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What does Buddhism think about/or is it accepted in it that we influence everything with our (un)conscious thoughts and emotions and impressions (because these are also some form off thoughts right?) and can't not influence the universe we live in. Lately I have the fear that my thoughts influence everything around me and happening in my live. Last night I couldn't even watch a movie because I was paralyzed by the fear or thought of having a negative influence on it and making it worse. Then I came to the thought that maybe our universe is refreshing every millisecond and that everything we do or think generates another outcome.

The thought is making me crazy because this would mean we have an immense responsibility on ourselves that everything we do does has an influence. I have this fear lately sometimes to watch the live news also fearing that I might in some way influence the newsspeaker with my nervousness. I can still imagine that this all is BS and not true. But there are so many weird impressions that I've had that my awareness like when watching a movie does have an effect on the scene. Or is this all an illusion and I'm I suffering from delusions? Also does Buddhism believe in different dimensions? And also Buddhism does accept consciousness is non-local right? So it's entirely possibly that my awareness does influence a news speaker?

  • Ego, self-important thought. Discard. – user2341 Mar 23 '18 at 0:59
  • You are very much scaring yourself. Have you properly tested that a news-speaker was influenced by your thought? If not, why do you believe you can? Don't overthink and get all caught up with self-imposed fears. – Krizalid_13190 Mar 23 '18 at 3:56
  • Well I just can't help but feel it's not coincidence. It's not persé the newsspeaker being influenced by my thoughts, well in a way it is, but by thoughts I mean mym mindstate, for example nervousness or stressfullness, and I've noticed when I feel nervous and watch the news I project this feeling on the newsspeaker and make him nervous. The same for live debates. If I watch a live debate when I don't feel so well and a little nervous I feel and see that the people debating in some way sense this. – Sammy Vdb Mar 24 '18 at 1:20
  • This isn't that farfetched, seeing if you believe that consciousness is non-local. Your awareness and state of mind can be felt by other people, just as if you might have the feeling that someone's watching you, you can sense that also or when ur high on pot, ur surroundings well sense this. Either I'm right or it's just an illusion that it seems that way that I have an effect or it really does... and I'm guessing the later. – Sammy Vdb Mar 24 '18 at 1:21
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This is a very interesting question.

In psychological interpretation of Buddhism, our perception of reality is mediated by our mind's modeling and representational activity. In this perspective the state of our mind - our biases, preconceptions, emotional condition - form the interpretative/evaluative framework through which we perceive reality. This perception of reality then determines our reactions and choices, which lead to immediate and latent effects (karma). This works as self-fulfilling prophecy or a self-reinforcing vicious circle: negative mindstates => negative interpretation => negative action => negative effects => negative mindstates.

In ontological interpretation(s) of Buddhism the structure of reality is understood to be different from what we normally assume, and its relationship with mind is not just that of modeling and observation.

In one such interpretation, reality consists of multiple planes ("realms") between which we can shift depending on our state of mind, each of these realms looking like a complete world with its own consistent logic. In other interpretations, reality is either multidimensional or quantum, with our mind either able to change the focus along the extra dimension(s) or collapse the quantum function. In yet another interpretation there are no fixed planes as such, and whatever we perceive is assembled by our minds from some sort of multidimensional strings of energy.

As far as I know, there is no one who seems to be able to explain exactly how this stuff works... Two of my Buddhist teachers insisted that reality is literally a reflection of our mindstate. In other words, they claimed that Buddhism is not a psychological metaphor. One of them alluded to the "multidimensional worlds" interpretation and the other mentioned "multidimensional strings" - but none gave exhaustive explanation. The other Buddhist teachers I interacted with or studied under, remained ambiguous on the matter. Most of the time, the attitude I get is: "it does not matter what it is as long as you know how to navigate it."

The Buddha himself remained famously ambiguous on the question with his Safe Bet theory:

"As you have not found an agreeable teacher, you should adopt and practice this safe-bet teaching, for this safe-bet teaching — when accepted and adopted — will be to your long-term welfare & happiness.

If there is the next world, [karma, causality], then this venerable person — on the breakup of the body, after death — will reappear in a good destination, a heavenly world. Even if we didn't speak of the next world [karma, causality], this venerable person is still praised in the here-&-now by the observant as a person of good habits & right view. If there really is a next world, then this venerable person has made a good throw twice, in that he is praised by the observant here-&-now; and in that — with the breakup of the body, after death — he will reappear in a good destination, a heavenly world. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when well grasped & adopted by him, covers both sides, and leaves behind the possibility of the unskillful.

From my personal side, I used to be an adherent of the psychological interpretation for many years, until some recent events in my life that screamed of the ontological interpretation. So now I'm a bit uncertain myself and am sticking to the Safe Bet until I can figure it out. Or I guess, I think I know the answer (it's ontological) just not ready to fully accept it yet.

In response to your concerns about your mind affecting the universe or the newsspeaker etc. I suggest that you stick to the Safe Bet and try to eliminate this worry and these negative states of mind. If there are no other dimensions, you don't want to develop a psychosis that will turn your life in a nightmare through the mechanism of vicious circle. And if there are other dimensions, you don't want to shift to a bad one by being negative, are you? ;)

I hope one day we will figure it out. Until then, let's stick to the Four Right Efforts:

... monks, you should apply effort toward:
- non-arising of bad, pathological states of mind that have not yet arisen.
- abandonment of bad, pathological states of mind that have arisen.
- arising of wholesome states of mind that have not yet arisen.
- maintenance and development of wholesome states of mind that have arisen.

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Or is this all an illusion and I'm I suffering from delusions?

I think it's a mixture:

  • Some of what you said agrees with what I understand of Buddhism
  • Some of what you said seems to me to be delusions

These kinds of thoughts seem to me to be delusions:

  • my thoughts influence everything around me
  • last night I couldn't even watch a movie because I was paralyzed by the fear or thought of having a negative influence on it
  • I have this fear lately sometimes to watch the live news also fearing that I might in some way influence the newsspeaker with my nervousness

And from a comment:

  • Your awareness and state of mind can be felt by other people, just as if you might have the feeling that someone's watching you, you can sense that also or when ur high on pot, ur surroundings well sense this.

I think these are symptoms of what people call "paranoia", and possibly "drug-induced psychosis".

If this state of mind is persistent (which you say it is), if it bothers you (which you say it does), if it interferes with your life, IMO you should tell (complain of) these symptoms of mental health, to your medical doctor.


Conversely the following statements have some correspondence in Buddhist doctrine (i.e. even if they're not Buddhist doctrine, they remind me of something that is).

we influence everything with our thoughts

This sounds like the start of the Dhammapada:

  1. All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha' follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.
  2. All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness (sukha) follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.

I think it's not that you directly influence other people (or movies) though; it's that you influence your own mental state (mental phenomena): including feelings, perceptions, formations, etc.

It's to that extent and in that way that we "influence the universe we live in".

We can also have some on affect other people, but I think that requires actions (not just thoughts); so for example Buddhism recommends the Five precepts (for everyone, not just monks) so that you're harmless (don't cause harm).

N.B. that the fifth precept probably advises to stop being "high on pot", see for example How do different traditions define "intoxicant"?

You also affect people (and yourself) by giving gifts and practising generosity; by right livelihood; by accepting good advice from good friends, and avoiding bad advice from bad friends; and so on.

our universe is refreshing every millisecond

I think that's Abhidhamma doctrine (which I have tended to avoid, I started with the Suttas instead) -- see for example this answer.

I think that's not "the universe" refreshing, rather it consists of "mind-moments" or the process of consciousness.

I haven't investigated that doctrine, I'm not sure that the purpose of it is.

Buddhism is often described as a Middle Way between extremes. Perhaps it has some practices or doctrines, for people for whom the world seems too real; and a different set, for people for whom the world is unreal (who don't have a solid grasp of "reality").

Also does Buddhism believe in different dimensions?

Yes and no.

I think that Buddhism teaches that other "realms" exist, e.g. various "heavens" and "hells", and "ghosts", and the animal world.

I guess that partly to explain the workings of karma ("what happens to bad people, especially after they die?"), and partly because some people (and/or some scriptures, doctrine) say that those realms exist.

I find it better to understand that realms as being states of mind (e.g. when you're confused and anxious and so on that's a bit hellish, when you're greedy or unrestrained, unthinking, that's maybe animal-like).

So it's entirely possibly that my awareness does influence a news speaker?

I don't think so (that sounds to me like a delusion), but I do think you can affect on your own awareness.

If you stop watching the news, for example; if you make a new habit of not watching the news ... that won't make the speaker (the person) disappear, or anything ... but they (the sense-impressions, memories) will fade from your awareness (and may be replaced by however else you start to spend your time instead).

I think that what's called "guarding the senses" or "guarding your own mind" is a fundamental practice; see for example these answers:

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With regards to the human realm ...

Psychic influence of worldly phenomena and the thoughts of others is possible only by those who have acquired such powers from certain spiritual practices, and they are not conducive to enlightenment. The Buddha could do a psychic transmission of messages to some of his disciples, according to the suttas.

I don't think the thoughts of ordinary people have a lot of psychic influence on the world around us, just as if one person or even all persons jump simultaneously, they would not cause the Earth to change its rotation. Similarly, your unexpressed thoughts are not going cause someone else to get influenced.

However, through the ordinary medium of transmitting thoughts to others via speech and other ordinary communication, societies can evolve a collective mind. This forms the basis for the development of culture in societies and nations.

In other realms, it may be possible that beings there have psychic communication.

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