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A feeble attempt at reasoning about reality

April 24, 2007

When I was in high school, one of my favorite teachers told us during a poetry class that, “There’s only one reality: this one.”  He went on to explain that there is no such thing as an “alternate reality,” just different perceptions of what actually is.  (Isn’t it funny how every Buddhist discourse seems to use the italicized-“is”?)

This statement struck me at the time and stayed with me.  Here I am, almost 15 years after he said it, still thinking about it.

We exert a lot of energy trying to figure out what we’re missing about reality.  We search different spiritual traditions, a variety  of meditation techniques, a library’s worth of books, trying to figure out what we’re not seeing.  But isn’t this it?  What else is there besides where we are right now?  If we just look at things as they are at the moment, wouldn’t that give us a whole lot more insight into the nature of things?  Of course, it’s usually more difficult to quiet the mind and just observe things as they are than it is to constantly be looking for a new angle at which to observe them.  It’s easy to search, it’s hard to accept.

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