The word reality suggests “real”. In my mind the word reality has been a sort of synonym for “truth” or not an illusion. The dictionary defines reality as “the state of things as they actually exist”. All of that would suggest that there is only one true reality and anyone not living within that reality is delusional. Is there only one reality?
In my experience i have come to realize that reality is subjective and unique to each individual and each situation. That may sound a bit strange,.. if reality is subjective, how can it be real? I struggled with this a bit myself but once i accepted the notion that there are indeed different realities for every individual, things started to make more sense.
I knew a guy years ago who was a detective with the police department. He said something to me that etched into my brain some 20 years ago only to make more sense to me now as a more mature person. Here is what he told me: If a guy walks into a bank where there are 12 customers and 4 employees and robs the bank, police will separate and interview each of the 16 witnesses. Not only will no two witnesses not have the same recollection of the incident, but the stories will be so dramatically different, almost none of the accounts will be credible. He said it would be challenging to get three of the sixteen witnesses to even agree on the color of the shirt that the thief was wearing. Each witness will give an dramatically different description of the suspect. So much so that very few if any of the witnesses testimony’s would benefit the prosecutors.
How could this be. Reality is reality right? If the suspect is wearing a white shirt, black jeans and red sneakers, how could any of the witnesses not nail those simple details? A person would have to be delusional to not be able to describe the witness accurately after such a dramatic event, right?
Well… What if we are ALL delusional? What if each and every person on earth is in their own reality? What if there is no correct or incorrect reality? What would that notion due to your own personal perspective on things?
For me, the idea that we each live in our own reality actually helped make a great deal of sense out of many things. This idea answered countless questions.
There could be a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk eight feet away from a grandmother sitting at the bus stop while a business man is walking buy and a kid on a skateboard doing tricks around the corner. Within a few feet of each other, each of these individuals is in their own reality, each of these people are having dramatically different experiences. None of them is having a correct or incorrect experience. They are each having their own experience.
When i tether the idea of each of us living in our own individual reality with the notion that each of us is here on this earth for not reason other than to learn and grow and become more loving, it all makes sense. One reality would not benefit the greater good. If every person wore the same outfit, ate the same meals, lived in the same neighborhood in the same exact homes, there would be little or no growth. The growth comes from diversity. The growth is a result of contrast. The brave souls who choose challenging lives of suffering are taking one for the team just like the goons are taking all of the punches for their hockey team. Don’t get me wrong, the wealthy folks drinking champagne on giant white boats are doing their share of learning and experiencing as well. No persons life is perfect or without pain and suffering. But the contrast between human experiences is helping us as one pure entity evolve into a more loving thing or energy.
So there is no need to fret when another persons reality differs from our own. This is the point of living this human existence. One persons reality is their own business, not ours. It serves us all well to allow others their own reality and just love each person and their life experience unconditionally. Live and let live. There really is no “state of things as they actually exist”. So take pleasure in the idea that we are all correct in our own reality. Most of all, respect each other individual for living and experiencing their own reality.