How Real Is Our Reality
How Real Is Our Reality
The inspiration for this article came by following the current situation with the pandemic and seeing what is happening in the world. Observing people’s reactions got me thinking about how we perceive the world around us. Do we get to experience the reality of things or do we experience a reality that is “given” to us by others. Here is one take on it.
WHAT WE SEE IS WHAT WE GET, ISN’T IT?
We have a long practice of trusting our five senses. We rely on them to understand the world and to perceive it as reality. And we have a proof of that, because we have a fist hand experience of things, we have seen, heard, touched things and we KNOW them to be true. Also, almost everyone around tells us that it IS the truth.
In light of the above then, it means that when we see the sun during the day move from east to west and sets behind the hills (or the sea), the logic from our visual sense tells us that the sun moves around the Earth. If we were to radically believe our own sense of sight, wouldn’t this be the conclusion?! And yet, this is only true in our mind.
Or, when a bell rings. We know that the only thing the bell can produce is vibrations in the air, and if those vibrations are between 20 vibrations per second and 20,000 vibrations per second, the sound is heard in the mind. If the vibration increases beyond that frequency, suddenly there is a silence and we hear nothing. So, we know that the sound is not in the bell but in our own mind.
Now, let’s take the sense of touch, When our clothing touches our skin, what we think we experience is the sense of touch, which says that the t-shirt is touching the skin. Or, is it? If we look at the skin and try to find receptors for touch we cannot find them because there aren’t any. There are many different receptors in the tissue and the muscles below the skin but the sense of touch does not exist as such. It is a combination of many different nerves that transmit energy and finally we experience the “touch” only in our minds.
The taste (gustatory) is an interesting sense. If one person tastes an apple, and then a second person tastes the same apple, they should agree 100% and say that, for example, this particular apple is delicious. However, while the first person may say it’s the best apple they’ve had, the second person could easily say that this is not true because the apple is too sour and definitely not sweet enough. How is that possible then? If we are experiencing the true reality shouldn’t we agree about the apple? Meaning, what IS should be THAT for everyone, shouldn’t it?
Well, it should. But, it is not. It is not because most of what we experience in our lives is our perception, it IS ONLY IN OUR MINDS, and our minds, through our five physical senses can easily be influenced about the reality of things.
Our five senses are here to helps us but if we only and exclusively relied on them to experience reality, it kind of looks like we are in trouble. So what do most of us do?…we accept the “well-intended” ideas, opinions and “facts” of others as our own truths and continue to live our lives in that fashion. Then, we wonder why there are so many unhappy people in the world.
Some of us will rightly say here, “but the things I’ve learned about myself and about life have come from people that I trusted and that loved me, like my parents, teachers etc..” And of course, this is so. Only there is one BIG catch here, and the example with the apple above demonstrates it.
That example suggests that MY truth is not always YOUR truth and equally, what’s true for you it’s not necessarily true for me, etc., etc., etc. This is not about who’s right or wrong but it is about shedding some light on how WE as human beings truly function.
Unfortunately, in life most of the time we don’t get the information from our own minds (that is to say, we don’t really think for ourselves) and not even from our 5 senses. Instead, we get it from the opinions and the “facts” of others. And it would be great if those others were our families or people that loved us, and had our best interests in their hearts. However, the reality is not like that. Most of the time we give our own power of choice to marketing gurus, politicians, billionaires, media moguls, movie stars and various fake spiritual masters that say that they know what is best for us.
Really? Is that so?
Have those people tried the apple themselves and agreed on it?? And even if they have agreed that they liked it, it does NOT mean that EVERYONE else will like it too.
The susceptibility and the naïveté (here I mean lack of experience) of the human mind is very well known to all the people who make it their job to sell their ideas and opinions to the rest of the population. It is also known that people consciously or unconsciously search for leaders (especially in uncertain times) and because of how we were conditioned to experience the world through our five senses, it is relatively easy for someone to sell to us their ideas of “WHO” we should be, “WHAT” we should do and “HOW” we should live “OUR” own lives.
So, here is a question to all of us my fellow human beings…
Do we want to live “OUR” lives the way somebody chooses for us or,
do we want to live OUR lives the way we choose for ourselves?
In different words this question can be asked in this form:
Do we want to contribute to the misery in the world or,
Do we want to contribute to the happiness in the world?
Ah yes, maybe some of you will say, “you’re being silly Toni, I didn’t make the world the way it is today. I am only one person in a world of billions”.
DO WE UNDERSTAND OUR IMPORTANCE?
Herein lies the crux of things. We, ourselves, don’t realise the power we wield. And before you think of conspiracy theories etc., it is not about us vs. them. There is no THEM. It is only US. It is us vs. us. We are ONE. This is the context for what Mahatma Gandhi said:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do. Be the change that you want to see in the world. ”
Choose in your life whatever you will, BUT, make sure that YOU and ONLY YOU have chosen it. You may decide to accept others’ ideas, but choose well. You may decide to accept others’ “facts”, but choose well. You may decide to accept others’ opinions too, but be clear that those are only opinions, that “they liked eating that particular apple”. You may not, you may choose to eat a pear.
When we (or most of us) decide to do this choosing and thinking for ourselves, our individual lives will be different, and that will also make the world a very different place. All it takes is one decision.
Before I finish this article, I would like to share one idea that may help you find your own power through your own thoughts. I will share an OPINION. However, as with all other opinions, the same principle applies. It is on you to make the BEST choice for YOU and what feels RIGHT for YOU. Try the apple and if you like it, great, continue eating it; and if you don’t like it, also great, stop and change it! What most of us need to realise is that we always have a choice in life, but the only way to take this choice is when WE choose our own thoughts. This is where OUR power lies.
THE LAW OF LEAST EFFORT
Here is the law of least effort from Deepak Chopra with few additional comments.
There are three steps:
- Practice Acceptance. I Accept people, situation, circumstances and events as they happen. I will know that every moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. My acceptance is total and complete. I accept things as they are at this moment, not as you wish they were. I accept my emotions, my feelings and physical sensations and will acknowledge and welcome them as they are.
- Once I have accepted things and my emotions as they are, I will take Responsibility for my situation, my emotions and feelings, and for all those events that I see as problems. Taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation (including myself). I am also aware that every problem is an opportunity in disguise, and this alertness to opportunities allows me to take this moment and transform it into a greater benefit. I will be an observer.
- Today my awareness will remain established in Openness. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view, and I will feel no need to persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open to all points of view and not be rigidly attached to any one of them. However, I will remember and will stay constantly aware that MY POINT OF VIEW creates MY LIFE.
As a final note of this article, I would like to finish with a phrase that somebody said to me this week:
“The powerlessness is an illusion of the mind”