At a young age I decided there are a few concepts and philosophies that I would deliberately choose to ignore for three reasons; a) it would hurt my head to think about them, b) once I started exploring I would never want to stop and c) I also knew there was also a high chance I’d never find the answer.
And I kept my childhood promise to myself. I’ve dismissed political puppetry, I’ve rejected religion and I’ve never once dared to think about how the universe began and if it ever ends.
But following a few recent comments and questions around my solo travel “escapism”, my thoughts began to circle one of the greatest phenomena of all time.
What actually is reality?
What Is Reality?
We tend to think of reality as our situation and our surroundings; tangible things we see, hear, smell and feel.
We feel like it’s something that’s out of our control, something forced upon us by some sort of divine nature. We convince ourselves that it’s out of our control and we can only accept or deny what is given to us. Our reality spans all of time; from our past to our present and out to our future.
But maybe, just like my three onions of consciousness, there are many different layers to reality. And maybe we only ever really look at the surface of it all.
Spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, says that “words reduce reality to something that human mind can grasp, which isn’t very much”. He says “we are all trapped in mental constructs, and so we separate ourselves from reality; the whole world loses its aliveness, or, rather, we lose our ability to sense that aliveness, the sacredness of nature”.
And I think he could be right.
It’s our minds that create the ego and the ego that isolates us from the world around us. It creates a perception of distance that doesn’t actually exist.
And so it makes sense that the only way to truly experience reality, is by dismissing the mind completely and peeling back the layers of reality from within.
The Power Of Now
So after four years of deep introspection through yoga and meditation, that’s exactly what I did.
It wasn’t through reading books, watching Ted Talks or listening to podcasts. I found my answers unexpectedly one day, lying poolside in Chiang Mai with the sun beaming down on my body and tiny beads of sweat rolling down from my stomach and shoulders down onto the towel beneath me.
There were birds in the trees nearby and I could hear the water, slowly tickling the white grids at the edge of the pool. The world around me was still and calm, but the more I meditated, the longer I stayed there, listening, observing, feeling, the more I could feel the subtle but vibrant chaos of life.
My form melted away. I was just a collection of a trillion particles, vibrating in unison and colliding with one another. I could feel I was part of something much much bigger than anything I’d ever known. I could feel reality from within – and without.
Reality was all around.
In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love.
jjhiii24 1 May 2019
I have been following along with you for some time now and have enjoyed browsing through your postings very much, and wanted to acknowledge your skills in storytelling and for finding ways to invite your readers into your world. Reading here is an intellectual pleasure and feels a lot like sitting in a really comfortable chair as I read along. Being able to create such a response is a rare ability that you clearly have and it almost feels sometimes as though we are sitting next to you in that chair as you describe your circumstances and dig deeper into your experiences.
My own musings on my blog include many attempts to address the ineffable nature of experiential reality or subjective awareness in being alive, but you somehow are able to make these experiences palpable, and I have been trying to work both sides of the equation by incorporating both stories and science as a means of encouraging everyone to consider that both are relevant and understanding both are integral to achieving a broader view of reality.
Your experience in the jungle in Myanmar and your meditative experience which acknowledges both the physical reality and the inner experience of a living breathing human are inspiring. Acknowledgement that our own “inner experience,” as constituting the core of our own true being and our greatest source of wisdom strike me as a very important conclusion for anyone seeking a greater understanding generally, and your talent for engagement with your readers is both enviable and enjoyable.
Great stuff!…John H.
allmyheroesareweirdos 21 June 2019
I am SO sorry for the delay in replying to this really wonderful message – I wanted to find the time to do so properly and well, as you may know I’ve been ridiculously busy lately! Your kind words brightened up my day and I’m really grateful.
Writing has been such a cathartic adventure and it’s interesting that I only tend to write when I’m truly happy. Sadness or business tend to give me writer’s block and they made me lose touch recently with that deeper level of consciousness I’d been connecting with. Today, I’m getting that back – so expect more ramblings of a similar sort and I look forward to reading yours!
Thanks again – kind words of encouragement can make all the difference!