What is reality? No really, what is it? Have you ever thought to really delve into this question? I don’t mean in an existential or spiritual type of way. You don’t need to ingest hallucinogens to really take a look at what is real and come up with some answer for yourself, but — never mind. So let’s have a discussion about some ways to prospect this very interesting question. We do all assume we are living in a type of reality, correct? But what are the determinant factors of this said reality we all claim to have a solid grasp on.
Let’s start by getting physics out of the way and then we’ll ground this conversation to something more relatable. So as far as the physical universe is concerned for anything to be real it must meet 3 criterions. It must take up space, it must exist in time, and it must have form. Phew, that was easy! We could have a very long conversation about that alone, but I want to have this information be as useful as possible without getting into a complicated conversation about energy, atoms, and the like.
There are two (2) types of reality I would like to cover in this post. The first being the personal test for reality. The second is our collective reality. However, first let’s consider something. Do any two people on this planet process reality in the same way? Said another way, is there any two people who would wholly and completely see things the exact same way. I would wager no. Often the perspective, angle, past experiences and other factors can change how things are ultimately perceived and as such there are literally 7 billion different realities walking around on this planet. My reality and the opinions I base off it, would not be the same reality or opinions of even my best friend or my brother. Another example, if I were to put 1 person on a stage (test subject) in front of 20 other people. Then I proceeded to ask the 20 people to describe this person. I would literally get 20 different “stories” or perceptions about this person. They would perhaps describe physical traits, personality traits, or other perceived phenomenons. And while some observations may overlap the experience of this person on the stage and how the other 20 perceive him or her will be unique to the person that is observing our test subject. Let’s continue…
When I say personal reality, I literally mean, your own personal test for reality. There are many ways to answer this question. Experiences, religion, and pretty much anything you consider your past. Surely these must be real things, right? Well yes, sorta, but I simply want to look at something that as a specie we all share in common for the most part. I’m speaking of the five senses, the evolutionary masterpieces that were bestowed upon us and are commonly referred to as touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. These are the tools we’ve been given to navigate the turbulent waters of reality and life. The question I’d like to pose is this. When using these tools, would you say that they are a reliable gauge for reality? Personally, at one time or another, each if not all these senses have failed me. There are times where I’m sure I see one thing, but upon closer inspection, I’m dumb-founded to see that it is something completely different than I originally thought I saw. I know that I’ve misheard things on countless occasions. Whether it’s someone calling out my name or a sound I react to, only to find that there is no one or no thing in sight that could possibly have produced that sound. Am I crazy? Probably, but whatever – it keeps me interesting! I know that I’ve touched, tasted and smelled things only to realize that they were not what I originally thought they were. You get the point. These senses fail and probably fail consistently in some way shape or form whether we are conscious to them failing or not. So could we say they are reliable? Not really, perhaps as reliable as a Ford that was built in the 90s. It runs, but improvements could be made. As I said, let’s continue…
Now we come to the meat and the biscuits of our discussion. If our personal system for reliably delivering a picture of reality is unreliable, surely there must be a way to better determine the truth. Well, let’s look. The other major factor and component of reality is what COLLECTIVELY as a human race the majorities agree upon. If everyone thinks it’s true, then it must be true, right? Again, let’s inspect this. Didn’t everyone on the planet at one point in time perceive that the Earth was the center of the universe? Didn’t everyone on the planet at one point in time think the Earth was flat? Weren’t they absolutely certain of their reality? Not only were they certain, but their entire lives were shaped by these ideas, it literally determined the reality they lived in. Ships wouldn’t go past the horizon for fear of plummeting off the end of the earth. The “New World” as we call it wasn’t discovered by Europeans till Columbus famously found it while searching for India in 1492! India, huh?
Have you ever stopped to consider why the Earth being discovered as part of the universe instead of at the center of the universe was such a big deal? Everyone on Earth thought they were Gods at that point in time! The universe was created and at the center of it all was the universe’s ultimate creation. US! (WO)MAN! HOORAY! I can’t even begin to imagine the social impact this new discovery had on our specie when the idea began to permeate throughout the world. How people, their views, and realities must have changed over the next few hundred years in acceptance of this idea. How their reality altered and what they had to deal with personally to live inside this new paradigm shift. To understand that we were not quite as divine as we had probably assumed for thousands of years would have a tremendous impact socially speaking. It would re-determine who we were, the roll we played, and realities that we set forth. Talk about a bummer!
There are still ideas like this today that could permeate and impact our specie on a very grand scale, but that’s a conversation for another post and perhaps these ideas could be the ultimate shift in consciousness if it is adapted by us wholly and completely as a specie, but I digress – Going back to the Collective reality idea, sure, it’s easy and popular to believe what everyone believes. These ideas guide us, shape us, have us reacting to things, we make decisions based on them and so forth. But looking at it now, would you say that’s an accurate test for reality? Nope, not so much. Hmmmmm?
We’ve looked at these two tests for reality and we can see they are mostly unreliable. We’ve also established that reality and truth is unique to the individual or the observer and that we each have our own set of reality. So again I pose this question? What is the major determinant for reality for each of us then? Let me chime in with a proposal. Language!
You’ll hear people say, it’s what separates us from the animals. Exactly, animals do speak, but our use of language has far surpassed any specie as far as we can tell and has allowed us to achieve a great many things. If you read my previous article about becoming present I was attempting to make you aware of patterns in your life. Patterns that are both conscious and unconscious. Patterns that literally determine just about everything about your belief system, who you are, who others are, and finally what your reality is. Let me say that again, reality IS what comes out of your mouth. I know this may be too difficult or maybe even too simple to grasp, but if you really look at it, the only thing that determines who you are and the world that is around you, is what we say about yourself and what we collectively say about the world around us together.
I saw this brilliant Morgan Freeman Interview and Morgan is asked about Black History Month and then about what it would take to stop racism and he says something so brilliant. “Stop talking about it!” I think the message may have been missed by most who viewed it, but what Morgan was eluding to is that racism is a function of language. It doesn’t truly exist in reality. Language puts things into reality and they are taken out of reality just as quick as the word is done being said. In order for something to remain, nay, for the experience of something to remain in reality it must be spoken about over and over again. Notice for yourself. If you’ve ever been in a loving relationship and the other person stops saying they love you. Where does love go? Doesn’t it seem to disappear? If you are heartbroken over someone, but you don’t stop talking about them, how they hurt you, or how much you miss them. Doesn’t the heart break remain in place? It’s only when you consciously choose to move past it and stop talking about it consistently, that the feelings about it begin to diminish and then the impact itself slowly is removed to faded memories. Well, that’s how everything works. If you speak it and keep speaking it, you’ll keep getting it. I knew a very wise man once and he would say, “Say the same thing, have the same life. Say something different, have a completely different life. “
This is great news I just gave you. I just told you that you are in the driver seat of your life. Whatever area of your life is not working for you, I want you to look at it. Just look! What are you saying about it? What are you complaining about consistently? Who are you complaining about? What are others around you saying to keep this conversation alive with you? Have you ever noticed that the people who talk about not wanting drama in their lives are the ones that have it the most! Or the people who we call hypochondriacs and worry about health are the ones who get sick the most! Or the ones that talk about how everything always goes wrong for them – well, it does. Because they won’t stop speaking it and reality will follow your words. Ultimately, what you need to alter or transform any area of your life is to take responsibility for what you’ve said up until now, be committed to no longer saying that (this requires becoming present), and begin a new and empowering conversation about that area, that person, that situation, whatever it might be for you. I promise you, if you keep speaking those new words, what will show up is a new reality! This is simple and may not be easy, but there are ways to practice this as well.
Last point; don’t treat conversations like they are objects. They aren’t. You can put an object down, like a cup of water, and you can leave it on a table. Given that no one else has moved that cup, you could come back to that table in ten years and that cup will still be there. Conversations are not like that. You can’t tell someone you love them once and then expect love to be present forever. Conversations disappear! They are more attuned to a puff of smoke. You see it and poof, gone. For the things you do want in life, keep creating them, and keep speaking them. For all the things that weigh you down, are a burden, offer you no peace, self-expression or freedom. Here’s my suggestion. LET THEM GO!! Resisting them, won’t help, that’s an illusion. Guilting and punishing yourself, that won’t help; it just keeps that conversation around and also disables you from truly hearing anything new. Finding friends to corroborate stories you’ve made up that disempower you, will only give strength to the things you don’t want. Learn to let things flow through you. When circumstances occur that you don’t enjoy, DO NOT become stiff like a wall and resist. If you resist you never move past stuff. You must learn to accept things the way they are or they never alter. You can not control life, it will keep coming at you the way it comes at you. The only thing you can choose is who you are going to be when these circumstances arise. These choices can and will completely alter your experience and your reality if you allow them to.
People spend their whole lives this way, not choosing who they are going to be. Is that really worth your life? Your energy or your time? Have you ever seen the people on the NYC subway, it’s seems like everyone is trying to have a “who can look more miserable” contest. Like they can show you that their life is harder than yours by the look on their face. This proves what exactly? People are very identified with what is comfortable and what is known to them. Even if this knowing is something that causes them much displeasure and pain, they will continue to do it because it’s predictable and people are mostly scared of the unknown. My assertion is that in the unknown lies peace. In the unknown lie your dreams. In the unknown lies the life you always imagined, but always seems outside your grasp. In the unknown the human race can evolve. We just need to have the courage to take that risk. I know fear comes into play here. But choose courage instead. Courage is not experiencing the lack of fear, but rather acting even in the presence of fear!
I challenge you to look at areas of your life that aren’t working or that you want to take to the next level and distinguish for yourself the conversation you are having about that area. What are you really and authentically saying about this area? If you can get straight with yourself about it, then it will be very clear why it is the way it is. And while it may sting for a second, a minute or even a day to really be that honest with yourself, this will be the first step you take into completely transforming this area and giving yourself freedom like you’ve never experienced before. Freedom is having a choice! Most people don’t choose they decide based on their circumstances. Decide is synonymous with words like homicide, suicide, genocide. It means that once you pick something you are no longer present to an alternative or another possibility. When you choose and choose freely it’s something you can do on a second-by-second basis. It’s pure creation. It’s pure freedom. It’s what life could be and should be for everyone. Choose to make a difference in your life today!
Peace & Love