How Your Thoughts Actually Create Your Reality

May 11th, 2021

By Kristen Yates

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

We’ve all heard that our “thoughts create our reality” – but for many, this is more a New Age adage than an actually lived principle. Manifestation became the hot buzzword in the spiritual world after the release of the popular book “The Secret”, and people began consciously directing their thoughts, reciting affirmations, and creating vision boards to manifest their dreams.

But if thought-based manifestation were so easy, why are more people not actively changing their lives with it?

The truth is that until we step back enough to recognize our ingrained mental habits and stories, we can never be free to create a new beginning. Our thoughts absolutely do create our reality – but usually, it’s through unconscious patterns, belief systems, and societal influence, rather than an empowered state of conscious creation.

To harness the power of your mind for real manifesting magic, you must first understand how the mind works and how it’s created your reality on autopilot since childhood, then apply practical tools to consciously create your life experience.

Meaning-Making Machines

To see how our mind creates our reality, we start by panning back out from our individual lives to our perception of the world as whole.

Most people think they’re living in the “real world” – a universal place “out there” that’s happening to them – when in fact, this is completely false. We’re all living purely in our interpretation of the world shaped by our own beliefs, personal meanings, and cultural influences.

We are not living in the “real world” at all, because there is no “real world” out there. Instead, we’re each living in our own, individual subjective world inside our heads, formed entirely through stories we’ve created about what we experience around us connected to the past and the future. That’s it.

Humans are meaning-making and story-telling machines. The world is just the world, existing in the moment. It’s all just happening out there without any meaning of its own, or even time at all. Our minds create stories around what it all means all within an illusory mental timeline, a byproduct of the high consciousness level we inhabit as humans.

Looking at animals, they navigate the world very differently than we do. Animals exist in an eternal state of presence, without creating meaning or stories in their minds about things that pull them out of the current moment. An animal’s intelligence lives in their body, not their mind, as they live with full awareness and a constant presence that’s key to their survival.

Children are much the same, born with no sense of time or even thought at a very young age. Babies and small children exist in a state of pure sensation, in complete wonder at the world around them coming in through their senses. There’s a reason we use the term “childlike wonder” to describe this ecstatic, thoughtless state of pure being-ness that we sometimes re-enter as adults and grasp to remain in, before getting sucked back into the chaotic world of our minds.

With the introduction of language, children begin to shift from body-based being to mind-based being. The sensational world around them becomes translated into words, then into thoughts and stories about what’s happening, and they lose sense of the pure, wordless experience of it. This apple is red, this blanket is soft. Everything we see, feel, and experience as a child now has a name and a neat box to fit inside. Soon, we learn that words together have meaning, and we start applying meaning to everything we experience – this boy is crying because he’s bad, my teacher likes me because I’m smart.

Of course, we apply meaning to ourselves in the exact same way, creating stories around who we are as a person that we believe to be real. I failed because I’m stupid, I must be an embarassment to my family. These stories accumulate through our lives and become an unconscious part of our ego identity and “fixed” personality.

Now, the words and meanings we make are not in themselves a problem. Language is an incredible gift that’s helped us to transcend the animal-like world of pure sensory experience, to enter a deeply meaningful world of purpose, growth, and connection. Our ability to create meaning and understand the world around us through language is crucial to our growth and connection

The problem arises when we believe our own mental stories and meanings as true reality. We become stuck in words, losing sight of the “real world” of pure being-ness and the fact that we can change our inner narrative at any moment.

We think we’re living in the real world. But we don’t realize that we’re actually only living inside stories we’ve invented about the world (and ourselves.)

The Problem with Living In Our Heads

When we attach to the meaning we give things, our constant thoughts and narratives about the world and ourselves become our sole link to reality. We lose sense of any objective state of being outside of our own heads because the story in our mind is all we know to be real. As the center of our own universe, the people, places, and events around us are all tied to a story we’ve made up about them in relation to ourselves. We have no idea what’s actually happening at all.

Our constant mental chatter about ourselves and the world only solidifies and grows as we get older, and our minds become entrenched in the same thought patterns they’ve always had. Meanwhile, the world is happening around us and we are not experiencing it, because we’ve been programmed out of our natural state only to think about it. Rather than fully feeling our life through our bodies, we are thinking about our life in our heads, while it’s happening, and we are literally missing out on it.

Life passes us by as we mentally translate the world through our inner filter, stressing about bank accounts and job promotions, comparing ourselves to others and worrying about whether we’ll make it home in time for the holidays. And then, when we do get where we think we wanted to be, we’re not even there to enjoy it – we’re already thinking about the next promotion, worried about losing the money we earned, or obsessing over whether our mom will criticize our vegan holiday dessert – like she always does.

But missing out on life isn’t the only drawback to living in your head and mental stories. When your perception of reality comes purely through your mind, you become vulnerable to beliefs and collective fears that aren’t your own. While no one enjoys a state of fear or anxiety, the mind actually feeds on these states, because they keep you analyzing and mentally stressing about the past and future. The mind doesn’t care how you feel in your body – it wants to chew on thoughts – stressful or not. And in 2021, for example, there is plenty of material to keep the mind chewing if you allow it to run wild – which most people unfortunately do.

Tools for Thought-Based Creation

So how can we use our minds positively, to experience a clearer version of reality and actually create the life we want to be living?

It begins by wiping clean the slate of our mind, and coming back to the state of stillness from which we can create anew.

Even those who know how the mind works often struggle to construct a masterpiece on the shaky foundation of their old thoughts, while constantly bombarded with new (and these days, normally chaotic) information coming in from the outside. Our mind is like a trodden beach filled with footprints upon which we can never create a clean start. We must first let the waves wash away all the lines in the sand before we can build a new castle upon it.

Returning to the Body

Embodiment is key for conscious living, as it provides the opportunity for a total mental reset.

Coming fully into your body, you’ll notice that the mind isn’t there at all. Old thought patterns dissolve into pure present being-ness. You return to a state of childlike presence that’s both so blissful, and so filled with a deeper knowing than your mind could ever have.

We often chase the experience of being fully in our bodies through high-adrenaline sports, working out, sex, skydiving, and ice water immersions, to name a few. Intuitively, we know this deeply embodied state is the way we want to feel, as it’s our natural state of being, but it’s difficult to reach in our mentally-driven world.

But we don’t need extreme experiences to come into a breathless and healing state of no-mind. Swimming in a river, connecting deeply with a lover, and gazing into a fire all bring us into our sensing bodies where we reconnect with our true self beyond the mind. And more simply, a daily yoga or movement practice, conscious walks, and meditating on your body can bring you directly to the place of no-mind, a ripe canvas upon which to design a masterpiece with fresh thoughts and actions based in conscious intention.


There is no better tool for resetting your mind than silence. Silence is the place where your mind comes to rest, and your intuition can speak. Whether you spend silent time in nature, sitting in meditation, or simply being in your body, it’s a powerful state to find awareness and clarity around your thoughts and stories, and connect to the space of inner peace inside yourself.

Changing your life requires changing your thought patterns. You cannot be identified with your story, and change your story. You must first detach from your story to see it from afar – only then can you rewrite a new narrative for yourself. Silence helps you press pause on the chaos inside your head, to create that clean ground for new beginnings.


Having a set of morning rituals is key for grounding your mind and body in a state of centeredness and empowerment. Movement, journaling, and meditation are three powerful practices that help build awareness and calm inside your mind, while connecting you to your true inner voice. Stream-of-consciousness journaling is an excellent way to connect to the voice of your true self, and uncover your real desires. This is also a place to create new stories about yourself and the world that serve these highest desires.

Choose Your Words Wisely

It’s language that brought us into the mental realm as children, and it’s language that can form our new reality when we use it consciously. Maintain acute awareness of the words you use when speaking about yourself and your life – and practice speaking about your desired reality in the present tense, rather than the future. When we speak about “wanting” something, we’re telling our subconscious mind to keep us in that state of “wanting” rather than having or being.

Get crystal clear on what you want to shift in your life and why. A strong desire backed by meaningful intention has power to it. Begin to use words that match the reality you desire, both in speaking to yourself internally, and to others in the world. Speak about your desired outcomes as though they are already here, and you’ll align your subconscious beliefs with what you actually want to experience.

Mind Mastery for Conscious Creation

Our mind is a powerful tool for creation when we fully understand how it’s constantly creating our reality. As Robin Sharma has said, “Our mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master” and it’s true – when left to run wild, our mind constructs our world from subconscious patterns rather than from true awareness and mastery.

It is not only the great masters and gurus who can harness the power of their mind. It’s purely by understanding and applying these principles of conscious living that we may all create real change in our lives, and build the reality we want to experience.

About the author:

Kristen Yates is a certified life coach, yoga and mindfulness teacher, and somatic healer with a passion for helping people connect to their innate confidence, clarity, and calling. She weaves together her background in psychology with holistic health and embodiment, energy work, nature-based shamanic practice and intuitive guidance into her guided journeys of personal transformation. She is the host of the Wild Awake Podcast and YouTube channel, and hosts transformational retreats and workshops worldwide in a mission to inspire people to activate their truth and inner power as the key to their freedom.

Connect with Kristen here:

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