By: Danielle Wilson
What is reality? If I approached you with this question, most likely, you would recite the narrative that plays on loop in your head, and all of the conditioned thoughts, beliefs, and patterns that keep it running like a well-oiled machine. To you, this really is reality. The things that upset you, upset you, and the things that bring you joy, bring you joy. You live, and love, and hate, and judge based off of a unique string of experiences that have led you to your own carefully crafted reality—but that’s what it is, isn’t it? A story that is whole heartedly individualized to you.
Imagine if I asked someone else this question, “what is reality?” What would their answer be? Well, the principle behind how their response is formed would be the same, but the response itself would look drastically different in contrast to yours. Like you, everything about their reality would be real—to them at least—but how is that possible? How can two different realities live both conflictingly and simultaneously?
Reality is an infinitely large umbrella that encompasses every version of it, within it. Imagine a kaleidoscope: the toy itself is capable of forming a number of striking images as the wheel turns, and although only one picture can be seen at a time, the kaleidoscope remains the keeper of all images, always. The universal capacity of reality can be likened to this curious instrument of shapes and colors. As far as we go, as far as our perception of reality goes, well, we are only capable of gazing upon one picture at a time. This restriction is nothing other than human, but it can quite easily provide detriment to our existence if we lose awareness of it.
As human beings, we crave security. We like things to be fixed because anything outside of that is the unknown, and the unknown can be scary! We foster a false sense of security in the fixation of a singular reality, even if that reality leaves us unhappy, stressed, anxious, or without. Knowing what to expect makes us comfortable, temporarily at least, so we stare down the kaleidoscope at our chosen picture and begin to hold on tight. The stronger our grip grows around the tube, the easier it is to forget that we have the ability to turn it. This silly little toy may exist as the keeper of images, but we have the power to shift an image that no longer serves us into a brighter, more interesting piece of art!
Living life through the lens of one perspective, one reality, is natural—it’s an unremarkable form of human existence. What catalyzes us away from this bland and shallow way of life is recognizing and acknowledging that every reality exists at once, and YOU hold the power to choose which one you’ll filter your life through. Not only does this awareness open you up to new and exciting experiences, growth, and a deeper sense of peace, it also aids you in becoming more compassionate towards the world around you. The more we investigate the different realities available to us, the more consideration we cultivate for versions of reality that are not our own. We begin to understand each other, respect each other, and hold each other in a state of equality across realities as a whole—what a wonderful world that would be!
To arrest ourselves to one “concrete” perspective of reality is to deprive ourselves of the endless possibilities this life is so willing to provide. With each turn of the knob, we learn, we evolve, and then become curious all over again. So, challenge yourself: step out of security, loosen your grip, and gaze upon an entirely new makeup of shapes and colors. You are the creator of reality.