Health & Medical Self-Improvement

One Planet, Many Realities: An Exercise In Perception

I want to share with you an exercise that changed my life. My mentor, Max, led me through it as he tried to help me understand the limits of my reality, to help me escape from my box.

Max asked me to imagine that I was becoming weightless, able to lift myself off the ground. I rose above New York City, above the United States, above the clouds. I rose up into the heavens somewhere above the stratosphere. The sky around me got darker. And then . . . I stopped. I looked down and saw the earth.

I was mesmerized. I gazed at millions and millions of square miles of topaz-blue water and millions of square miles of emerald-green land. I contemplated the fact that trillions of living creatures inhabit that water and that land, including close to seven billion people. I imagined each person on earth as a point or a dot. And I visualized millions and millions and millions of these dots scattered throughout the deep green landmasses.

What I saw seemed real, but I realized that it was a reality created by my own perception. If anyone else floated in the exact same place, would they see things differently? Would the land appear more brown to them than green? Would they focus on the white clouds and miss the blue of the oceans? Looking down at the earth and pondering the infinite variety of its appearance, I understood that each individual human being-in fact, each individual living creature-experiences a different reality. Awareness is infinitely variable. Since our experiences and programming are different, each creature's reality must be different than the reality experienced by every other creature. That's seven billion human realities and another trillion of other realities, all coexisting in a single space at a single point in time.

As I gazed down on the billions of imaginary dots, I imagined that each one was surrounded by a circle representing each person's sphere of influence. Some of the circles were larger than others due to the individual's experiences, programming, physical attributes, geographic location, and cultural upbringing. Most of the circles stood independently, but some of them overlapped, forming Venn diagrams that highlighted portions of reality shared by two or more individuals. The circles seemed to cover the earth. How could it be possible for a single planet to encompass so many realities? And then it hit me. It may be impossible to define a collective reality, but without individual realities, the world would cease to exist. If I removed all the realities from existence, there would be nothing left. Without the existence of your reality, without your perceptions making something real, it does not exist.
In short, the universe as we know it today is made up of trillions of realities. That universe changes constantly as the perceptions and experiences of the creatures around us change. There is simply nothing else.

It took me a while to understand how Max wanted this revelation to change my life. Max wanted me to understand that my reality, and all realities, are directly connected to the universe, simply because they make up the universe. What this implies is that we can change the universe simply by changing our reality. The thoughts behind the reality we create for ourselves can affect every other reality and, in turn, affect certain outcomes. I found this notion to be difficult to accept, but incredibly powerful.

As I floated above the earth according to Max's guidance, more and more questions came to my mind. Some even rocked my understanding of God's role in our existence. If it is we whose thoughts create all there is, I considered, and the universe is an integral part of this amalgamation of realities, then who created the Universe? Was it God or us? Is it possible that God creates through us?

And suddenly I looked at my life and wondered, If God has given me the ability to create my life, have I let God down? I felt a sense of responsibility not only for my life, but for what my life could bring to this amazing thing we call the universe.

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