This weekend I attended two very epic yoga classes, both of which shared a common theme – the theme that most of what we perceive as reality is in fact a lie that is made up by our minds. Our minds like to chatter, chatter, chatter away. Most of what our minds chatter are thoughts and judgments that are grounded in old patterns, judgments [of self and others], and baseless thought loops that are grounded in fears and old habits based on past experiences. 95% of our thoughts are lies that don’t serve us. Well, if 95% of our thoughts are lies, then what is truth and how do we know when we’ve found it?
This past Christmas I was blessed with having the ability to make time to read for pleasure. One of the books that I read was The Fifth Agreement by Ruiz and Ruiz. One of the central premises of the book is that the majority of what you hear and “know” is not true. Once you stop being a sponge and passively accepting everything that you have been [and are being told] is true, an awareness slowly begins to stir up inside of you.
How many things can you think of that are absolute truths vs. how many things can you think of that are “true” because a collective of individuals decided that they are true? Like a real marriage is between a man and a woman? Or success is a 6-figure income, a trophy mate, picture-perfect family, and the shiniest objects your money can buy? What really messes with my thoughts around “reality” is thinking about snakes’ ability to see in terms of thermal [infrared] patterns. If a snake and I are looking at the same person, yet we are both clearly “seeing” this person as two very different things, who is seeing reality? Or what about my dad who is color blind? If we both look at a sweater and I see a vibrant red whereas my dad sees a bland green, who is seeing reality? Me? Because more people see the red that I do? Just like the earth was considered flat for a long time because more people thought that was true? A famous quote says that the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes – but there are plenty of lovely and remote areas where there are no taxes and does death really exist if energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but merely converted from one form to another?!?
Ok. So What’s my point? My point is that I’m trying to open myself to the concept that there may be no such thing as an objective reality. Reality is literally created by us. This has been echoed by the Eastern philosophies for centuries… and supported by quantum physics (of all things). Yet it is still hard for me to wrap my head around this idea. If reality isn’t real… then what is real? And more importantly, what is real? My thoughts and affect control my perceptions which in turn controls my subsequent thoughts and [re]actions which then shape how I interact with my environment which in turn shapes how my environment reacts to me… add to that the idea that what I see isn’t actually “real” because what I see is limited by my brain’s ability to process what’s around it… and my head starts to spin. What the hell is going on around here? Literally. Whhhaaaaat?
According to The Fifth Agreement, knowledge is nothing but a description of a dream. My understanding of what this means is that what we “see” is literally just a reflection of our state of mind. Of our beliefs. Of how we’ve been programmed and have become accustomed to interpreting and seeing things. Case in point – think back to a situation when you were having a “bad day” and someone said something and it completely set you off. You were so sure at the time that what the person said was passive-aggressive or a dig at you or completely off-kilter… then a day or even a few hours later when your mood lifts and you reflect back you realize that you completely took things out of context and that your mood completely dictated your perception of the situation. But did it? Or is your “good mood” now distorting your perception of the situation? Or are both perceptions actually valid/”real”? I’m not sure… but another thing that the Fifth Agreement states is that intent is the only [real] living being that exists. So, applied to this previous example, the intention behind what your friend says is what dictates whether it was truly an act of aggression. Just like intention is fundamentally, when you think about it, what makes my fingers move as I type this.
So that being said, if 95% of everything that we know and think and see is lies, what is truth? I guess that truth is the 5% that remains. Truth is what remains when we break past our thought patterns and realize that our thoughts are just that – they’re thoughts. They’re reflections of the past and projections into the future but are they real? Is there even such a thing as “reality?” If each one of our “realities” is fundamentally a reflection of our perceptions, then can the simple act of setting an intention to be happy have the profound ability to transform our life? If I see life through rose-colored glasses, is it anything but the bumble bees and cupcakes that I see? What’s more, if like attracts like, then by choosing to see the bright side, am I not inviting more bounty into my life? I guess that beauty is in the eye of the beholder… but the pesky Ego, pain body, old wounds and a lack of full trust in the Universe, God, Gaia, (and myself) still prevent me from fully embracing this concept. However, at the same time, I know that there’s something to this. I’m just not open enough to fully embrace it yet… but I’m trying. Slowly, slowly, I’m working to transform from a ball of closed and scared to a ball of open and love. For all the fear and work and resistance that’s involved, there’s something so liberating in being unassumingly open. And so I continue to try. And sometimes I just can’t do it and so I regress into a big ball of closed… only now instead of fighting the ball of closed I try to embrace it and listen to it and break it down into the thought patterns and misperceptions of reality that are rooted in fear… knowing that every time it passes, it shows me that much more how good it feels to be open. It is the yang to my yin… a yang that I hope to one day mostly subdue. And so I continue to plod along, building my White Light and becoming more focused in what it is that makes me happy and thereby helps fuel the White Light that I can in turn project outwards. It’s like one of the tenets of Dao says – nothing is good or bad. Everything just is.