What if I told you reality does not exist?
That what you see only a daily basis is not what it seems. You would probably look at me with a strange expression and assume that I had gone crazy!
However, this is a very real phenomenon. We see the world as we perceive to see it, not how it is.
Our moods, thoughts and mindset shape our reality. The world that we see around us is a reflection of these.
While one person may see a beautiful sunset, another may see nothing more than the sun dipping below the horizon.
We may see the same event, but we may not see that event in the same way. The environment around both people is the same, it hasn’t changed.
Yet, it has triggered different emotions due to how the person was feeling at the time or how they perceive the world.
This is where reality becomes subjective instead of objective.
What we see around us, is what we choose to see. There is no meaning to what we see, it just is. We are the ones that assign events meaning depending on our outlook.
This has a number of implications. If you fail to take command of how you perceive the world, your perception of it will be chosen for you.
But, it also means that with time and practice, we ourselves can change our own perceptions.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
Perception Is Reality
The best way to illustrate how your perception affects what happens around you is with the following scenario.
You pack your groceries into your bag, take the receipt and head out towards the doors. As you approach the door, you see rain pouring in all directions.
You have a ten minute back to your house without an umbrella.
“Bloody rain,” you mutter as you leave after waiting for five minutes for the rain to clear.
You open the door of your car to the sound of thudding rain. You step outside and can just manage to make out the green hills that are covered by grey fog. The cold pierces your skin as you look around.
“What mesmerising weather!” You say as you are pelted with drops of rain.
Here we have two examples that feature rain, yet depending on the mindset, mood and thoughts of those involved, the perception of them differs.
The environment that surrounded both examples was the same, but the perception could not have been more different.
Both are real, as they represent how the person in question perceived the world at that time, but neither one offers an objective view of reality.
They are two separate views of one event that occurred.
These views do not convey what happened. Rain fell from the sky, that was the only action, but the differing reactions reveal how we feel about ourselves and our perception of the world.
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” — Douglas Adams
This opens us up to the thought that how we perceive the world is not fixed. We can shift it if we so wish. But to do so, we need to look inwardly at ourselves and recognise our perceptions affect how we live.
Change Your Perception
If reality is relative to how we perceive the world, that means we have the potential to change the world around us.
While we cannot change actions such as rain falling from the sky and the sun setting and rising, we can change how we view them.
A common thing we tend to do is decide we won’t enjoy something before we do it.
This happened to me when I was living in New Zealand. My friends wanted to go skiing in the winter. However, for whatever reason, I was not keen on going.
I don’t know why, but I was adamant that I would not enjoy skiing. I had never skied before, I had no reason to believe this, it was how I felt about it.
Despite this, I decided to go along anyway. I thought I would give it a try and see what happens. I tried my best to leave my perceptions behind and live in the moment. To try and enjoy it for what it was.
I ended up enjoying skiing more than I thought I ever would! So much so, that I went back numerous times to the slopes in Queenstown!
Skiing is a simple act, you go to the top of the slope, ski down and repeat. By changing how I viewed this action, my reaction was much more positive.
I could have let my previous perception affect how I felt, but I took control of the narrative instead.
This is something we are all capable of doing. Reality is nothing but an illusion. It is how we see the world and how that influences our actions and reactions to it that dictate our lives.
By taking control of your story, you are shaping your own reality. The world we see is a reflection of who we are and what we believe.
It’s imperative we are conscious of our perceptions because if we are not, someone else will create them for us.