The great task in life is to find reality.
We make most mistakes, we suffer the most, and we do the most harm when our thoughts and beliefs differ from reality. It’s when we create stories and assumptions in our own mind which are untrue that we begin on a journey of falsehoods. And, those falsehoods lead to; alcohol abuse, drugs, eating disorders, gambling, heavy smoking, self-harm, casual sex ~ just to find temporary comfort and the illusion that our falsehoods are true. When our beliefs are untrue we can suffer from anxiety and depression, together with a host of other serious mental illnesses such as; Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. The stress of having beliefs which differ from reality causes a raft of physical illnesses, including cardiovascular problems, cancers, diabetes, dementia, and early death.
Yet, there is no such thing as reality.
Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein
It seems that in quantum physics and interpersonal relationships there is no such thing as cause and effect ~ no straight line between the past, through the present, and into the future. Even in very close relationships there are often merely shared perceptions of the world ~ and two people may both share perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs which are untrue. If alcohol, drugs, or mental illness is added into the mix then we get dangerous situations such as physical, verbal, mental abuse and co-dependency.
If your life is going down the shitter, if you are prey to addictions, if you suffer from a mental illness ~ then the chances are that your thoughts and beliefs have seriously differed from reality.
Einstein and other serious thinkers may tell us that reality is merely an illusion, BUT on a day to day basis we have to live in whatever reality surrounds us. That means seeing and accepting reality as it is, and not as we wish it to be. Reality is neutral and impersonal. Reality has no expectations and no beliefs. Reality is the true state of things. There is only one past, present, and future reality ~ it is our own perceptions and beliefs which create an infinity of different versions of the past, the present, and the possible futures.
To find true reality is both very easy and very difficult;
- be totally honest with yourself and others ~ reality is truth
- never take things personally ~ reality is impersonal
- do not make assumptions nor create expectations
Some say that reality is an illusion. And that we are all just simulations living in a matrix. All I know is that when my beliefs differed from reality I got myself into some serious trouble.
to discover your ultimate reality requires a lot of deep thought
There is no such thing as ultimate truth, truth is what we make it.
Why do you think the world is so complicated? Why are our lives so difficult? Why do we become addicted, angry, depressed, ill, stressed? Why do we fall in and out of love? Why do we love those who don’t love us?
If Einstein and other deep thinkers are to be believed, none of it is real anyway.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein.
Einstein’s words reveal a deeper truth. Everything we feel, see, hear, touch, and taste is within our own minds. All of our innermost emotions and all of our truths exist only within our own minds. Even the deepest emotions such as fear and love are created within us. We actually have to learn to see and hear. We have to learn to fear fire, snakes, lions, and abandonment. We learn to love and we learn to hate somewhere before we are seven years of age, and then we spend the rest of our lives perfecting those emotions, up to the point that they can destroy us.
The deepest feelings we build within ourselves can destroy us, just as Dr. Frankenstein was destroyed by the monster he created.
There is a truism heard within 12-step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous;
Most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~ Abraham Lincoln, (allegedly).
Thus it follows that most folks can be just as addicted, angry, depressed, ill, stressed….. as they make up their minds to be. For sure most people can be just as in love, or not in love as they really want to be.
But, and as Shakespeare said; ‘therein lies the rub’. Reality is a habit, it’s what we accept, it’s what we’re used to, it’s what works for us right now. So, if you’re an alcoholic it really is just a habit, albeit one that’s killing you, and something about that habit works for you right now.
Changing a deep-set habit is
fucking damn difficult. In fact your whole life is a set of deep-rooted habits, and changing all those really is fucking difficult.
But I’ve done it. I changed my whole life and all of my ways of thinking around by believing these few words I said to myself; ‘I am a really cool guy, living a great life.’
If you are prepared to do whatever it takes you can change your whole life, including what is true or false.
Your reality is what you make it
the value of money is illusory
cash has no real intrinsic value other than that which we give it
True realism is a willingness to reveal and accept the truth.
Scientific studies, and my own bitter experiences, have shown me that one of the character traits necessary for a man / person to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong, stable, and resilient is Realism.
Being too pessimistic is depressing, being too optimistic means that you are easily disappointed and crushed, and being too idealistic is to search for unrealistic perfection. Being realistic means that you accept the reality of the world as it is, rather than as you imagine it to be.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects the wind to change; the realist adjusts the sails. ~ William Arthur Ward.
It seems that being realistic tends to mean that you’re also deep, grounded, mindful, compassionate, able to deal with adversity, are not easily disappointed, and recover quickly from whatever shit the world throws your way.
To be realistic is to be self-aware and be fully cognisant of your own wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Being fully self-aware means that you do not easily fall prey to self-deceit ~ you don’t much lie to yourself, nor to others.
Realistic people also have good situational awareness, they are grounded in the truth of any given situation, seeing things for what they actually are, rather than they would wish them to be. They have a solid sense of time and place. They read people easily, and they are not reliant on a specific other person for their happiness. Most people don’t have your happiness at the top of their agenda.
It is a healthy approach not to expect persons to turn out precisely how you would have wished. ~ Criss Jami
There are 3.2 billion women in the world, so why should a realistic guy tie their happiness to just one particular uncaring and unavailable woman ~ no matter what.
One key feature of a realistic person is that they will always have some sort of written plan / plans in place to achieve their wants, needs, desires, and dreams. Realists know that unless they do something then nothing happens. To live life you first have to show up. Realists make the very most of any opportunity that comes their way. Realists take action to make things happen, they do not wait for things to happen to them. Realists tend to devote enough time and effort to whatever task lies in front of them.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. ~ Abraham Lincoln.
A realist will also have more free will than any other type of person. This is because they are prepared to say ‘No’. Every time you blindly agree with other people means that you have taken away your own free will.
Realists have a particular type of personality ~ they are physical, sceptical, jealous of their own time and space, independent, practical, clear-headed, good in an emergency, objective, non-judgmental, taciturn, and easy going.
But you don’t have to possess all of those character traits to be a realist ~ perhaps they are attributes we should aspire to.
Some say that a realist believes that some things are worth fighting for. And, that a realist will have a flexible plan for winning their battles. All I know is that to be a realist means showing up for the fight ~ it means showing up for Life.
Practical Realism 1.01 ~ First Know Yourself.
remember you’re supposed to be draining the swamp, not fighting with the alligators
Do fish know when it’s raining?
Imagine for a moment that you are a goldfish. Let your mind wander and spiral inwards. You live in a small goldfish bowl, on a table, in the corner of a room. That’s all you can see. Everything you see is by looking through goldfish eyes, first through water, and then curved glass. Your world is going to look spherical and distorted. If you don’t work very hard on your memory then you will forget everything within three seconds. If you train really hard you might remember things for up to five months. By human standards, you’re going to have a very strange and very limited understanding of the Cosmos.
Nothing is quite what it appears to be, when it’s only with your eyes you see. ~ N’Zuri Za Austin
In absolute terms, when you stop imagining that you’re a goldfish your understanding of the cosmos doesn’t get a whole lot better. Each of us has only a small and distorted view of ourselves, the people we think we know, the world we live in, and out to the edges of time and space. We see through a glass, darkly.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. ~ Marcus Aurelius.
However, a goldfish is probably blissfully unaware that there is a multiverse beyond its bowl and the room it can see. A goldfish most likely doesn’t agonise over the past, think about the present, or worry much about the future. A goldfish does not have much knowledge, does not bemoan its ignorance, and does not seek for reality. Most of us human beings do think of the past, try to make the most of the present, and make plans for the future.
Making our plans for the future can only be an imperfect and ephemeral endeavour at best ~ there are just too many variables, a host of outside influences, and the very strong likelihood that other people will not do as we would wish or expect them to. More often than not we will find ourselves reacting to events, rather than controlling them. But we are not goldfish. To some extent we are in control of our own destiny. To a great extent we are in control of our own minds.
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. ~ Anatole France
We can choose what we think, we can change what we believe, and we can decide how we will react and respond to the things that happen to us. We do not have to swim around in little circles with our mouths opening and closing mindlessly. We do not have to forget most things within three seconds. Uniquely some of us learn to accept that there is a difference between what we see, the things we believe to be true, and reality.
The map is not the territory. ~ Alfred Korzybski
To become the very best version of you that you can ever be, you must first begin to leave aside childish thoughts and beliefs. You must learn to distinguish between what is false and what is real; between what is truth and what is a popular lie. As 90% of the people you will ever meet are jerks, wazzocks, and fools for 90% of the time, if you take the path to truth you will be walking a lonely road. Many people never learn that what they believe probably isn’t reality, truth, congruent, tenable, or even probable.
Most people go through life living in a goldfish bowl of their own making, too afraid to see the truth beyond their own little world, unwilling to remember the truth of their own past, and hence unable to learn from their triumphs and disasters. Most people are happy to move around in little circles opening and closing their mouths constantly and pointlessly. What we all need is a little moral courage to seek and face the truth of painful reality.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. ~ Mark Twain.
Because you are reading this you probably just about know the next step on the path you must take towards becoming the best version of you that you can ever be. But just for a while look inwards, imagine your world is as limited as that of a goldfish in a bowl. Eventually your soul will make it clear what should most matter to you, and what you need to do next on your life’s journey to ultimate truth and reality.
Look where you have been; view where you are at; seek where you want to be. ~ Gwendolyn Moore
The paradox is that the less we look out into the world, the more we see of ourselves.
these thoughts are mine and mine alone
There Is A Sunlit Garden Just Ahead.
For almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long, long way back, I have felt odd, weird, strange, different, unhappy. I used to suffer from extreme mood swings, I had a morbid fear of abandonment, every relationship I’d ever had was dysfunctional, I would isolate myself for long periods, and I could do strange and ‘dangerous’ things on just a whim. Not to mention that I took to relieving the anxiety and stress I suffered from by self-medicating with too much booze.
In short, I had just about every symptom there is of a quite serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, I didn’t know I had BPD, well mostly you don’t, why would you? How can you self-diagnose BPD, when you haven’t even heard of it? Anyway, I thought perhaps I was bipolar ~ I wasn’t.
My awareness came because I want to see a counsellor about my alcohol problem. Over several months Sue got to know me quite well. She didn’t say that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, she mentioned a book to me, a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, which just about summed up the way I used to feel about every woman I’d ever had a relationship with.
I was prompted to take on-line tests for Borderline Personality Disorder to see if there was a real likelihood that I was suffering from this horrible psychological illness. Each and every time I came out at the red end of the scale. I fully accepted and embraced these results. This was the beginning of my recovery. When I knew and fully accepted what was wrong with me I could start to heal myself ~ with the help of others.
My problem probably started at birth, (many psychological problems seem to start at birth). I was small, premature, separated from my mother, and placed in an incubator for many days, (so I’m told). I never, ever bonded with mt mother. I did bond with my maternal grandmother, and never understood or got over her death when I was about four-and-three-quarters years old.
A major part of my recovery was recognising these early trauma. Eventually, I wrote a letter to myself, aged four-and-three-quarters, and that was a very traumatic and very healing process.
Being very honest and open with my counsellor, my doctor, and a trusted friend helped me enormously. My doctor even arranged for me to see a psychiatrist, a specialist in BPD. After three long and gruelling assessments this guy said that I had been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but that I had mostly cured myself. Well, thanks very much for that vote of confidence. (A little English irony there.)
How did I manage this remarkable recovery?
- I fully accepted that I had a problem, and that it was most likely Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I fully accepted that booze wasn’t helping, and I stopped drinking, got sober, and became completely abstinent from alcohol.
- I fully embraced honesty in all my dealings, being determined to always tell the whole truth to myself and to others, (when I needed to tell others anything at all that is, which isn’t all the time).
- I did not take any mood altering drugs, neither prescription drugs nor street drugs. Obviously my doctors offered me everything, starting with Prozac.
- I got physically fit. (Mens sano in corpore sano. ~ Juvenal)
- I continued with formal counselling, from professional therapists, and with informal counselling from a trusted and knowledgeable friend.
- I embraced self-help techniques from getting lots of fresh air, to meditation, to reading appropriate inspirational books. (I did not use inspirational videos, or group therapy, and I never will.)
- I became completely willing to recover from the debilitating, life ruining, destructive symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I looked at my past in an honest, open, and dispassionate way. I learned from my past, but I did not go back there, and I didn’t let it hurt me again.
- I learned to to completely accept, understand, care for, cherish, and love other people ~ no matter what.
And things got better. My life got much better, my relationships with others improved. I was sleeping well. I felt fit, strong, and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. And I felt empty inside. I felt imprisoned in the dark and forbidding fortress of my own mind. All was not well, and even though a psychiatrist and professional counsellors were telling me that I had made a remarkable recovery, changing my whole life and attitudes around, I felt unfulfilled and empty inside.
It seems that what I needed was an awakening of spirit, an epiphany, an understanding of life’s ultimate questions as they applied to me. Then, and strangely, out of nowhere, I had a spiritual awakening. Suddenly I was filled with genuine self-belief and a vision of the future for me.
I will not tell you how it happened, or exactly what happened, or why I am now a completely different and much better man than I could ever have hoped to become. You need to find your own spiritual awakening, and I strongly believe that each man and woman’s connection with ultimate reality will be different, personal, powerful, special, and moving.
I can tell you that I now understand The Divine Mother, my place in the Cosmos, and how to completely love and accept other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous, and other proponents of 12 step recovery programmes probably have it right. The first step to recovery is fully accepting that you have a problem
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous
I substituted ‘feelings’ for the word ‘alcohol’ because that was the problem making my life a complete Hell, and I had the first step on the long road to recovery.
I admitted I was powerless over my feelings ~ that my life had become unmanageable.
There is a road to recovery, and it begins with admitting we are ill.
these opinions are mine and mine alone