Today I close my mind and open my heart, letting go of things I used to believe were essential or true.
I posted that on Facebook as I embarked on an 18-hour journey home to Maui after a week in Florida. Increasingly I feel that my obstacles to [whatever I want] are of my own making. They are the direct result of my pre-existing beliefs and opinions. So I thought this play on words would refocus my attention. Like you, I think of myself as an open-minded person. But my mind is not always right; it is invested in things that used to be, not what are now. So today I rely not on my mind but on my actual experience.
The mind stores past experiences hoping to save me time and trouble in the present. But things are changing so fast now, that this old data can be as obstructive as it is supportive. Here is the beginning of my unlearning for today:
There is no such thing as *Objective* Reality.
Evidence: Because no two people can have the same exact experience. I want to remember this over and over again. On some level of consciousness, it explains everything and liberates everyone. It busts wide open the notion that we can somehow see eye to eye and by sharing every last moment of minutiae I can somehow get you to see and feel and think as I do. As if that would help me feel more connected. (And yes, I think it explains one of the driving motivations for social sharing.)
I am writing this on an airplane. There are a few fidgeters like me and thankfully, many others who can sit down for seven hours and not move. I used to think there was something wrong with them! Today it is just one of the many differences among us. This is sinking in with me on a much deeper level today. Instead of mild disdain, I actually feel gratitude blooming in my heart for the overwhelming majority of my fellow travelers who can sit still!
I also know how easy it is for the mind to glide along with platitudes and yet fiercely avoid actually implementing them! In an effort to do some neural re-wiring, I am indulging in some list-making. The list may appear trivial and obvious. If so, that just indicates how easily we forget the role that our subjective experience plays in forming a sense of “reality.” Tell me, how often have you been upset, confused, or angry because someone dear to you does not see the world the way you do? Or seen someone post one of those pretty picture quotes on Facebook and then in the same day act as if they never heard of that lofty concept? Digesting this list, and the nuances of its message, is how I re-educate my monkey mind aka “the kid” voice in me about the true nature of reality.
So now I embark on a journey to entertain just the most superficial variables among this tiny collective of 300 spiritual beings having a human travel experience:
- Age today
- Start and End destination today
- Years of travel
- Modes of travel used in the past
- Education: types and amounts
- Height and Weight
- Activity level
- Parents alive or dead
- Number of siblings
All of these things are quite straightforward – what we could call flat, measurable data points. They each may or may not affect the travel experience each person is having today.
Now for the fun stuff, that you might say really influences whether we are having a good trip or a bad trip:
- Middle seat or aisle or window (I like aisles, my partner wants a window!)
- Number of times on a plane (More time = more irritation or more comfort?)
- Length & number of prior flights, just today (Fresh or wasted…)
- Proximity to airplane crashes (in geography, in time, in relationships)
- Amount and quality of sleep received yesterday
- The point of the trip! Is it for work, or vacation, a wedding, a funeral, an escape, a new start, or perhaps you are the pilot or the flight attendant?
What an impact this stuff can have on my perspective of this very flight and this very plane and this very flight crew. Then there is the gulf between First Class, Business, Coach Plus, and Coach Cattle. No amount of physical proximity can bridge the gulf of these numerous and personal experiences. Yet when I land, I will be asked, “How was your flight?” And many will be expecting an objective assessment of “the flight.” I cannot speak in truth for “the flight” – I can only address “my flight.” There is no flight reality. There are instead numerous flight realities, including some who were not even on the plane.
What does this really mean?
There is no such thing as Reality. It is just a more assertive way of putting my spin on what I think is happening. Seriously, how can anyone claim to have a singular grasp on reality – something that is 100% subjective and variable and based on one’s own experiences and own interpretation of one’s own and other people’s data?
Here is one other thing I learned today, that my kid voice, and perhaps many frequent fliers, really do not want me to type out in public:
Maybe the airlines have it right after all. I have been a firm believer in the “need” for wider seats and aisles, more leg room, more opportunities to move in-flight. I have it all backed up with health data too, BTW. But the evidence that I am seeing today, since I closed my mind and chose to experience seeing anew, tells me that most people are happy enough to sit down and hardly (if at all) get up during an 8-hour flight. This started partially because my sister told me before I left that she IS one of those people. My apologies to you Barbara and to all those who I had labeled clueless for tolerating a long and crowded and motionless flight!
The Takeaway: Be a Subjective Realist
I grant me (and you, to the extent I can) full entitlement to be our very own Subjective Realists. You, and only you, (and me and only me) are the masters of our own Subjective Realities. This one truth opens up an entirely different and parallel universe to the one most of us have been occupying. Now darling, go explore. And report back! I’d love to hear how this lands over in your reality. I also invite you to use the hashtags, #ForMe and #ForYou and #ForNow to tap into the energy of this highly subjective and personal and ever-changing universe!