Q. How do we not let our past experiences and memories—along with our strong survival instinct—influence and inform our actions, so we can live our life in alignment with our true self?

A. Let's first try to understand the nature of what we're dealing with. Your brain is permanently encased in a dark enclosure, closed off from direct contact with the world. It never experiences the changing pattern of reality directly. Rather, it gets its "sense" for what is happening in the environment through sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

Similar to a child with her eyes closed placing her hand in a paper bag and feeling an ambiguous object in order to guess what it is, our brain "feels" the ambiguous data of the world with its five senses. It also "feels" bodily sensations, which provide additional information with which to make its guesses.

However, unlike that child's guessing game, adults are much more fearful and pragmatic. First, no one is assuring us that it's safe to thrust our hand into "a bag." Plus, who has time to waste on something as trivial as a guessing game?

Instead, we rush through the world, scanning the environment and making predictions, looking for what is relevant and useful. Those guesses (or predictions) are then conceptualized as words and numbers, so that we can store them in memory, share them with others, and retrieve them to make future predictions.

So, how can you overcome that rapid, reductive process and experience possibility, creativity and an expansion of mind, heart and soul?

There's only one way. You have to thrust your hand into the bag of uncertainty. The unknown is the only place you can go to experience something truly different. As the poet John Keats famously wrote, "Nothing ever becomes real 'til it is experienced."

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