1. the state or quality of being real.
2. something that constitutes a real or actual thing, as distinguished from something that is merely apparent.
a. something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.
b. something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.
I heard something today to the effect of "none of us are who we appear to be – reality is shaped and concealed by how we see things."
I felt completely enlightened and excited by this statement – so excited in fact that I jumped from the couch and ran for a pen and paper. (Did I mention I heard it while watching Oprah during a late lunch break? That is entirely beside the point though isn’t it?). The sense of enlightenment I felt was actually more a sense of reminiscent nostalgia as I had actually studied phenomenology previously and found the statement remarkably akin to that line of philosophy. Again I found myself wondering why I had ceased to partake in something I so thoroughly enjoyed – the challenge of comprehending philosophical theories and then applying them to my world. But I digress.
In this moment I felt enlightened and excited because essentially what the statement means is that if our reality is both shaped and concealed by our own perception, then altering the way in which we perceive reality can, in theory, alter our reality. Let me give you an example by applying this to my fiancé. He owns a small company that does contract work and lately he has been suffering burnout. He has been experiencing high levels of stress because he is so inundated with work. Just the other day he exclaimed with emphatic exhaustion that he felt like he was swimming against the tide. The thing is, he does not swim. He sinks.
But here is the truly exciting reality of the situation: for if we apply the idea that his reality is both shaped and distorted by his perception of it (in this case that his life is hectic and exhausting because he has so much work to do), and that it can therefore be altered (to a more positive outlook) simply by altering his perception of it (to that of his life being rich and full and his business being a success), then he simply needs to start seeing his life in a different light!
Of course that does require him to then change his perception, and as we all well know, the reality is that change is no easy ask.