• Asking 'What is reality?' is a great personal development question!
• So, do you want to know what personal, relative reality is?
• And do you want to see why it's something to move beyond?
• Then let Soren, the Personal Development Guy uncover reality for you!
What Is Reality?
What is personal, relative reality? Moreover, what is reality in general? Well, you may well ask, because reality seems so hard to define.
Is it real when we dream? Is it real when we pretend? When an actor (like Robert de Niro, say) uses method acting, is it real? When your friend or your teenage kid gets all upset about something that YOU consider irrelevant, is it real?
The answer lies in the definition.
Definition of Reality
’Reality: Real existence; that which underlies appearance; something which is actually experienced’.
Or, to put it differently: That which is experienced is real.
This is how a dictionary defines reality, and I find that definition of reality very precise and useful.
It means that in order to be real something has to be experienced. It also means that if someone, somewhere experiences something it is real, so if you experience something, it is real. Period. Even if - in the whole wide world - it is only real for you.
Other People's Personal, Relative Reality
So now, we know what reality is for you - it is anything and everything you experience. Only you know what that is, and whatever that is, it is real.
Next question is this: do you know what reality is for other people?
The answer is no. Pretty much, anyway.
If you know someone really, really well - say, your lover or your kids - then you have an inkling what their realities are, but you don't actually KNOW.
To know you would have to BE them; walk a mile in their shoes ... and in their bodies, feelings, minds, souls etc., too. Which, under normal circumstances, you cannot (yeah, yeah, I know, that bit about 'under normal circumstances' begs for expansion, but I am not going to do that here).
Each of us have a personal, relative reality, and it is unique to us. Unique; both in the sense that your personal, relative reality is different from everyone else's, and in the sense that (under normal circumstances) you are the ONLY one on Earth who experiences that particular reality.
That can actually get pretty scary and lonely.
But then, you know that, right? You probably experience it on a regular or semi-regular basis.
Why Your Personal, Relative Reality Is Scary and Lonely
Now, you may not feel scared and lonely at a daily basis - but some people do. For you the fear and loneliness might just be an indefinable undercurrent, but some people live with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, which is just plain horrible.
What underlies experiences like those are thoughts, feelings and beliefs like 'I am unimportant. My life is unimportant. There is something wrong with me. I am not good enough. There is also something wrong with other people and with life itself, for instance there is never enough of anything.'
Instead of being rooted in wholeness (non duality), connectedness, happiness, freedom and love, that kind of internal nastiness is rooted belief in scarcity, separation and fear, which is due to the psychology of the ego.
The ego is a fear based defense mechanism with which we tend to identify if we don't know any better or haven't (consciously) tried an alternative. Consequently we seem to be stuck in our own, personal, relative reality.
Since most people do identify with their ego, they pass this misunderstanding on the children of their time, both to their own children and to other people's children in schools and the like. Thus these limiting and false beliefs perpetuate themselves. As they have done for centuries, or millennia even.
So, for most people the ego's world equals their own, personal, relative reality. Which, at a rather basic level, makes most people's personal reality a scary and lonely place.
Your Personal, Relative Reality Is a Fiction
The funny thing about relative, personal reality is that it is a construct - one which YOU create.
That's right: You are creating your own reality. Most people don't do it consciously, but some do (those are the people, for instance, for whom the so-called 'Law of Attraction' actually works).
How you create your own reality? Simple: You believe in things.
Beliefs are reality-creators. Whatever you believe in firmly enough becomes your reality - your own, personal and relative reality.
The use of positive affirmations, which is very popular in some circles, is an example of how people create their reality.
Phrased just right (positively, in present tense and using the very powerful statement 'I am', (e.g.: "Today I am moving another step towards great prosperity") and repeated often enough the positive affirmation ends up becoming a belief. And beliefs become our personal reality, so used often enough for a long enough period of time (to become beliefs) positive affirmations do actually work.
Your Personal, Relative Reality Is Mechanical
Pretty much the most common belief in the world today is a belief in the ego as an actual identity.
The ego, however, is just a mechanical survival mechanism, a 'software program' if you like. It is totally predictable (check out the Enneagram to see just how predictable). Being just a 'machine', the ego is not really something anyone would want to identify with. Nevertheless most people do, because they don't know there is an alternative.
And worse, since the ego is based on scarcity, fear and isolation, well, your personal, relative reality will be based on those very things, which then will be true for the kind of experience you get, too. And THAT is certainly not something anyone in their right mind would want. Not if the know that there is an alternative, and they can experience that alternative for themselves.
So there you have it: Personal, relative reality revealed! And it's not very pretty.
Happily, there is an alternative. That alternative is NOT, however consensus reality.
Consensus Reality: The Shared Reality of a Group or Culture
Put a number of people together in a group for a long enough period of time and they will start to develop their own sense of what is real and what is not. Usually, this process happens automatically and unconsciously.
Whatever the people in the group can agree upon then becomes a shared reality, a consensus reality.
The group in question might be just that, a group, or it might be an entire sub-culture within a society (like, say, hippies, punkers or emos), or it might be society at large - the culture in a country or indeed in a part of the world.
Since the group has to agree on their shared reality, this consensus reality will often be based on the lowest common denominators. And, since most people, not knowing any better, tend to indentify with their ego, well, this means that the consensus reality will be based on the same things as the ego, which are isolation (separation), scarcity and fear.
So, basically, in most cases, consensus reality is good to be aware of, but it is certainly not something you would want to believe in too much. Not if you want a good life full of love, happiness, freedom, wholeness, inner peace, and a sense of wonder.
The Real Alternative to Personal Reality: Absolute Reality
Love, happiness, freedom, wholeness (non duality), inner peace, and a sense of wonder are the hallmarks of what I call absolute reality
. This is the reality that becomes apparent when 'the veil' of personal, relative reality and consensus reality is lifted.
Absolute reality is absolutely amazing. Astounding. Unfortunately it is so big, so comprehensive, so wonderful and so unknowable that words do not suffice to describe it. Absolute reality pretty much negates speech. The only way to know it ... is to experience it.
So, what's the fastest way to experience absolute reality? The answer is letting go. If you learn to let go of unpleasant thoughts first, you can then move on to learn to let go of unpleasant feelings / emotions and after that you may be ready to take on your beliefs.
The simple, yet scary fact is that you don't need as much as one single belief to live, and the fewer beliefs you hold, the better your life will be. The reason for that is simple: When you let go of everything you can let go of (most notably your beliefs) what is left is absolute reality with its unconditional love, happiness, freedom, wholeness, inner peace and sense of wonder!
Where Would You Like to Go Next?
• Jump to the top of this page about Personal, Relative Reality - One Answer to 'What Is Reality?'
• Jump to the page Empowerment Theory - or, perhaps also the self improvement article Letting Go to read more about this subject in general
• You might also like to read something related in one of the following the self improvement articles:
- What Is Reality? Total Reality Revealed
- Perception Is Reality: Creating Your Own Relative Reality
- Social Construction of Reality: Consensus Reality
- Absolute Reality Revealed (Non Duality): Just STOP Creating Your Own Reality
- Ego Psychology
- Self Concept: Your Self-Perception = Your Life Experience!
- Sell Your Soul? Soul Power and How to Sell Your Soul - or Not
- Your Identity
- the Let Go Method
- Letting Go
• If you are interested in freeing yourself and creating a better life for yourself by letting go of unwanted emotions, needs and limitations, you may want to buy and read the ebook that Soren, the Personal development Guy, has written about that: Finding Inner Peace by Letting Go - 10 Steps to Happiness, Freedom, Love & More Using the Let Go Method. It is 75 easy to read pages, in a PDF ebook for download - and you can get it immediately after you have paid. It costs $19. You can buy this excellent self help ebook here:
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External links to awesome websites / really cool websites with pages relevant to this self improvement article / personal development page:
On WikiPedia.org: Reality and Non Duality / Nondualism.
On Encyclopedia.com: Reality and Vedanta - non dualism in Indian philosophy.
On Slider Encyclopaedia: Reality.
On the pretty theoretical philosophical Kheper.net: Transcendent Divine Reality.
On MS Encarta Dictionary: Reality.
On the dictionary part of Infoplease.com: Reality.
A humorous take on the concept of reality at Uncyclopedia - the content free encyclopedia: Reality.
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