Clouds in the form of a lama foetus above Ausangate, Peru
Reality Exploration Part I
Lately I gave a talk about the Garuda for a Dutch Gentlemen’s Club. I was convinced before that the idea of the imagined orders, and the idea that one sees reality distorted by ones own lenses, i.e. the preferences one has gathered in life, would be obvious and hands down accepted.
But it turned out differently. I was criticised by some about both these ideas. The imagined orders were seen as very beneficial for society, and that reality could be otherwise than percieved, seemed anathema for them. There were other members that grasped these ideas immediately. Of course the imagined orders made society at large possible, but they are stuffed with fictional necessities that not only are fictitious, but also have caused many of the pressing problems that humanity faces today. The main problem as I sensed it is that what I tell as a proposition is seen as a claim on truth, and accordingly denounced. So for me this shows that our individual imagined order in fact act also as a system of faith, almost in a religious sense. It is made into absolute truth that cannot be questioned.
Because, what did I aim at? The idea is that through upbringing and habituation man has learned to look at reality, completely unconscious, through the lenses and biases that man has put up. So the perceived reality is not seen for what it is, but for what it means for a person in relation to his personal imagined order. Thus, if you have learned to be suspicious, the result will be that all is seen with suspicion and you will not be a trustful person. Then reality will be perceived, and all and everything in you will act to make this perception true. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In this way the maxim: So inner, so outer, has to be understood. The perception of your environment is a reflection of your inner state. For some the bare thought that their perception could be distorted is so far away that it will never reach their consciousness. In this way it acts as a religious belief. The truth of it cannot, and will not be questioned.
This is not to say that imagined orders have no profits. They make it possible to live in ever bigger communities, they convey social order, safety, food and all that. For sure, they are not heaven on earth, but when seen absolutised as laws of nature, akin to scientific laws, they act as blinders for real change. This is even more so for the individual imagined order each one of us has installed in himself.
Here is a sort of a paradox. The famous Dutch soccer player Johan Cruijff said so in the following way: ‘Je gaat het pas zien als je het door hebt’, which in plain English would be: You only will understand, when you understand it, meaning that getting to understanding is paradoxical and circular, and in reality it often is.
Zhabkar says that you have to get utterly convinced of the fact that the world you perceive is a world that is made up in your own mind. Otherwise you will continue making the mistake to perceive what you see as reality in an objective sense, and thus you will make change unlikely or even impossible.
During the Q&A in my talk the question was put: What then is real reality and how does it look? My answer is that seeing real reality means that you have no prior expectations of what it looks like. The imagined orders make you unconscious of your expectations, and working on that you will become more and more conscious, not only of your own biases, but also about your environment and what we call reality. This is the freedom Zhabkar is talking about.
So, taking Zhabkar’s track to learn living consciously is the act of exploring new worlds of which you have never dreamed they existed.
Then, can we live without imagined orders? The answer is a plain no, but we can live consciously within them, being liberated from them.
To come around: as demonstration of this process, my initial thought of being these ideas easy pies to swallow, showed an expectation about reality that was falsified, and thus made it more difficult for me to cope with what happened. A beautiful lesson!
In part two of this blog I will discuss what this exploration of unknown worlds might yield.