you may understand how the adoption of the outward and visible sign has some strange influence in developing the inward and spiritual state of which it is the expression.
The first, on an individual level, is as a kind of cognitive therapy or as a way of generating rules of conduct: if you believe certain propositions, or try to make yourself believe them, the world becomes more tolerable and your behaviour better adapted to it. This need not be because they are simply grand untruths. It might be because they are needed to balance other grand untruths generated by default by other bits of my mind.
..., I knew on one level that my fears were ridiculous, and that there are in fact no lions on Swiss alps, no wolf-packs in the lake district and no giant carnivorous elk anywhere. But the only thing that made them go away was to behave as if I were not frightened and to summon up images of my spiritual self as a larger, more dangerous beast than anything to be found around me. Propositional truth did nothing for my fears. Propositional falsehood worked.
Acid, quenelles, teleology
Andrew Brown (again)
Perform the acts of faith and faith will come
Loyola, Exercises (1548)
From Dawn to Decadence page 39
Assume a virtue, if you have it not,... For use can almost change the stamp of nature
Hamlet to his mother (1602)
So with faith, if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.
we need only in cold blood ACT as if the thing in question were real, and keep acting as if it were real, and it infallibly end by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real
Principals of Psychology Chapter 21 (1890)
Helen blushed, and Sister Teresa seemed to read her thoughts. "In the beginning, we all feel a bit like imposters in our capes and veils and being called 'Sister.' But don't worry about it - just act like you think a nun should when you're not sure what to do, and you'll find that through grace and love, you become one."
Mark Salzman p83
Brain scientist also tell us what we�ve always known, that practice makes perfect. Repetition of an action actually strengthens neural pathways, which James Austin calls, �long-term potentiation.�
I see that I found several of these here (pdf).
10/24/04 - Lot's of good stuff in Remembering the Future, Imagining the Past: Story, Ritual, and the Human Brain by David Hogue. There's even an index entry for "living as if".