What is reality?

Like all the posts here, I would like you to consider what’s being said not as an edict but a reflection. I’m not trying to say, ‘It’s like this’ or ‘you should do that’. You have to find your own truth. All I offer are some perspectives on life in the hope they might be of some benefit to your practice.

It seems to me that we get so trapped into a view of reality by our senses. When you look at something or someone it’s taken for granted that what you see is what’s really there. When we hear a noise our brain places it, identifies it if it can. A touch or a taste can be pleasant or unpleasant; a smell can evoke a memory or a reaction. Perhaps from one perspective it all begins with the senses; with sense contact.

But the senses aren’t really what’s going on. And of course they can be conditioned. When we walk outside and it starts raining we think, ‘I really don’t want to get wet, I wish it would stop.’ But if we’re at the beach we can’t wait to get wet, it’s pleasant. The sensation is the same but our reaction is conditioned by the time and place.

So what is really going on?

Well first realise that everything is in motion. By that I mean that even a solid object is composed of particles that move. Within these particles, even down to the smallest level there is motion. The reason I mention this is because the motion is a cause that produces an effect – an effect that in turn becomes a cause for the next effect and so on. Everything within the manifest universe is the effect of a cause.

Reality, or the present moment is the manifestation of the effects of causes. So when you look at something or someone, bear in mind that what you are seeing is not the thing or person itself but the light reflected from the surface of it. If you would like to understand what it is on a deeper level consider that it is in fact an apparently discreet complex interaction of causes and effects.

Of course the separateness of a set of causes and effects is only apparent and not real – so in reality all is one; one system so to speak.

Now think of yourself. Every habit, like, dislike, trait, disposition, tendency, thought or feeling is the effect of a cause. That’s all they are – just the effect of a cause. It’s the interaction of these that we term the personal self, and, for me at least, the full realisation that’s all they are that leads to the understanding that the self is only a temporary appearance – a sense of self if you will, rather than a real thing.

In offering this might I suggest you take this idea and reflect upon it, developing it further for yourself. Feel free to post questions or comments.

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