The era of virtual reality is upon us! Soon we will all be wearing those wrap-around goggles, completely absorbed in a realer-than-real scenario of our choosing. A brave new world indeed, and maybe a little scary ... or exciting, depending on your point of view.
Except that the only new part is the goggles.
Have you ever “spaced out” for a few minutes and had no recollection of parking the car and entering the house? Or sat in a lecture for an hour and had no memory of what was said?
Have you ever had a fantasy so real that you acted on it, such as avoiding someone in the store who you thought was mad at you because they didn’t answer an email, only to find out you had their address wrong? You made up that virtual reality scenario and then acted on it. And we do this all the time. How is this possible?
Our thinking is a masterful creator of virtual reality. Free of charge, no equipment needed. We create internal scenarios that are so real, Steven Spielberg would be jealous. 4D and technicolor. Surround sound. Powerful enough to create sweaty palms, pounding heart, and shaky hands, or worse. Or just an absorbing daydream, no more harmful than a few minutes lost to the world. At night, we call these experiences nightmares and dreams, but then we wake up and know they weren’t real. Not so easy with daydreams and day-mares. These all-absorbing thought-created virtual realities are much more difficult to dismiss as illusory.
This is an interesting phenomenon we all can relate to. But it’s much more than interesting: It is indicative of the world of thought we live in all the time, but only occasionally become aware of. Why do we need to know this? What difference does it make?
The harmless daydream that seems so real or the harmful panic attack that scares the living daylights out of us have one and the same source: thought in the moment. The amazing fact is that ALL of our experience comes from the same source: thought in the moment, no exceptions. And we need to know this because our quality of life depends on it.
Imagine the difference between thinking another driver has made you so mad by tailgating that you must get revenge by slowing down to a crawl, risking a dangerous accident, versus realizing that the person’s actions are bad driving but are not causing your anger. What’s causing you to get mad is the way you’re thinking about his driving, and that thought is making you madder and madder the more you think it. Stop thinking it, and the anger disappears like magic (really). If you’re not thinking it, it can’t upset you. But your built-in virtual reality creates the illusion that the anger is really coming from the tailgater, and this illusion is very, very convincing. Only seeing through the illusion can restore your sanity and your peace of mind.
Reality is what’s real whether you’re thinking it or not; virtual reality seems real only when you’re thinking it. This is a good test to apply to real-life experiences to determine whether or not they’re real.
It’s not that there’s no reality out there; it’s just that it doesn’t really matter as much as you might think, because that’s not where our experience is coming from.
The mechanism of the virtual reality machine and its source in thought in the moment never change. We were born with it and it will be up and running until our last breath. The good news is that we can, metaphorically, take off the nonexistent goggles by recognizing what’s really going on. Human psychology has a self-healing mechanism called awareness. When we’re aware of the truth of the source of our experience, the illusion drops away and we’re left with our innate health, happiness, and peace of mind.
And it works the same way for everyone. Realizing that we all get lost in the virtual reality illusion makes it a lot easier to feel compassion for others instead of anger and resentment. We’re all in this virtual reality illusion together.
Taking off the metaphorical virtual reality goggles by seeing the true source of our experience gives us access to the truth of who we are: innately healthy, peaceful, calm, loving, and happy little pieces of the Creator. Too good to be true? Not really, because it happens to be true, and always has been.
By Betty Cherniak