Meditations on Realities

Have you ever woken up and not known where you were. Drawn a blank when someone asked your name. Been unable to recall a word which you use every day.

Have you ever lost yourself in a book, the reality within the pages becoming more real to you than the one outside.

Have you ever been so caught up in a thought that you forgot your body.

Have you ever found yourself behaving like someone else, perhaps a character in a recently watched film, and talked like them, walked like them, maybe even thought and felt like them.

I’ve done all of those.

Sometimes I do it intentionally.

“But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.'”

― Richard Bach

I’ve never been able to meditate in the way that you’re taught by meditation experts. It used to frustrate me because this was supposedly the way to a promised wonderland and I wanted to visit it.

Then one day I read a book which said forget all that you’ve been told by others about meditation, they’re telling you about their version of meditation, trying to get you to do it their way because they think their way is the only proper way to do it.

Instead consider that moment when you’re waiting for a bus and you space out, the busy world around you becomes a hum, as meditation.

I stared at those words on that page in that book with the utter relief of finally understanding the instructions. That kind of meditation I could do, in fact I’d been doing it all my life, naturally, without effort.

All the other books I’d read, all the teachers and gurus whose workshops I’d attended, were always so aggressively certain about their method being the one true method and anything else wouldn’t do, that I’d ended up believing that not only could I not meditate but I was useless, hopeless, a failure.

What if I wasn’t…?

Last night I was watching an episode of a TV show wherein the lead character kept being told how useless, hopeless, a failure they were by everyone, including themselves.

They were participating in a contest (a bit like The Bachelor) where they would be either kept or discarded based on the first impression they made on one person. Everyone expected them to be eliminated. But the person making the choice, chose to keep them – this confused the character (and everyone else), and for a moment their reality shifted from one to another.

“We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.”

― Richard Bach

That scene reminded me of similar moments I’ve experienced where normal programming gets interrupted, reality is suspended allowing you to see its structure, and showing you that it’s not the only reality available to you, there are other options.

It’s similar to when you visit a country which is different from your own.

Where people speak a different language and thus the names of objects, places, actions, etc, aren’t the ones you’re used to. Where the cultural customs and attitudes create a different reality from the one you’ve come to consider was the one and only real one.

And you may have to rely on different skills to communicate, because your usual style of communication is offline.

When there’s a break in our regular programming it can be disorienting, but in that moment we have the chance to experience a different orientation.

“Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they’re yours.”

― Richard Bach

Have you ever considered the fact that you can’t see yourself. That your eyes can never look at your own face. That no one can see how they look. Our eyes look out at others, can see the faces of others, but we can never see our own face with our eyes.

We can look in a mirror, a reflective surface, but every different reflective surface creates a different face for us to look at.

We can look at photographs or videos of ourselves, but the lens, lighting, filters, change the look of our face.

We can ask others what we look like, to describe us, but do any of us ever see others as they truly look.

Our eyes take in the data but it then passes through our mind which interprets that data, mixes it up with preferences, biases, thoughts, feelings, emotions, reactions, needs, wants, desires, fantasy, etc.

If we see someone for the first time our view of what they look like to us will be different than how they appear to us if we see their face on a daily basis.

The first time we meet someone we’re focused on different criteria, we size them up, friend or foe, first impression, like or dislike, normal or different, familiar or unfamiliar features.

The more we see them, the more make up we add to their face, painted by how we feel about them, the stories they’ve told us about themselves, how they make us feel about ourselves, the role we’ve given them in our own story, the opinions of others, the stories others have created about them.

We do the same with ourselves. Have an image of ourselves, build upon it, lock ourselves into it.

But every now and then we may catch a glimpse of ourselves free from all those layers, unfiltered, naked, raw.

Moments when we’re not thinking about who we are.

Moments when the world full of opinions and stories about us, our own, those of others, cease.

In that moment we’re just being without thinking about what we are being, where we are being, who we are being… for a moment all of that is suspended.

“Everything in this book may be wrong.”

― Richard Bach


          • It is. When I see a movie about the situation where in extreme situations, people react in a way they normally wouldn’t ever, I realize that in such a situation we may react similarly or in a totally unpredictable manner.


            • I sometimes use movies that way too, to contemplate how I might react in certain situations. It’s an intriguing practice. But I do have to remind myself that in movies time is slowed down. In real life things happen much more quickly, there’s less time to think and react.

              I saw this documentary wherein a policeman who ran into a burning building to save people spoke about how difficult it was for him to do that because his primal instinct tried to stop him from putting himself in danger.

              We can imagine ourselves doing all sorts of things, but when events happen it’s mostly our instinctual reaction which deals with it unless we’ve trained ourselves to go against instinct.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. I have definitely thought about this! I imagine how many versions of me exist in the mind and memories of others? And I wonder which of them would be closest to the actual truth, of my restarted heart


  2. Thought provoking, but I didn’t expect any less from you! 🙂 I’ve always been able to meditate, easily, but from what you wrote today, I realize I simply heard the word “meditation” and automatically did it “MY” way if that makes sense. I think you’ve touched on the key to meditation … it’s being able to be comfortable in our own minds without thought, action or words invading the space. Truly mind expanding if one lets oneself ‘go’ there. You asked a great many provocative questions, which I may answer later. This morning is already spent and I’ve done nothing thus far but answer questions. It’s time for some meditation. Thanks Ursula! ❤


  3. I’ve done (and still do) all you mentioned in the beginning of your post. I “take on” everything and everybody (good for empathy but gotta beware of others bad traits).
    I can’t meditate how they say you should either. I had to figure out, in order to gain peace, to find my inner peace it has to be done my way.

    When i started reading this, the first thing that came to mind was cloud doubt: when we think we know what we saw but not really because within a second or a couple of minutes faces change actions change. You may question yourself, thinking you’re not reliable or credible but neither is anyone else.


    • That’s a great insight about doubt.

      I tend to use cognitive empathy rather than emotional empathy, it helps to stop the sensation of being overwhelmed by the feelings of others, and it’s easier to switch it off.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Cognitive empathy is also called perspective-taking, so when you’re using thought to understand how someone is feeling/thinking, seeing things from their point of view, looking at life through their eyes, from their perspective, walking in their shoes, you’re using cognitive empathy. You do that in your creative writing, and in your posts about your interactions with others, so you do have it.

          Emotional empathy is a useful skill if you’re in a caring profession, which you are, and it’s also a very important aspect of being a mother. You just need to remember that you need to take care of yourself too ❤


  4. After reading this during my morning ride, I shared some thoughts in a post. What were the stars saying yesterday? I looked at some daily horoscope but couldn’t relate a bit… would you have any idea?


      • Hahaha. 🙂 I was sure I had, but then convinced myself that I hadn’t.(Self: I did this already. Brain: Are you sure? I don’t think so.) This is a very typical example of something I do when I’m trying to handle too many things at once. But yes, you can never have too many good wishes. 🙂


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