However you fill in the “I Am” blank (I am strong, I am weak, I am rich, I am poor, etc.), changes What Is. It is indeed as physics tells us: You (the observer) affect what you see. You change What Is when you “interpret” it through the prism of your beliefs.
At the pure “I Am” stage or level,” What Is, is. However, the instant you “fill in the blank” beyond “I Am…” you make a choice based on your relative position to—or beliefs about—What Is. At that point you create illusion. The un-manifest (What Is) becomes the manifest (illusion, or the “real world”). It becomes something other than what it is; it becomes what you believe or interpret it to be.
Obviously, another person (or Point of View) viewing What Is could observe exactly what you observe and fill in the “I Am” blank differently. In doing so, that person (or Point of View) creates a different experience of What Is, which leads him to a different set or stream of experiences than the set of experiences created by the first person.
Every adjective used to fill in the “I Am” blank is relative. That is, when you say “I am tall,” I say, “Compared to what?” Every adjective used to fill the “I Am” blank is based on comparison. I am bad. I am good. I am happy. I am sad. I am in a great mood. I am in a terrible mood. And in making that comparison, “you” (the Point of View) are thinking while doing the comparison, even if it is just an extremely fleeting thought. What happens in the instant?
First, since you cannot actually think of two things at exactly the same instant, you are now at least slightly—often much more than slightly—out of the Now Moment (because you’re comparing the Now Moment to other things in order to quantify what you are observing in some way, e.g., good, bad, right, wrong, etc.).
Second, you are literally creating illusion. Because What Is…is what it is. That is, it arrives in the universe in a neutral state, and without an inherent label or significance. When you label it, you are “creating” illusion, or your experience of the world you see (your experience of What Is). The world as you see it exists only through your perception. For example, you may be sitting in a room full of people, watching TV and everyone else is of a political party different from your own. On election night they see the results of the election and their candidate wins. They see exactly the same thing you do, yet their world is enhanced, they are jubilant, while you see trouble ahead and are deeply depressed.
What Is, is what is. You shape your experience of What Is through your beliefs, thoughts and actions. Your beliefs determine your thoughts and actions and, thus, your experience of What Is, as well as a “stream of Future Now’s” that result from your experience of What Is. For example, if your experience of What Is, is one of anger and frustration, your thoughts and actions will create a different life experience than if your experience of What Is, is one of acceptance, allowing and appreciation. Even if what you experience is something you would prefer not to experience.
I’m not saying to “deny” What Is. When you experience something you would prefer not to experience—after accepting What Is—you may want to ask yourself what you can do in order to move things in a direction that you would prefer. Determine what you can to do to create an experience you believe is better for yourself and others. Do that and forget about the rest of it: the “mind foam” about what could or should have been; the “inner dialogues” between you and others that should have, but never will, take place. If you can do something about it, do it. If you can’t, accept it and move on. This is sanity.
My experience with most things that anger and frustrate me, is that my obsession with such things is futile because I’m looking for answers to important things outside myself. Which implies that what I consider “problems” lie outside myself. Which implies separation between “me” and “out there.” This type of thinking creates anxiety and frustration. It is usually counterproductive in no small part because I am putting responsibility for “my problems” outside myself. It also implies that I put responsibility for solutions to my problems outside myself. Waiting for the world to change, waiting for others to think and act differently is the recipe for a very unhappy life.
When I find myself experiencing something I don’t prefer, I do my best to identify the beliefs that “interpret” What Is in a manner I don’t prefer, and then I work to change those beliefs. Not only can you change your beliefs, you change your beliefs frequently throughout your life, often as the result of trauma or suffering. Sometimes you change your beliefs because of wonderful events, like having a child or getting married.
You can also change your beliefs proactively. An exercise that helps you become more “mindful” or self-aware is to identify beliefs that do not serve you well. This is easier to do than it might seem at first. It often helps to notice “symptoms of unease or discomfort” and trace back why and/or when those symptoms appear. For example, you might notice that you feel bad, anxious, angry, etc. whenever you think about a certain subject or person. Not always, but often you may be able to control your exposure to that subject or person. For example, if you find that politics make you angry, you might recognize that you start feeling angry about politics whenever you listen to a particular radio show, TV show or go to a particular website. With a little work you can make different choices about where you focus your attention. When you do, you may notice it’s easier than you thought it would be to make changes and feel better. In fact, you may never want to renew those old habits because you feel so much better. (Note: Just because you’re no longer angry or frustrated about something doesn’t mean you can’t still feel passionately about it and work to affect a more preferred experience regarding that person or thing. In fact, the more clearly focused you are about something, the more likely you are to affect changes and create preferable outcomes. If that’s still what you want to do. The more focused you become, the more clearly you perceive the world, the more your beliefs change about what you consider good, bad, right, wrong, and preferable. You literally “see” things, people and events in a different, clearer light.)