When I was five years old I suffered the sort of massive head injury that should have left me dead. Instead, my mind was literally and figuratively opened.
My age and stage of brain development likely played some role, along with the accident itself. But I now know that the bulk of my realizations about reality flowed more out of the fascinating rhetorical questions that were asked in front of me, while I was in hospital. I now realize that those were what initiated the very serious and dedicated ‘meditations’ that I subsequently engaged in.
I wondered: what is the purpose of life if you can die at five? What is a lifetime? What is it to ‘be?’ If people can die and be ‘brought back’ to life, where are they brought back from? And who or what went to that ‘place?’ To me at five, leaving those questions unanswered seemed crazy. And not having answers to them has proven to be why so many suffer so much.
Fortunately, kids ask Zen-like questions, so it only took a few years of very simple and logical thought experiments to expose the basics behind how reality worked. It turns out that, if we don’t start off making certain assumptions, reality is actually quite easy to see. That’s why all children start off so happy and why they learn so fast. But, over time, we teach them to get lost in ego by modelling it to them—because it was modelled to us too.
It’s important to note that an awareness of these realities does not guarantee that my external life appears to be quantifiably better than anyone else’s. Control over our minds does not mean we control the universe, or that others will ‘like’ us more. It just means we don’t have any ‘problems’ in the classical sense, because they dissolve so quickly in the face of reality.
All of this means that, despite its challenges, I simply love the life I have far more than most people do, or can. And in all of my mediations, I could never find a wiser form of living than loving, and finding value in, our own experience of life. But why was everyone around me suffering so much?
Despite reality being so clear and simple, I was routinely baffled by many of the ideas and actions I saw being expressed. For a very long time I assumed people were consciously and intentionally defying reality, which was baffling, because it would exist regardless.
It wasn’t until I was living in Budapest, in 2001, that I finally realized that other people were not even aware of their role in their generation of reality! Since then, I have spent 20 years meditating on the stunning ramifications of that fact.
As I’ve learned more about why people do what they do, I’ve realized that we’re surprisingly sensible considering the House of Mirrors that our egos live inside. The only reason people get stuck there is because they are not recognizing the space between themselves and the mirrors.
That space is where our freedom is hidden. For practical purposes, reality is literally created in that ‘gap of consciousness‘ that exists between us, the thinkers of our thoughts, and the thoughts those intentions produce. But if a person doesn’t realize that….
Now that I have a better understanding of what an ego thinks reality is, it is much easier to help you see reality for yourself. Once you can, you won’t need convincing to adopt it over your old model for reality. You’ll accept it because you will recognize that this new model answers far more questions and explains many more things—and that overall it makes any life much easier and more enjoyable.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.