of poverty, struggle, prejudice, and abuse. He looks through a peephole lens that provides a limited, negative, bleak view of life. Once Keith is grown, the same peephole lens exists, and the struggles continue in his experience. The Peephole Effect is responsible for the continued circumstances of poverty or misfortune. Negative experiences compound his belief in negativity, which produces a cycle of similar, negative circumstances—the Peephole Effect in action. Keith may never realize that he possesses a power to accept an alternate reality. There is untold good, abundance, and potential in and around him; however, all of it is blocked (i.e., collapsed) by the peephole lens.
As with the child of a wealthy family, the poor child could have infinite potentials unfold; however, the two most common are:
- Acceptance of the experiential evidence and fear that these struggles will affect him forever; a resignation to “This is the way it is for me; I will never rise above this.”
- Rejection of the experiential evidence; acceptance of a better life and better circumstances. He might say to himself, “I see this horrible circumstance, but it’s not for me—no thanks! Watch this—I am going to prosper and rise!”
In both scenarios above, the outcome of any experience (positive or negative, abundant or lacking) is the result of the Peephole Effect. The privileged and the underprivileged alike are subject to the universal law of Mind. They each have the ability to accept or reject beliefs based on whatever may be visually and experientially before them. The good, bad, and indifferent can be swapped at any time, based on conscious decision and personal choice.
Beliefs are critical to the manifestation process because they generate feelings. The strength of the emotion behind the belief is creative. You may have a thousand thoughts a day, but which ones generate the strongest feeling-tones? The intense, sustained feelings associated with joy and abundance are equally as creative as the intense, sustained feelings associated with fear and lack.
As you will see illustrated later in this book, there are many people to whom this preconceived notion about being “rich” or “poor” does not apply—simply because they choose not to believe it. They have sensed the existence of the greater potential and declared and decided on something different for themselves. In truth, any condition can be changed or overcome by our consciousness due to the malleable nature of the energy of the Creative Mind.
I am not talking about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses or possessing a Pollyanna attitude. You must go beyond these superficial concepts to a greater reality, a spiritual reality—truth. Yes, we are human, but we are humanly divine and divinely human. We have each been given divine inalienable rights: the right to choose, the right to believe, the right to co-create, and the right to experience the best that life offers. We can each seek to exercise our divine rights in beneficial ways. We have also inherited divine attributes from God, including wisdom, peace, knowledge, love, abundance, and any good thing you can conceive of.
When you become aware that the Peephole Effect is actively impacting your life in a negative way—whether in finances, relationships, health, career, or any other area in which you recognize limitation—you will undoubtedly seek to stop it from doing so. You will realize that you must snap out of your current perception of life or you will continue to suffer. You will awaken and declare, “This is now true!”
Factors that Contribute to Our Lens
“I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
—John Newton, clergyman and composer
Let’s examine some of the key concepts that play a role in the formation of our peephole lens: our five senses, our faith in the past, religious dogma, and our big “but.”
The limiting and inaccurate nature of the five senses affects our perception and therefore affects how the Peephole Effect manifests in our lives. To illustrate the pitfalls of relying on our limited physical senses as a source of truth, I offer this story:
The Blind Men and the Elephant
by John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spoke:
“I see,” quote he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quote he:
“’Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quote he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So, oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
What does this story tell us? Had the men been able to see, they would have perceived that although the elephant could be described as each had interpreted it, those descriptions did not capture the totality and grandeur of the elephant’s being.
Likewise, our perception of the truth of the infinite, spiritual Universe cannot be ascertained by ordinary senses alone. Certain aspects of it can be detected through the peephole, but that is only a fraction of the grand reality. Many of us walk through life metaphorically blind, like the men in Saxe’s poem. We lack the ability to open our spiritual eyes and observe a greater reality. As we will discover later in this book, something huge, powerful, and awesome resides at the core of our being as well as in our midst. We are much bigger, stronger, and bolder than we have ever imagined ourselves to be.
Limitations exist within ordinary human perception for several reasons. First, perception in the ordinary sense is based on an individual’s experience, which means it is different for everyone. Second, perception depends on one’s ability to understand and comprehend, which is also different for everyone. Finally, perception is dependent on use of the five senses. This means that ordinary human perception, in and of itself, is not a reliable measure of reality. The senses are amazing evolutionary assets that allow us to navigate the world; however, they are often used only to perceive immediate surroundings or tactile things through conscious reasoning. Therein lies the importance of considering the accuracy of our beliefs, which are often adversely affected by our perception.
For example, the conscious reasoning that results from visual stimuli can itself be faulty—optical illusions are proof of this. Have your eyes ever played tricks on you?
Searching the internet we can quickly find any number of optical illusions in which our minds either connect the dots or create lines, shadows, or dimension—all of which are nonexistent in the actual image (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Optical Illusion
We don’t even realize that the dots, lines, dimensions, and so on appear to be real because they are constructed by our mind; this is a physical process beyond our control.
This phenomenon applies not only to optical illusions, but to how we view (or interpret) our relationships, events, and circumstances.
Has your mind ever “filled in the blanks” regarding another person? Perhaps through this phenomenon you have erroneously convinced yourself that someone held bad intentions towards you. For example, the memory of a past experience, when combined with your perceived “evidence,” may have prompted you to believe that a romantic partner was unfaithful, although in truth there was no indiscretion. Could the erroneous conclusion of a partner’s unfaithfulness be the result of viewing life through a lens that has incorporated layers of low self-esteem and mistrust from past experiences?
There is a great deal of evidence that the Peephole Effect is further subject to the pitfalls of our ordinary senses as demonstrated by the infamous Rorschach ink blot test and others like it. These tests consist of ambiguous designs consisting of a black, white, or grey blend of colors (Figure 5). Depending on his unique perception, the viewer identifies the design as depicting an object such as a face, a butterfly, or an animal. Once the brain assigns an “identity” to the blot, it becomes virtually impossible for something else to be perceived. The infinite potentiality of the blot collapses into one thing. Perception becomes limited—the Peephole Effect. The individual participating in the test has no doubt in his consciousness as to what the blot depicts; in truth, however, the depiction is entirely subjective.
Figure 5: Ink Blot
The phenomenon of limited, imagined, or selective perception applies not only to ink blots on paper; it applies equally to human circumstances. Once again, the peephole lens often stands in the way of our experiencing an upgrade in relationships, career, or health. How many of these statements (or similar ones) ring true for you?
› “I’m an anxious person.”
› “Life is difficult.”
› “My dreams will never come true.”
› “This sucks.”
› “My income is capped at $___ per year.”
› “I will never be my own boss.”
› “Rich people are lucky.”
› “Bills are a problem.”
› “I never have enough money.”
› “Everyone in my family is overweight; that’s why I will always be fat.”
› “I’m allergic to everything!”
› “I’m certain I will get diabetes; it runs in my family.”
› “Relationships are difficult.”
› “My heart is forever broken.”
› “I can’t trust anyone!”
› “I will never meet a great partner.”
› “I always meet losers.”
I encourage you to consider if the Peephole Effect may be responsible for the “truth” of any of the above statements. Like the collapse of visible potential in the ink blot test, perhaps your beliefs, courtesy of past experiences, have contributed to the collapse of the potentiality in your present experience. This often leads to unwanted, repeat circumstances, otherwise known as another ride on the merry-go-round:
› Same boyfriend, different haircut.
› Same job, different boss.
› Same salary, different decade.
› Same car, different color.
› Same apartment, different neighborhood.
You get the point. If you recognize an unwanted pattern appearing in your life, you can take a step back, recognize the limit you’ve placed on yourself, and recognize it is within your power to remove it. There is no such thing as a permanent limiting belief. It is close-minded and inaccurate to assume the present moment will deliver the same old result. Just because something has happened once—or even many times—does not cancel out the potentiality of other outcomes, unless you believe it does. Perhaps life can be easy, filled with love and light. Dreams of having a faithful partner do come true. People are trustworthy. Your income potential is unlimited. Believe it and you have taken the first step to making it a reality.
Our other senses—touch, hearing, taste, and smell—are subject to the same limitations. Have you ever misjudged (or misheard) a verbal response from someone? Perhaps, based on someone’s innocent answer to a question, you perceived a lack of caring on their part, when in fact they cared very much. You simply misjudged based on the meaning you assigned to their words or their tone. Technology has further exacerbated this potential for misperception. How often has misinterpretation of an email or text resulted in unnecessary drama?
Many of us have developed a sort of spiritual “tunnel vision” that inhibits our ability to view circumstances in alternate ways or beyond a set point. If you have difficulty recognizing this characteristic in yourself, it might be easier to try recognizing it in others (in a nonjudgmental way). Undoubtedly, there have been times when you have offered a shoulder to cry on for someone who is clearly on a merry-go-round of dead-end jobs or bad relationships. Your friend cannot seem to see the beauty, grandeur, or potential within himself, although you can see those attributes shining through. You wonder, “Why does he continue to do this to himself?”
Get your pen and journal and write down your answers to the following questions:
- Can you identify an unwanted merry-go-round experience (in other words, one that continually repeats for you) in your relationships, career, etc.? If so, describe it.
- What is the limiting belief(s) surrounding this experience that you cannot seem to shake?
- Can you pinpoint the originating factor (or experience) that convinced you this belief was true? Name that experience.
- How long ago did that experience happen?
- Describe what the opposite of the repeat experience would look like. What would you like to experience if you believed you could choose it?
- Regarding your answer to Question 5 above, can you identify with the experience as being a possibility, or even true for you in the future? Yes or No. Why?
Clearly, our ordinary perception often misleads us. Considering that our five senses are not necessarily reliable in ascertaining truth, what can we rely on? The answer is a sixth sense, otherwise known as intuition. It is the most powerful and beneficial of our senses. There exists a force, a reality that can be perceived only by an inner knowing or voice. This “still, small voice” exists inside everyone on the planet. However, not everyone is aware of its existence or exercises their ability to tune into it. We will discuss this, and its function in altering the Peephole Effect, in a later chapter entitled “Listen to Your Inner Voice.”
“Pure faith is a spiritual conviction; it is the acquiescence of the mind, the embodiment of an idea, the acceptance of a concept.”
—Ernest Holmes, author of Prayer
A productive discussion of the Peephole Effect must include the subjects of faith and belief, particularly with regard to our so-called past. As discussed earlier, the law of Mind responds to our strongly held beliefs and feelings. It can be said that we have faith in our beliefs and belief in our faith.
Where does our faith come from? By “faith” I am referring not only to religious identification (although questioning the origins of that would be a wise undertaking and we will look at it next). I am referring to the strong convictions (or faith) we hold about a myriad of subjects, including, but not limited to, relationships, money, science, God, and employment. Sadly, we often remain faithful to negative beliefs and convictions that pertain to our past experiences. Through the creative law of Mind, we are rewarded for our faith and our expectations, which is made evident by the nature of our past, present, and future circumstances.
In a sense, the past events and circumstances of your life serve as proof of your faith. Think of it this way: if you were to unravel the cause of past events (i.e., trace the line of thinking associated with the circumstance in question), you would undoubtedly discover a belief system that you had put your faith into. Faith is a creative component in the factors that produced your past; it will contribute to your future similarly.
There are two inseparable creative factors involved in the creation of visible (manifest) things and circumstances: Your mind (your consciousness, beliefs, feelings, thoughts) and the Universal Mind (Spirit, Universe, Universal Intelligence, Energy). These factors are two aspects of one thing: consciousness.
Although your past is nonexistent (a lot of people have difficulty accepting this as true, but there is no reality to “the past” right now), it may play a role in your life if choose to let it. In and of itself, the past has no power. However, if you dwell on it, maintaining it in your current consciousness, you will force it to reproduce and manifest something “new”—yet entirely similar to your past—in your present. Subsequently, the past appears to repeat, but in truth you are bringing the feeling-tone from the past into the feeling-tone of the present, and the law of Mind matches your current experience to that feeling-tone. This tricks the senses into establishing a limiting belief based on the repeating circumstances, aka the merry-go-round (see Figure 6).
Whether we dwell on positive or negative memories, they are all subject to this action, especially if they invoke strong feelings within us. Too often we dwell on past negativity, which brings old feelings of angst, anguish, pain, or anxiety into our Now moment in a creative way. Alternatively, focusing on positive experiences will serve to bring more of the same into our present experience. Due to the perpetual creative ability of our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, we must be cognizant of when, how, and why we may bring the past into our current awareness.
Figure 6: The Peephole Effect and Repeat Circumstances
Our past, regardless of the nature of what may have happened, can serve us if we derive wisdom or clarity through contemplating it. However, we must make a conscious effort to recognize when we are living in the past and then proceed to purposely bring our attention back into the present moment where infinite potential resides.
At any given moment, the choice is yours as to what to dwell on and what feelings to cultivate in your experience.
Copyright 2017 Maryann Patalano
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