Who or what is determining your reality?
Unless you have been living under a rock you probably have some awareness or concept of virtual reality (VR). Essentially, virtual reality is an interactive computer generated experience, incorporating visual and auditory feedback that takes place within a simulated environment . The virtual part of the term has had the meaning essence or effect, possessing certain virtues though not actually or in fact since the 1400’s. Effectively, we are talking about simulation and not ‘truth’. Interestingly, it is not that far off how we perceive ‘reality’ in any case, virtual or not. The key is reality is perceived and it requires our input to be anything at all and that is where the trouble begins.
We have this notion that reality just is. Nothing could be further from the truth. We filter our experience and make sense of our world according to our point of view. Your filters determine what your see and even your motive can play a factor in determining what you see. Your filters direct the conversation, highlighting certain parts with emphasis and generalising and deleting other parts. Your RAS is literally determining what gets your attention. The more emphasis your RAS puts on something the higher the importance placed upon and the more triggers around it get created and therefore re-enforced.
Your unique point-of-view.
Our point of view is unique to us and is formed based on a slither of information thanks to our Reticular Activating System or RAS and is at best a ‘likely’ story. Therefore, it is no-ones truth but yours and no-ones ‘reality’ but yours. This goes a long way to explaining why 2 people can walk away from the same conversations with very different versions of what was said and even how it was said. Your attention and focus determine what you notice and therefore, perceive reality.
Attention goes where energy flows
Attention has two modes, automatic and intentional. Mostly, we operate on autopilot. It’s a good thing we do in a lot of instances. You do not have to remember to breathe and you do not have to think to have your heart beat. Both are examples where you body just does what you body was designed to do. Even so, it is possible to breathe intentionally and to even lower your heart rate by deliberately and intentionally placing your focus there. To operate intentionally is to be present and conscious. Think of it this way, light is made up of particles, photons and x-rays, gamma rays and so on. If you switch on a light and shine that light in a particular direction certain things come into focus and other things fall into shadow. Your attention goes to the highlighted areas as that is what your RAS has illuminated for you.
Reality is generated inside your head
Mostly, we do not even see what is out there. We just think we do. The world around us with all of its sights and sounds which is effectively a fully immersive 3D experience which ourselves as the chief protagonist, narrator and director of that movie. It occurs to us like we, through the use of our brain, are passively recording what is right in front of us. Instead, What we ‘see’ is our best guess of what is out there and what is happening. Your brain is locked away inside your skull where there is no sight and no sound and through electrical impulses we get a picture of what is out there which is a combination of informed guess work and prior expectations. This is how mental models, which come from the past and are based on limited information, are formed and determine what we see. Those same mental models cause us to not see what is right in front of us because we have prior expectations actively generating what we see. To see what is in front of you question your mental models through the deliberate use of your awareness.