Reality is not what it seems to be. In fact, we may be the only species that first imagines its world and then believes its illusion is reality.
For starters, we mistakenly believe that we are a body. The truth is, we have had many bodies. We've inhabited an infant's body, a toddler's body, a teenager's body, an adult's body. Science tells us we replace every cell in our bodies on average, once every seven years. Yet "we" are still here alive. Who is this "we" that stays alive after all of those other bodies have died off? The illusion is that we are a body. The reality is that we inhabit a body.
Look at our senses. We take the limits of our senses as the limits of our imagined world. We can see, but not so well as to detect the millions of microscopic organisms on our arm. Nor well enough to notice there is more space between each of our cells than there is matter in our body. Dogs can out-smell us by more than 12 times and out-hear us by more than six. A chicken or horse detects oncoming storms hours before we can. Our senses barely brush the surface of what's occurring around us yet we take their information as the definition of our world. The illusion is that we see our entire world. The reality is we see a fraction of the world.
Now look at our world. Unless you live in California, you'd swear there is nothing more stable than the ground we walk on. Yet the earth, like the rest of our solar system, is hurling through space at a million miles an hour. All the while, it's spinning on its axis 1,000 miles an hour and orbiting the sun at 66,000 miles per hour. The illusion is that our world is still. The reality is that it's exploding through space.
These are three of the most basic things we take as "reality." Yet as you've see above, they've been exposed as mere illusions. If we are fooled by things as simple as our body, the information it gives us and the very ground we walk upon, what else in our lives might be illusion?
How about our egos - the very concept of "who" we are? This self-image consists of thousands of self-created pictures. These pictures include many labels: Good father, bad husband, loving mother, devoted wife, troubled son, ungrateful daughter, successful businessman, productive farmer, handsome, ugly, strong, weak and on and on and on. Past experience has cemented these self-pictures into a glob of labels (ego) that we now believe is "who we are."
Once we embrace this glob of labels, we're compelled to behave in ways that support them. For example, if we believe we are handsome, we chain ourselves to a list of activities that prop up that illusion. We shower often, purchase expensive clothing, get frequent haircuts, and generally dedicate large blocks of time to polishing our looks. Because we believe in our self-label of being handsome, we unconsciously become a slave to maintaining that belief.
Now multiply this degree of slavery times the thousands of self-labels we use to describe ourselves.
We believe the illusion that we are aware human beings, living our own lives, freely making our own decisions.
But in reality, we are unconscious human beings whose "life" consists of slaving at activities that prop up self-labels. We have zero freedom to make decisions ourselves because we never question the labels that drive our behavior.
The way back to reality of course, is to drop the ego - the glob of self labels that compel our behaviors. As we drop a label, we get to drop the list of activities and pressures that go along with maintaining it. We wake up to a little more freedom and claim a little more of our life back.
Paradoxically, by dropping all the illusions of who we thought we were, we discover the reality of who we really are.
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz