To answer that, we need to ask: what is reality? Everybody has a different perception of reality. Do you know that in a room full of people, all witnessing the same exact event, you can end up with as many different reports on what happened as there were people in the room? Is this solely a matter of perspective? I can’t believe that is all there is to it. In fact, I believe something different.
I believe that our individual realities are wholly influenced by the sum of our personal experiences. That is to say that – whether you believe in reincarnation, or not – the sum total of everything our individual soul has experienced influences our perceptions. Therefore, reality is subject to interpretation. As such, it stands to reason that a lot of our miscommunications with others are caused by this convergence of multiple realities.
With that said, what is actually real? In asking that question, we are also asking “what can we count on?” I think a lot of us ponder this question on a regular basis – though it may be expressed differently. We know we can rely on ourselves (though at times even that may seem distant). But can we truly depend on anyone, or anything, else? The world has seen a lot of upheaval lately: the economy, natural disasters, violence, crime. That which we had assumed as stable and reliable – or real – didn’t always turn out to be. So, if the one thing we can almost always rely on is our self, what else can we do to bring balance to our lives and help bridge the gap between our reality and the realities of others around us?
It’s a classic case of “he said, she said.” Unfortunately, the fact that I can use the word “classic” in that sentence implies that it’s an all-too-common experience. We get caught up in our own personal stories (realities) and we act accordingly. More to the point, we REACT accordingly, especially when our pride gets involved. We know we’re “right,” because it’s our reality. So, the other person can’t be “right.” Here’s the truth, though: nobody’s right, and nobody’s wrong. We all have our own realities, and at times, they come into conflict with somebody else’s.
The natural desire to have interpersonal relationships causes us to seek out people with similar experiences, thereby adding validation to our own reality. Where it gets complex is when we attempt to have others conform to us. Though they may have similar experiences, we would do well to remember that they still have their own perspective on what’s “real” to them.
When you boil it down and reduce it to it’s purest form, it’s about knowledge, tolerance and acceptance. Which are arrived at by choice. Yes, once more it’s about choice. We’ve all heard the popular phrases “positive mental outlook” or “attitude of gratitude” – but when you’re in the midst of heartache or financial turmoil, it seems more difficult to find the strength to “choose” to modify your attitude. Interestingly, though, it’s primarily during times of struggle that most people come to realize the importance of thinking differently. It’s in suffering that the greatest changes can occur. When we are stripped of all the trappings of our ego, we create an opportunity for faith, hope and possibility to plant seeds and grow roots in our minds.
A perfect example is when we argue with someone close to us. When we fight, we (our egos) typically just want to be heard and validated for our point of view, which we determine is “right.” However, if we have learned that there are multiple realities based on individual experience and interpretation (knowledge), and we allow for the possibility that there is no “right” or “wrong” (tolerance), we become more accepting of the truth and can focus our attention on what we truly need: which is not to be proven “right” or prove someone else “wrong,” but to be heard and acknowledged. We can harmoniously agree to disagree, and our relationships will be the better for it.
So, the next time you’re feeling “right” about something, and you don’t understand why the other person can’t seem to see how right you are, perhaps you should consider that their reality – their interpretation of events, based on their experiences – gives them an alternate view of the situation, and is just as valid as your own. In honoring their view, you also honor yours – simply by choosing a response based in knowledge, tolerance and acceptance.
Welcome to serenity.
In Love and Light,