What is real?
Three ideas have been capturing my attention of late, and I have a feeling they might be related. I’m hoping to unfold in what way they are, as I write…….let’s see?
What is real? As my regular readers know by now, I’ve been meditating this year. I’ve managed to get this to be a daily practice now. And to be honest, it feels like a bit of a life-line. After a lifetime of fairly spectacular success in bad habits, it’s feeling good to be hooked on a good one. Most of the time I’m fairly convinced I’m doing a poor job of it, but I know enough by now to know that’s all part of the process! Meditation is a lovely practice in getting to what’s real. If, by what’s real, I might be allowed to mean “what is ACTUALLY happening?” Here is a list of some of what I have noticed is actually happening: Birdsong The Wildevoel Vlei Sewerage Works pump Breathing (thank goodness!) Tingling skin – could also be assessed to be prickly Heart beating (also thank heavens!) Dogs barking The South Easter Thoughts about my to-do list What isn’t actually happening is the end of the world because I haven’t gotten my to-do list done. What is unlikely to ever happen in my lifetime is my to-do list being done. (I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect that after my life is over, it’s possible my to-do list will be done, but I could discover some “to-do list” Bardo………….something akin to the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts perhaps?) Another way of summarizing this is that it is real that people are suffering. It is also true that much of what they are suffering about is not really happening. Another way of saying this is: there is what is happening, and there is our assessment about what is happening, and those two things are very, very distinct from one another, although often not distinct at all in our minds.
We create our reality in our speaking If birdsong is real, then so are our words. And, this might be contentious what I’m about to say, but maybe our words are more real than our thoughts. I’ve been wondering if this is something of what makes such a big difference in thinking sessions? I’ve been noticing a correlation between meditating and having a thinking session, same-similar but different. I gave up some fairly compelling, addictive habits earlier this year, because of an insight I had whilst meditating – I think I’ve already shared this. The thought “I want a ……………..” is not at all the same thing as having to go do that action. The end of the world is nigh, as a thought is not at all the same thing as it actually is. But as a thinker starts to speak their thoughts out loud, they take on a different reality, and it seems as though they sort themselves out, over time, and especially when listened to with the acute interest of a thinking partner. It seems like a wheat and chaff thing. In hearing them, their reality becomes more tangible, and the ones that are really untrue become visible from the ones that are real. In addition, our bodies, which are always in the present, respond differently when something is real. We know when something is real. And when we are hearing our thoughts articulated as words, we are also having a tangible experience in our bodies. Realness reverberates, or so it seems to me. And I think that is a wonderful thing!
The Connection Compass This is scarily real. When I say scarily, I only mean scarily in a kind of a way. It’s actually scary in an exciting way. In a “holy-moly” way. Looking someone in the eye is a start, but it’s only a precursor to connection. What’s so wacky about us is that we can actually look at each other and then swerve away from connection. And then there is eye contact plus. And when connection is happening our inner compass knows it and feels it. It’s like true north. The needle vibrates. And, I’m of the opinion that our compass is real, and it is indefatigable. Even when we try to bury it (for all sorts of reasons to do with fear and hurt), the needle twitches, our bodies reverberate, and even the smallest return to tuning in to all of that will strengthen our way to our own true north. Thinking Sessions are a way to tune in. Meditation is a way to tune in. Laughter and connection are ways to tune in.
Before I sign off by wishing everyone from the bottom of my heart as many moments of real as are available to you over this coming festive season, I want to share three tiny-huge things that have made my heart and mind soar with joy: helen_walne on Instagram – I LOVE YOU even though I haven’t met you. My heart knows yours. Some brilliant people have figured out the sound that happy reefs make and they are playing that sound to sad reefs and making them happy again. Read Derek Hawkins piece on this in the Washington Post Charles Eistenstein who is leading me to really believe that tuning in to my connection compass and enabling others to do the same will heal and save both the planet and the human race!