What if I tell you that you are the only one living in your reality? That there is no one else living in the exact world that you are living in?
You would probably think that I am going to offer you a red and a blue pill next (a joke for The Matrix fans)… but in a way, I am!
I’ll offer you an escape from The Matrix with a mental pill, knowledge and information that will open your eyes.
Here is the truth:
What you call reality is an illusion, a magic trick. And there are 3 magicians that fool you.
Each of these magicians creates a layer on top of the REAL reality (let’s call it The Screen from now on, I’ll explain later why).
Each of these layers is like a filter, one on top of the other, and in the end you get a certain program on The Screen that you ‘watch’ and think it’s reality.
I am going to try and reprogram them for you, one layer at a time:
The Third Layer: Fabricated Reality
This is the layer on top, in front of the other 2. It’s the one we create later in life. It’s the biggest, most transparent and most fluid of them all (meaning it’s all around us and always in flux). Some people live their entire lives never questioning this filter.
As we grow up, our survival instinct and the need for connecting with others force us to adapt in our environment, to learn what’s acceptable and what’s forbidden, who gives us food, what’s around us and what’s possible.
When we are really young our brain has 3 times more neural connections than when we are a grown kid. The purpose of this, is to enable us to absorb as much information as we can. As we grow older only the most active neural connections remain, we get rid of the rest (like trimming a tree).
In other words, we are molded by the things we are most surrounded with.
Here comes into play our family and their beliefs, their habits, their way of living; The cartoons we watch, what they teach us; The place we are living in, is it a house, an apartment, do we live alone or with our grandparents, do we have neighbors, are we in a city, a village, are we close to nature or an industrial society; The religion our closest people believe in;
All of this plays a crucial role in creating the 3rd layer of our reality.
For example, children raised in a Tibetan village, without a TV, away from an industrialized society, will have a significantly different outlook on the world than children raised in a building in New York by 1 parent and a nanny.
The time period and the customs of the society we grow up in play a crucial role too.
Let’s just say that children raised 100 years ago will never be able to accept that there are more than 30 genders today, and everyone has equal rights.
It’s not that they are bad people, it’s just that they grew up in a different society from different time, with different norms and customs. Their baby mind discovered a way for social connection through much different set of rules than children today.
The education plays maybe one of the major roles in creating the third layer of our reality.
What we learn in school is basically how we start to perceive the world. It sets up filters through which we absorb new information. It creates opinions about other civilizations, countries, historical figures, it inspires us to pursue certain interests and sciences.
Let’s just say that an American and a Native American perceive history a lot differently. A doctor, an athlete and a musician see the world in 3 very different ways.
The friends we start hanging out with play crucial role too.
They set up what’s cool, what’s socially acceptable, what habits you implement.
Psychologists say that you are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. And that’s true!
For example, if you are surrounded with people who can ask a stranger any question without feeling like that’s weird your reality will be very different from someone who is surrounded with introverted friends who rarely speak with anyone outside of their group.
The food you eat is an important factor for shaping the 3rd layer of your reality.
Different foods promote different hormones and chemicals inside your body. If you eat more foods that stimulate Cortisol production (foods rich with trans fats) your reality will, in all probability, be a lot more stressful than someone who eats foods that stimulate Serotonin production (nuts, seeds, pineapples, salmon…).
Even the fact that some foods are beneficial for certain organs means that you are enhancing certain organs by eating more of those foods, making those organs give more emphasis on your reality.
The media is the one most important element for creating the 3rd layer of reality to most people.
The movies and the TV shows we watch create a certain flavor to our reality. Some teach us valuable things, however, some just set ridiculous standards.
The music we listen to literally sets the mood for our reality. Just listen to sad songs, go through your day. The next day listen to feel good, happy songs, go through your day. Then compare both days and you’ll be startled by the difference solely the type of music you listened to made!
Music, movies, TV shows… they distort things from what they really are, they addict us to drama that we seek even where there is none.
It’s crucial for a plot in a TV show to have drama so it is interesting to watch, but life is not a TV show. There is no need for constant drama in life. But we are addicted to it because it makes us FEEL something. So we create drama. We hate the idleness.
That’s why there is only negative information on The News. Because it’s what captures our attention most effectively.
Everything that we perceive first goes through our amygdala, a place in our brain that decides if something is dangerous or not. That’s what information goes through first, because it helps us to survive.
Of course we would first wanna pay attention to a possible threat than “5 cutest puppies in the world”. We would have never survived as species if it was otherwise.
In the end, it’s just business. The news filter and twist information to grab your attention because it gives them higher viewership, bigger ratings than their competitors and more profit. It’s not about you, they are not trying to create a false reality in your mind, it’s just what happens as a result.
Just like with your family, your friends, the politics of your country, the education, the consumerism.
The 3rd layer of your reality is constructed by these elements, a lot less on purpose and a lot more as a byproduct of their effect on you.
But none of them tells the REAL reality. The Screen is a lot different than what they project upon it. They tell only stories, they create only illusions.
The first magician that fools you is the world around you.
The Second Layer: Inner Reality
This is the middle layer. It’s created simultaneously with the 3rd layer, but it’s a lot more rigid (meaning that it’s really hard to change it). Majority of people end up living with the same 2nd filter most of their lives. We start creating this layer before the 3rd one though.
Since we are born, even before we are aware of our surroundings, we start developing our psyche. Nobody is born completely blank. There is a part of our psyche Carl Jung called the unconscious, that contains basic memories and programs for living in this world.
Some psychologists even believe that memories of our past lives are stored in this part of our psyche. When doing deep hypnosis on patients, psychologists report the patents recalling memories that are not from this lifetime.
This being said, it’s clear that even before we start perceiving the reality around us, we have a certain sense of what we need to do, maybe not consciously but unconsciously.
The systems of our organism know how to function perfectly since even before we are born.
But as we grow older and raise our consciousness our unconscious programs might come into ‘conflict’ with the world around us and create false judgments about reality.
For example, let’s say that your father comes home from work, tired, hungry and with his mind focused on something else entirely. He is stressed because he wants the best for you. However, you are just a baby and you don’t understand any of that. All you want is a hug. You stretch your arms towards your daddy being driven by your unconscious want for fatherly connection, but you are ‘heartlessly’ ignored by him.
You cry, he wants to clear his head and goes into his room, your mother picks you up.
In this hypothetical scenario you might create a false judgment about reality that you are unwanted by your father. You might develop a false belief that you are not worthy.
This unconscious trauma might control your choices all your life, always telling you that you are not enough, forcing you to be better, to seek approval outside of yourself.
You might end up on the other side of the spectrum, always seeking approval from boys, not being attracted to men who is interested in you and ‘unexplainably’ being attracted to men who ignore you.
The unconscious part of our psyche has the most control over our destiny. There is a quote by Carl Jung saying “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
As we grow old, there are many situations where we assume things and make judgments. It’s normal. But it doesn’t mean that what we believe about the world is correct.
These unconscious programs decide most of how we see the world, what we are driven towards and what we despise, what we are interested in and what goals we set for our life.
They decide what gives wind into our sails, and where do we want to sail to. It’s all about healing the ‘traumas’ that we unconsciously have.
Another important element that creates the 2nd layer of our reality are our hormones.
If there is a hormonal disbalance, it usually happens during puberty, the world we live in is perceived through the filter these hormones create.
Just look the life of any teenager and how much full of unnecessary drama it is. It’s really not that important if your crush didn’t see you waving at them. I mean it’s not like the village you live in is attacked by other settlers and they are burning it to the ground. Yet teenagers tend to act this way about tiny little details. It’s all about the hormones.
They really do feel these intense emotions. To them, it’s as real as the village being burned down. But that’s not the REAL reality, is it?
This is why we usually tend to remember our teenage years and say ‘we worried about smaller problems then’ but we don’t recall that these smaller problems were just as big and as real to us then, as the big problems grown ups have. The emotions are the same.
And because these emotions are the same through our life, not following logical priorities, we usually distort reality.
I mean look at the world today. You’ve literally never been safer than any period in human history. Yet we find ways to feel these intense emotions. Our mind doesn’t make a difference if, for example, our life is in danger or if we make a public speech. Yet the possible outcomes are very different in both scenarios.
That’s why people find drama even if they live in paradise.
Another element is our world of thoughts.
How many times did you create a scenario in your mind that stressed the hell out of you, and it never happened, or anything even close to it.
Creating these possible scenarios is a sign of our intellect. However, sometimes we forget what’s real and what’s not. We end up feeling real emotions for real people about an illusionary situation we’ve created in our minds.
Even some of our memories are false. Scientists discovered that each time you recall a memory you are actually recalling the last time you thought about that memory. And with time, these recollections distort themselves a little by little.
That’s how you and your friend end up having 2 very different memories of an event you both participated in.
And last but not least, the choices we make during our life set up most of our 2nd layer.
The profession we choose, the hobbies we choose, the things we choose to surround ourselves with tell us a lot of information that people who don’t have experience in these fields know. They are simply not aware of the knowledge we are aware of.
For example, let’s take someone who is a lifeguard and takes care of the pool area, and another person who is a bartender in a nightclub.
The lifeguard looks at the pool area A LOT differently than the bartender. If the bartender comes to the pool area he wants to chill, tan, swim a little, maybe read a book. That’s what he associates ‘a pool area’ with. Those are the details that promote emotions when someone mentions ‘let’s go to the pool’. It’s fun.
But for the lifeguard, different details come into play. He perceives what color is the water, the hygiene around the pool, the possible incidents of other people around the pool, he is reminded of all the chores taking care of a pool demands.
Just like when the lifeguard decides to go to a nightclub. He goes to a nightclub to dance, listen to music, maybe meet girls, and possibly drink. Those are the details that promote emotions when someone mentions ‘let’s go to the club’. It’s fun.
He doesn’t think about how much the bartenders need to work, or how much time they’ll wash the glasses, or about other chores bartenders do. He is unaware of those.
When the lifeguard drinks cocktails he doesn’t know what is in there, he enjoys the delicious taste. The bartender might be disgusted by a cocktail that’s delicious to someone who is not aware of its recipe.
This is just an example of one area of life.
The factor of choice plays a major role in creating the 2nd layer of your reality. The same is with our unconscious and our biology. All of these elements are closely connected with each other giving you the 2nd filter of reality.
But none of them shows the REAL reality. The Screen is a lot different than what these elements project upon it. They give you personal version of reality which fits into your belief system. But this reality is a distorted one.
The second magician that fools you is yourself.
The First Layer: Perceivable Reality
This is the bottom layer. Everything goes through this layer before it even reaches the other 2. It is created as we are created and it’s the one we probably cannot ever change (maybe with enough spiritual practice or advanced science we can). As species, we depend on this layer the most. It’s probably what makes us human.
This layer is created by our senses. It’s created by our eyes, by our ears, by our nose, tongue, skin and brain.
Those are the tools with which we perceive the world. But those are the tools we needed for the survival of our species. They don’t show us the REAL reality, they give us just enough data so we can survive and live.
Think about the following MINDBLOWING fact: You can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. The existence of a rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes. To animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at the rainbow, you create it. This is mindboggling, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.
So it makes you wonder, what else do we miss from reality. What beauty are we ‘blind’ to perceive just because we don’t have senses to perceive that part of reality?
Almost EVERYTHING you observe is an illusion!
Color does not exist, different frequencies of light exist. Those different frequencies of light are translated by our eyes and brain as different colors. In fact, those are the only frequencies of light the objects we observe do not absorb.
Imagine if you had a different organ to sense the frequency of light and instead of colors you perceive the different frequencies as feelings. Reality would be A LOT different for you. ART would be a lot different.
And this is not just with light, but sound, touch… everything is a representation of your brain from what seems to be the world.
Without someone to perceive color there wouldn’t be color. There still would be photons of light, different frequencies that excite the electrons of objects, but no color.
Without someone to perceive sound there would be no sound. Just a bunch of particles moving. There would be no meaning behind their movement.
Without someone to perceive smell there would be no smells. Just a bunch of chemicals floating. The same goes with tastes.
Think about this, if we didn’t have nerves on our skin to sense the world around us, we would not feel anything from the outside world. But the REAL reality would still consist of hot and sharp objects that might harm us or kill us.
And even though, we have organs to sense all those things we mentioned above, we still only perceive less than 1% of The Screen.
To claim what’s real based on our senses is nothing less but arrogant.
They give us a sense of the REAL reality, only enough so we can survive, but we are a long way from seeing the full picture.
And in the process of translating the data our mind perceives through our senses, we create illusions like colors, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations…
They are the same as language, they give us meaning of the outside world. They are elements of communication between us and the outside world.
The third magician that fools you are your senses.
So What’s The Real Reality?
What is really The Screen?
There are 4 parts of reality. The 1st part is the reality we can perceive with our senses. The 2nd part is the subtle reality we are unable to perceive, but other animals or species possibly can. The 3rd part is the reality that cannot be perceived. The 4th part is the reality which is not.
Think of it like a TV screen playing one channel.
Each specie watches a different image on the same screen. For example, you watch it in color, but to your dog is grey. Some species might perceive heat waves of the screen, others might perceive something else.
The 3rd part are all the other channels that we cannot perceive because we watch this one in particular.
The 4th part of reality is everything on the screen which is not the image.
But the screen, what it really is, are pixels that can shine red, green, or blue. It’s attached on a device that tunes into different frequencies that broadcast different images.
The 3 layers of reality we spoke above are all contained in the 1st part of The Screen. They put filters on the channel we watch distorting the image.
We need to learn how to see the channel that we are watching, the right way.
So if we cannot trust the world around us, if we cannot trust ourselves, if we cannot trust our senses, what can we trust?
The truth is, you can perfectly trust your senses, you can trust yourself, you can trust most of the world around you. But don’t think that the world you see is all there is.
It’s not a bad thing that these magicians trick you into believing illusions. It’s not about seeing reality raw. And trust should not be something you take away just because what you see is an illusion, but something you give despite of it.
In fact, reality is created by illusions.
The purpose of this is not to make you see the REAL reality, but to free you from being imprisoned by the illusions.
Once you free yourself, you realize that the greatest trick was believing there are magicians that fool you.
All that ever was is you, the REAL you behind all those layers. You were the one creating the illusions that you were imprisoned by. You were setting filters based on the outside factors and stimuli. But that’s what you should do!
You are The Captain!
The third layer is the sea, the second layer is what gives wind to your sail, and the first layer is the ship itself. But you are the captain in control.
You don’t need to always go against the waves, sometimes they can give you momentum in the right direction. You don’t have to wait for a wind in your sail, you can adjust your sail to use the wind that’s already blowing. You can even find new ways to move your ship towards the wanted destination. And the ship is what it is. Maybe sometime in the future the ship will have technological upgrades, who knows.
Knowing this, you give yourself an unimaginable power to become the magician of your own life. To create your own illusions, ones that you choose to create, and shape reality the way you want it to be shaped.
Reality is like a sandbox. We get in, we create sand castles, and sand walls, and sand people. We play with them not realizing all they are is sand. These figures matter to you even though everything is still the same sand.
But don’t forget that you are the one who creates the figures. Free yourself from your own prison and start creating the figures that YOU REALLY WANT to create in your sandbox.
Play! Have fun!
You are the captain!
Reality is whatever you make of it!