Extend your arm as far as you can and stare at your thumbnail.
Your thumbnail is the limit of your vision.
“Not true,” you think, “I can see a whole panorama surrounding it!”
Yes, you can, but that panorama is made up of a whole series of thumbnail-sized pictures captured by your eyes as they ceaselessly flit, darting thither and yonder. Your brain is pasting them together into the panorama you believe you are seeing.
But wait. There’s a whole lot of blackness involved in creating that panorama, as there’s the blackness between each eye dart and, of course, the blackness while we blink. Actually, there’s a lot of blackness, so what we believe we see is a construct of our brain. That’s why often we can’t see what we’re looking for even if it’s right in front of us.
In other words, the reality in which we live is a construct of our brains. We make our own reality.
It seems to me this is why we have such difficulty convincing others of our point of view. Take the climate change debate. We all seem to be living in parallel universes of our own making.
What about conscience?
You know that small voice that keeps most of us, most of the time, on the straight and narrow? Have you ever noticed that voice always seems to talk to us in the third person?
“C’mon Billy, you know better than that,” mine seems to say.
Well, that’s the voice of our parents from long ago when we were children, adapted by our brain for current circumstances.
Another fallacy about ourselves that we intently hold onto is that we are rational creatures. Recent brain studies show that decisions are made in the dark unconscious recesses of our brains first, and then slowly filter into our conscious brain. We then kid ourselves that we have made a rational decision. We rationalise the irrationally made decision rather than make rational decisions.
Thus, we, each and every one of us, live in a world of our own making and delude ourselves that we don’t.
Scary, isn’t it?
I truly believe we have evolved that way. We are part of creation and so can’t see outside of it. That is, if there is an outside of it.
Yet, I have experienced every now and then, and only in tantalising flashes, that somehow an external reality can burst in. I say that because I truly believe I have experienced that and there have been too many follow-up confirming ‘events’ to say it was just a chance happening.
That’s my experience, anyway.
But we humans live in the everyday world of our own construction. That means there are as many realities as there are human beings. So, if we are all so individualistic, and products of our own construction, how do we find a way to live that lifts us out of our selfish, lonely existence?
How can we go about finding meaning to our lives?
The answer is simple.
It’s all there waiting for us…if we just look.
It’s all there in the spiritual writings if we care to read them in the same spirit in which they were given.
Over many years I have been in awe of the twelve-step program initially conceived within Alcoholics Anonymous. I find this organisation to be rooted in goodness. Conceived by people who found themselves powerless in the face of their addiction, by trial and error they found what worked, sharing their searching and discoveries with each other. The irony is that what they discovered is a healthy way of living for all, not just people in the chains of addiction. AA rediscovered the spiritual truths and disciplines essential for healthy living.
These are the skeletons on which to grow the body of a healthy human being capable of healthy and meaningful relationships.
But how to get there…?
In the words of a psychologist friend of mine, “Fake it ’til you make it”.
Another thing I have learned is this: The past is gone; the future is to be, so there is only now. If we are serious, there is only now.
Do it now.
Begin the ‘faking’ it till you make it’ now.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, it won’t happen.
It’s all there in our spiritual books.
Do it now!