We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
— Anaïs Nin
One day you are born. Into a world that already exists. With its rules and its laws and its societal norms.
You learn about this world, try to make sense of it, try to fit in. And maybe this world puzzles you. Or maybe it’s a world of opportunity for you. Or maybe it’s a world you just want to escape from.
But the world exists. And so do you. And that’s just the way it goes.
And some make a success of this scheme of things: their talent is encouraged, recognised and appreciated; or they just work hard, crack on, and find their own way; or they just ‘get’ the way things work.
And some just struggle: think “yin” when what’s expected is “yang”; they fail to notice their particular talents, ignore what they’ve got; or they just have a speciality of making mountains out of molehills.
And some live in between.
Because “the world” is an enormous place, home to billions of individuals, all with their own peculiar story.
And there is guidance. Advice. Books. Traditions are formed. And status quos. And doctrines and dogmas. All based on the thinking of the time. And the location. And climate, too.
And some welcome this guidance, embrace it, whilst others fight against it with every ounce of strength they have.
And differences emerge. Separation. Division.
And differences are not welcomed. Fighting ensues. Struggle. Conflict. War. Death, killing and conquering.
Enter beliefs and superstitions, enter the need to make sense of it all, enter the need for meaning (for answers).
Enter stage left the need to control.
This is the world you were born into. One fateful day. In May. (Or June, July, or April…)
Except that’s not what happened. Really. At all. To you, or anyone born.
Let’s rewind, fast forward, pause. Let’s return to that fateful day. Let’s take a closer look…
One day you are born. A new world called YOU is added. Added to a collection of ever-evolving existing worlds.
And you learn about these worlds, with their rules and their laws and their societal norms. The worlds of Mum and/or Dad. Of Carer, Provider and Guardian. These important, formative worlds.
And transmission takes place – from their world into yours. And you learn about love and you learn about fear. And your world starts to grow.
You learn language. You learn to give names to things. You learn about you, and you learn about ‘not you’.
You learn to think and create, too. To think your own thoughts. And to give meaning to those thoughts.
Your world starts to grow, as you grow.
And you try to make sense of it, this world that you’re creating; you try to fit in with the other worlds; you want to conform.
But sometimes the other worlds puzzle you. Contradictory worlds. Controlling worlds. Confusing worlds. Sometimes the other worlds look like opportunities to you. Ways of expanding your world. Increasing pleasure. Having more. And sometimes you just want to escape from these other worlds. Worlds that have high expectations of your world. Demanding worlds. Worlds at war.
So you learn to listen. Not to what’s going on in your world, but to the world of others. And not to the words being said, but to the actions and feelings and behaviours instead.
You learn to listen. You learn to make your world like their world. To let their reality be yours. To let there be only one “reality”.
So “reality” exists. And so do you. And that’s just the way it goes.
And you might make a success of this scheme of things. The talent in your world being encouraged, recognised and appreciated by the talent in theirs. Or you might see the value in just working hard, cracking on, and further creating your own world. Or you might just ‘get’ the separate realities of separately created worlds. Might just know to take responsibility for your world and your world alone.
Or you might struggle with it all. Might create difficulty from the thoughts, desires and expectations you have that they don’t. Might not notice the talents that exist in your world, because they are ignored or not valued in the world of others. And this might make you think too much, and get too serious, and make your world a dark and dingy place to live.
Or you might bounce between the lands of opportunity and the lands of pain. You have created a unique place to live, after all. And who knows what might come next for you. What you will see. And what you will miss.
Because your world is an enormous place, home to billions of individual thoughts and feelings, all with their own peculiar meaning to you.
Yes, there is guidance. Advice. Books. But most of it speaks of another world, not yours. And traditions are formed. And status quos. And doctrines and dogmas. But, again, these have been imposed on your world mostly without your permission or agreement. And all based on the thinking at a time, or a climate, or a location when your world did not exist.
And all from a well-intentioned wisdom, granted. A loving wisdom. A wisdom that knows best.
A wisdom that has, alas, forgotten itself. A way that has lost its way. A description of living rather than a prescription. A ‘moment gone’ that wants to dictate to a moment still to come. A worshipping of ‘spilt milk that must never be spilt again’.
Yet, sometimes you welcome this guidance, you embrace it. It makes sense for your world, so why not. And sometimes you fight against it with all your might; you have to.
And differences emerge. Separation. Division.
And differences become unwelcome. Fighting ensues. Struggle. Conflict. War. Death, killing and conquering.
The worlds at war.
Enter beliefs and superstitions, enter the need to make sense of it all, enter the need for meaning (for answers). Enter stage left the need to control. And exit stage right the understanding that you are living in a separately reality, a separately created world…
Yes, you are living in your own separate reality. A world with a peculiarly unique set of values, shared by no single other. A world with a peculiarly unique set of meanings given to things. A world where nothing is peculiarly unique to you. Your separate reality. Your world. You.
THIS is the world you were born into.
One fateful day.
In May. (Or June, July, or April…)
Agree with what I’ve shared here? Disagree? Still got questions? Then please leave a comment. 🙂