One of the most difficult things to surrender for my students is their belief in an objective reality. They’ll give me examples like, just because I didn’t know about it doesn’t mean my partner wasn’t cheating on me! To which I would answer, that would depend on whose reality this cheating was happening in. But that statement can appear to be nonsense until it’s properly explained.
You need to understand that our realities are made up of our thinking. Not figuratively. Literally. It’s just you’re very casual about how you define reality. If you’re at a party and an attractive, well built man is telling a story about climbing a mountain, then the three men listening to him can have vastly different experiences. A fellow climber might be impressed, whereas an insecure boyfriend might feel it’s one-upmanship, and a timid person might think the story teller is crazy. When they go home they will describe three different people to their spouses. Such is the nature of separate realities. And you’ll accept that in a case like this. But your idea of reality will change when the stakes are raised.
Let us say that Stella and Ed have been married for 32 years. They’ve successfully raised 3 healthy, happy, successful kids, they never struggled financially and they enjoyed hanging around the same people and doing the same sorts of things. But let us say that after about 20 years of marriage, when he first goes grey and starts to get crows feet, Ed has thoughts that he is getting old and he wonders if his wife will still find him attractive. He thinks that because she recently started going to the gym with the new neighbour and she’s never looked better. While he’s happy for her and the renewed vigor it’s brought to her, still, juxtaposed to his thoughts, the combination leaves him feeling insecure.
So now imagine that this insecure guy meets the new lawyer in their office and she’s very sweet. And being a bit sensitive she picks up on the fact that he’s a bit down and she spends her lunches talking to him in an effort to cheer him up about his future. She’s pretty and very engaged in their lunches and so he starts to feel appreciated, which is something Stella doesn’t do much of. Not because she doesn’t appreciate him on some level—but that level has become subconscious, so she doesn’t compliment him much anymore, nor does she even pay much attention to his mood anymore except for how it affects her day. It’s all very innocent, but it leaves the new girl looking pretty appealing.
Eventually the entirely innocent new girl has something unfortunate happen and it’s her turn to be low and small and weak. And Ed’s a nice guy—of course he reciprocates the compassionate response she gave him. Soon all of that honest care and support tumbles into embraces, then kissing, and eventually sex. And the second it’s over Ed feels absolutely horrible. He tells the new girl right there and then that he shouldn’t have done it—that it was disrespectful to her and especially to his wife. He feels badly that he placed her in that situation and he leaves and he never cheats again. To the contrary, for the rest of her life Stella gets treated better as Ed works to absolve himself of his guilty feelings.
Now let’s say we’re back up on year 32, and Stella has a stroke while cooking some bacon and she hits the floor and is gone. She’s never learned about the new girl. Then if we interview her after death (just go with me), she’s going to say she had a happy life with a good marriage to a doting husband. Because in all honesty that will have been her reality. Meanwhile Ed was right alongside her, living in a completely separate reality. He knew what had happened. And his guilt made him aware. It made his consciousness alert to opportunities to improve his spouse’s life. And because he was looking for them he saw them and acted on them, which was what improved Stella’s life. So in the end she was better off than she would have been had it never happened.
Now I know most of you are still yelling at the page YES BUT HE STILL CHEATED!!! Yeah. That belief right there points directly at your misunderstanding of reality. So instead of arguing with me, if you really want to experience this miracle, then stop telling me what you already believe and at least consider another idea that you could later choose to adopt as a replacement belief.
You are mistaking actions in the physical world as “truth.” I get your point, but modern physicists will tell you that even the physical universe appears to be closer to a thought or density of information than anything else. So even that’s up for grabs. But that’s too abstract for us today—for now just realize that physical events are not what your life is made of. It’s made of experiences, and those are constructed by your thoughts about physical events and other thoughts—yours and other people’s.
Truly. You have to accept this one idea: The only giant Isness that could be known could only be known by the infinite Being that could comprehend the vastness of the entire universe. You’re talking about something resembling a God. But you? You’re like a tentacle of God, or a tentacle of the universe. You’re a filament of consciousness lighting up a unique portion of the universe’s possibilities. And what you see is what you think. And if think you had a great marriage with someone who treated you really well, then in the only reality you can hope to know—you did have that marriage.
Any arguments to the contrary are meaningless and can simply be met with, so how does that affect Stella? Again, Stella can’t be hurt by ideas that aren’t in her head. Pain is a collection of neurochemicals. That chemistry comes from your own body, not from events outside of you (you being your consciousness). That’s the same reason they anesthetize your brain when they do an operation on your leg. Your leg needs to be there for the operation. But as long as your mind isn’t present for it, you’re fine.
This isn’t about cheating. This is about reality. If you really really really disagree with me then you know that this is your place for spiritual growth. Because I’m not saying you shouldn’t or can’t suffer because you got cheated on. I’m saying as far as true reality goes, you haven’t been cheated on until you know or believe you have been cheated on. Because I can also show you a lot of people who live in the false reality that their partner has cheated when they haven’t. It goes both ways.
Think about this. Meditate on it. Start trying to appreciate the differences between your reality and others. Respect those differences. These are the many slices of reality that make up the whole that is the universe and yours is just as valid as anyone else’s. But you also want to maintain an awareness of your ability to control the shape of your reality by being a conscious thinker.
In my reality I feel great and I love a lot of wonderful people. I hope your reality feels something like that too. And if not, don’t worry. That’s what all of this writing is for—to make and keep people aware that they have control over what they experience in life. You can start today. Take some control and focus on how fortunate you are and you are guaranteed to have a great day. Because whatever you entertain in your consciousness will soon become your reality. With a grateful mind will come a grateful heart. Enjoy.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.