What is it anyway?

Like truth, this word bears more weight than the average word.

I dropped ‘reality’ into Google, and the first thing to appear was a Wikipedia definition:

“Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it has been observable or comprehensible. A still broader definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist.”

Whoa! I mean, seriously!

Think about what it’s saying: reality is godlike — it includes everything that has ever existed, even if it has never been observed! It certainly suggests that it’s something we have to believe in, like a god, particularly if we can’t even see it.

In reality — yes, I just did that — we throw the word around haphazardly, using it as it suits us to make a point or to make an idea or notion seem more concrete and immutable.

But is reality really real? Can we ever truly nail it down, put our finger on it and say, “that is reality”?

Some say it’s life, in all its messiness. To accept life is to face reality— the opposite of ‘having your head in the clouds’. (Though, it makes me wonder why they call it ‘reality TV’.) Anyway …

The thing is, whenever I hear someone say something like that, I can’t help but think they really just want me to affirm their version of reality; mine undermines theirs.

A more mindful perception of reality is the idea that it’s all around us in every moment, to be observed and not resisted. To try to escape then, is to create a kind of personal hell.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them — that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

~ Lao Tzu

It’s a “let it be” philosophy, almost like life (aka reality) is a movie and we’re the audience (aka observers).

But, even as we’re trying to get a grip on it and accept it as it is, science has proven that reality is something we create. Without getting too much into the complexity of it, quantum mechanics demonstrates that all is potential until we make a single potentiality observable. It’s the moment a wave becomes a particle, brought on by our conscious awareness as observers.

It adds a whole new dimension to something written centuries ago:

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

~ Plutarch

It also makes the whole notion of reality slippery and groundless. We’re not just getting ‘a grip’ on it, we are creating it. Makes you wonder what you’re even getting a grip on — is it your reality or someone else’s?

Taking it further, if you get realistic with someone else’s reality, aren’t you just contributing to their creation of it?

Here’s a scenario. Let’s say you decide to quit your job, sell your house, and buy a big boat to sail around the world for a year. Your magnum opus is waiting to emerge and now’s the time to write it and change the world. As you share this news with those you hold near and dear, your cheeks are flushed and your eyes glow with excitement. Your happiness fills the room.

That doesn’t matter. Someone in that small group of loved ones would be quick to say “you can’t be serious” or “c’mon, be realistic”, among other things regarding your mental state. They believe they have your best interests at heart. Are they right? Are you bonkers for even considering it?

Einstein is quoted as saying:

“I never denied that mind channels power … It can be used in any way a man chooses, and the stronger man’s faith in his mind, the more he can achieve.” [Emphasis mine.]

Within moments of reading that quote, I came across this next one. What’s interesting is that, had I read this one first, it might not have had the same impact.

“It all begins with a thought, a dream — an ephemeral thing, as we have seen. Then the thought becomes a word, and in doing so, it gains power, momentum, and even substance.” [Emphasis mine.]

~ Marc Allen

Here’s the power: the mind has a thought that becomes word. In the beginning was The Word.

I would never pretend to suggest that my little post could possibly define reality. But what a cool thought to end with:

Mind =thoughts = words = reality.



Writer, teacher, photographer & perpetual thinker. Here to share what I find while wandering around in the messy middle of life.

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Tracey O.

Tracey O.


Writer, teacher, photographer & perpetual thinker. Here to share what I find while wandering around in the messy middle of life.