Your Personal Reality
Just to be clear up front, I believe there is an actual objective external reality that exists “out there”. I know that not all people believe that, but that external reality is more or less irrelevant to the point of this article. Either way the point I am making in this article still applies.
External reality has to be perceived by individual human beings. As part of that process, it is filtered through that individual’s experiences, memories, conditioning, genes, biases, knowledge, and any number of other factors. Two people look at the same external reality and “see” something that might look quite different.
I think this is uncontroversial. Two people can be in virtually identical circumstances and see and react to those same circumstances very differently. Think about all the different perspectives and personal realities through which the health care issue in the United States is being viewed.
From a personal standpoint I can attest to the fact that changing my personal reality, the way I view the world, has had a major impact upon both what I see and how I react. Change your personal reality and to a very real extent you are changing reality.
Is all this just a bunch of irrelevant doublespeak? No, on the contrary it is an insight that, if you accept and internalize, can make all the difference in the world. Instead of having to suffer in the present to create an ideal reality in a future that may never arrive, you can alter your perspective by changing your personal reality now. Then you may discover that you are already living in an ideal reality right here and right now. Instead of hopelessly trying to create perfection, you are discovering the perfection that you already have.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust
Paul Hannam wrote a book called The Magic of Groundhog Day. The thesis of this book is very simple. You can transform a mundane day into a magical day simply by changing yourself – your attitudes and perspective.
The book is based upon the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. In the movie Bill plays the character Phil Conners who gets stuck in a time loop. The same day, Feb 2nd, repeats itself over and over in a time loop that apparently is going to last forever. Every day at 6:00 AM Phil wakes up to the exact same day. Nobody else is in the time loop except Phil. He’s the only who is living the same day over and over.
Phil Conners hates the original Feb 2nd that occurs before he gets stuck in the loop. He is a TV weatherman on a one day assignment to cover Groundhog day in Punxutawney PA. He is miserable and can’t wait to get out of there. But then he wakes up to the same day the next day, and the next, and so on in a never-ending loop. When he realizes what is happening to him, he tries to kill himself but he wakes up very much alive at 6:00 AM Feb 2nd the following morning.
There are no consequences to anything he does. The next day he wakes up with the entire day and all it’s consequences wiped clean. The exact same day starts over. Phil knows what is happening, that he is living the same day over and over. He has his memories from each day and he uses this to benefit himself. It’s a hedonist’s dream. He knows what is going to happen next so he uses that to manipulate situations and people and seduce women.
Phil doesn’t enjoy his strange life and no matter what he does he doesn’t find happiness. However, he eventually discovers something magical. He discovers that even though everything else is exactly the same, he can change the way he views the circumstances he finds himself in. He discovers that by changing himself, he can turn a horrible day into a magical day. The circumstances that are dealt out to Phil are identical each day. The only thing that changes over those thousands of repeating days is Phil himself. So by changing himself, Phil changed his day from hell into his magical dream day.
In the book The Magic of Groundhog Day, Paul Hannam takes the lessons from the movie and lays out how they apply to all of us. It doesn’t matter that each of our days have somewhat different circumstances (they are similar in many ways). The lesson of the movie is that any particular set of circumstances is filtered through your personal reality, through the way you personally view the world. Depending upon your personal reality, the same set of circumstances can be a horrible day or a magical day.
You have the power to change your personal reality. It it easy? No. It takes a lot of reflection and a lot of effort. You have to change a lot of your personal filters and biases. It took Phil Conners a lot of time and effort in the movie. But it can be done and it is much easier to change yourself than it is to change the world around you.
The good thing is that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. You can start making changes and you will see the impact right away. A lot of what I have written on this blog lately speaks to this issue.
“Tomorrow might be very similar to today. You might be unable to change the place or the people, but you are able to change your attitudes, thoughts, emotions, and actions. You have more control over the outcome of your day than you might realize. You decide if today is going to be something to endure or a unique opportunity to be imaginative. Is today a dreaded routine or a chance to open up new possibilities?
When you wake up tomorrow, think of the day ahead as a blank canvas on which you can paint anything you want. As you learn to craft your life, you will discover the ability to create your own masterpiece.” — Paul Hannam
What about you? Are you prepared to change your personal reality and discover your own magical days? Are you ready to paint your own masterpiece?
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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