Here is a neat little concept that is helping me tremendously on my spiritual journey.
To sum it all up, one simply has to understand that reality and actuality are two different things.
There is a lot of woo woo out there where charlatan take advantage of people’s misunderstandings of this essential concept.
The purpose of this article is to show how this can apply in a real and practical way.
But before we dig into the nuts and bolts, let’s define the terms. Or at least my interpretation so that we can be on the same page .
In essence, actuality is the way that things actually are. Realty is how we perceive actuality. It’s easy to confuse the terms on the basis that we often use the two interchangeably in modern English.
There is a lot of overlap between the two so it’s understandable. But understanding the subtle nuances of the two is where we can begin to see how this thing works.
When dealing with actuality, it’s important to understand that we cannot grasp it. As soon as you behold it, you corrupt it. Let me explain.
We all see actuality through the lens of our perceptions. These perceptions are made up of our learning, experiences, beliefs, prejudices, and understanding. No two people see the world in exactly the same way due to our perceptions. And this fact causes us to view actuality slightly (sometimes radically differently) from one another. Now there is a lot of overlap.
Maybe more accurately, we experience actuality differently. Now matter how it’s experienced though….it is only what it is. Nothing more, nothing less.
I think this is what the Tao te Ching means when it says that “The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.”
Reality is the lens from which we perceive actuality. It’s distorted as we can never truly see the whole picture. We lack omniscience. Some are more studied and learned on certain phenomena, but all observers of said phenomena interpret it based on what they do or do not know.
I call it reality because it’s real to them. (unless they are lying to themselves). Actuality is like a mirror that reflects the mind of the observer. The reflection is called reality.
A perfect example of this in action is religion. There are hundreds, if not thousands of christian denominations. They all purport to worship the same God, read the same bible, and very often claim to have a personal relationship with their God. Even though there are a lot of overlap and similarities in their beliefs, most disagree on many aspects of what true Christianity is.
All claim to have the one truth despite major disagreements on the proper meaning and understanding of the bible. Most sincerely believe they know the truth. Their entire world view is shaped by their beliefs and many interpret reality from that lens which somehow reinforces their beliefs.
Politics work the same way. It’s a wonder how people can view the same events and interpret it so differently. Typically, these views converge on which ever side of the political party line you tow. It’s amazing.
Some people absolutely hate president Obama, while to others, he’s the best thing since pre-plastic surgery Michael Jackson.
The negative views of the racist, while rediculous to some, are very real to them. They interpret the world based on these sincerely held beliefs and actuality seems to show them things that reinforce their beliefs.
Some may dismiss this as cognitive dissonance, but nonetheless, their reality makes it seem true. Perception after all, is reality.
One last thing to note about Actuality…. there are some aspects that we have no power to control. A lot of new age beliefs kind of leave this part out which does the seeker a disservice. There are certain universal truths that cut through the veil of our perception and (as far as I know) cannot be changed.
These things can be generally discovered by consensus. These are facts that cannot easily be denied and easily proven over and over again. Even still, one must be sure that the interpretation of said facts isn’t just cognitive dissonance rearing it’s deceptive head. It’s easy to fall into group thought sometimes, so general consensus and accepted facts cannot always be seen as the most reliable test.
You have to be careful not to fall into those traps as they are the building blocks of reality.
Now that this understanding is established, the larger question is….How can we use the plastic nature of reality to our advantage. This is where the matrix ish comes in and things might get a little spooky.
Watch out for Traps
As hinted earlier, parts of Actuality is interpreted through our personal perspective lenses. While we cannot change certain aspects, there are certain aspects that we can change. In fact as we learn, our perspective changes. Along with these changes comes changes to our reality.
Once you realize that there is really no way we can interpret actuality accurately, the next step is to realize that we are free to interpret it any any way we desire. Now it gets a little tricky here.
Books like “The Secret” or theologies like the “name it claim it” gospel essentially boil down to the concept of “Change your beliefs, change your reality.” while the object of faith may differ, depending on what flavor of teachings being taught, they all pretty much ask the believer to faith that they either will receive or have received something.
Unfortunately, It’s not just as simple as repeating something over and over again or visualizing that you have the object of your desires. This is a part of it, but a few essentials are missing.
It’s almost impossible to consciously change some beliefs. No matter how many prayers, mantras, positive thoughts, hours spent in mindfulness, or any other methods, your mind knows when you’re lying to yourself. This comes from reference experience. We tend to believe what we see and actuality shows you what you believe, not what you want to believe. Keep this in mind because it’s important to getting this.
It’s been said that “a lie repeated enough times becomes the truth.” This quote is often used when describing how Hitler convince the Germans to comply with the extermination of the Jews during the Halocaust. While somewhat factual, it leaves out two essential ingredients to account for the effectiveness of the tactic i.e. Ignorance and Fear.
While both emotions are ingrained into our minds and are often used nefariously, we can actually leverage these emotions to help change our beliefs.
Knowing and using the correct tools to actually change your beliefs are absolutely essential. I’ll go over these tools in subsequent articles, but for now, here’s a quick summary of the concepts needed. They are all quite natural and don’t require memorization. Keep in mind, this is a personal journey to being the best you, so take what works for you, and leave the rest. But here is the list:
1)Breaking the cycle of reference experience
2)The power of placebo
3)Leveraging Cognitive Dissonance
4)Reprogramming the subconscious mind through learning/unlearning
5)Leveraging the power of Emotion
Many of these techniques I’ll show are used in different religions, magic systems, therapy sessions, and hypnotic techniques. Unfortunately, these systems are commonly dogmatic in their respective approaches. I’ve taken what I’ve learned from each of these approaches and combined the most effective techniques to allow for maximum efficiency while reducing the time wasted going though all of the “filler” material.
It’s sort of like taking the mixed martial arts approach to fighting. I strip down the traditional styles to the most effective techniques they have to offer while discarding the unusable forms, patterns, and fancy super secret b.s. that require 20 years to master.
While this might not work for everyone, it works for me. It’s a Jeet Kune Do / Chaos Magician approach to the self help/ new age stuff out there. I will attempt to explain the practical application of psychology and different”magic” systems without all the woo woo stuff. There is a lot of literature on each subject out there, so if you want to dig deeper, just google or read about it on it on Reddit.
Even if you find that my method doesn’t work for you, hopefully, you can find something that will assist you in your journey.