What is the difference between escaping reality, facing reality, and being at one with reality?
What is the experience and impact of being at either one of these three monumental states of existence?
Certainly the three can dance and interplay, resulting in an oscillation between states. However, for the purpose of this article, I wish to assess the true nature of the dichotomy that exists between accepting reality and escapism. Thus, I will be specific and hone in on various aspects of one or the other.
The personal reality that is real for us is the one we live in. However, just because we have our version of reality doesn’t mean it is the way things actually are, or more clearly, the way things have to be for us. The nature of reality is not static. To be in touch with reality is to know that it is malleable.
Finally, we have the power to change our personal reality when we understand our perception more deeply.
In consideration of our freedom to change our reality, what differences are there between facing reality and escaping it? From my own experience, I have deduced that the act of transforming emotion is an inspiring part of embracing reality. In other words, the moment of truth is the moment of choice and thus the moment of transformation.
Change is constantly happening all around us. Transformation implies a bit more conscious direction of the change. What I mean by that is change will inevitably happen, but if we want to derive purpose or create positive change, we can consciously direct the change in order to allow for actual transformation.
In light of this, going into an emotion with greater awareness—with a true willingness to focus on and feel that emotion—is, in fact, facing reality as if employing a spotlight. On the other hand, ignoring the aftermath of an emotional eruption is escapism; potentially being in denial of something important.
For example, a fight breaks out between you and a loved one; anger ensues, along with resentment and feelings of contempt. The choice to recognize these feelings lingers, an opportunity to dive deeper and acknowledge true emotion. Why does it hurt? Is it about the anger itself, rather than what the other person “did wrong”?
This kind of ownership and deeper understanding about one’s own make-up may help you appreciate what makes you who you are, and consciously accept the vulnerable nature of your loved one as well. What makes us who we are in a positive state relates to our values. Conversely, the negative can relate to our limitations or expectations.
Alternately, succumbing to a devious gossip session among friends only brings enlightenment to a state of naivety. Blaming, complaining, and capitalizing on the faults of others will only drown you further into the depths of ignorance and contempt, making personal insight and ownership virtually impossible.
I have learned to fully allow my emotional state to overcome me, while retaining relative consciousness.
This leads to acceptance and potential insight. With guidance (personal or otherwise), this shift toward acceptance facilitates the ability to use this emotional energy creatively. Imagine that!
If we likened all of life’s experiences as fuel for creation and noticed the value of each unique emotion or consciousness, our zenith of potential could be reached. Imagine a life of complete embodiment, when in the past you might have rejected a difficult circumstance you instead took a turn and fully embraced the opportunity.
We are sensitive beings, no doubt. If we weren’t, managing our emotions and states would be more constructive and less overwhelming—overwhelming enough that we resort to suppression or denial, projection or escapism.
But what is the primary reasoning behind suppression and escapism? I’ve found they often happen when we lack experience, something triggers a pattern or fear already within us, or we are faced with other people who don’t allow our expression to flow and our perspective to be honored.
In the case of facing potentially adversarial people, they often act in ways that trigger feelings within us that they are not sensitive to, or respectful of—or so it feels this way to us. These people may simply not be aware of how we perceive their actions nor are they cognizant of how it makes us feel.
Alternatively, I have found that when we feel our expression doesn’t flow, our values aren’t being honored, or perspective is in conflict with circumstances—it may only be that we have desensitized ourselves. Often, we have some growing to do and we could be projecting outward only that which is within us. In this case it is more about our triggers and existing fears—not our peers. It is our lack of experience, or healing of a triggered pattern still within us, that we need to overcome before we can see others clearly.
When we project, it also makes it easier to escape communication with the person we are projecting onto. This is because we have rationalized them as being incapable of responsive communication through our projection. Thereby, we escape actually checking our projection with reality. The reality that anything can change positively with positive effort. The reality that the other person may not actually be how we perceive them to be.
In this escape we avoid looking at ourselves and taking more creative control of our emotional experience, likewise escaping how we might be able to respect others emotions and journey of experience.
“My God, these Feeling types! …Sensitive people are just tyrannical people—everybody else has to adapt to them.”
~ Marie-Louise von Franz
What’s important to remember is that we can’t control our encounters with other people completely. Some people are not empowered themselves, and may not value cooperation, or they may value it, but at the moment just not be energetically balanced and consciously choosing to uplift. They may need to be uplifted too.
We often suppress or escape if we are not in a place with ourselves to be able to channel, transform or utilize the situation productively and creatively. It may be too overwhelming to feel what is coming up within us. What are we to do?
It is quite a radical realization to make it a priority, a commitment, to self-development as a move toward a higher quality of education and life experience. As we take the path of self-development, we can improve our ability to take on situations that are personally challenging. We can even enjoy them!
In any encounter with a challenging situation, we have the power to choose what we do with ourselves—to escape reality or to embrace it.
Whether we ignore or bear witness to our state is up to us, or rather, up to our habits and tendencies. We all know our emotional states or moods also speak to a perspective or view of a particular vantage point in our lives. We don’t always actively assert the view of our emotions, it just seems to be the way things are without question or active choice. For example, if we were to unconsciously assert the view of our emotions, we might say, “this situation sucks and there is no easy way out.”
When we assert this limiting view of our emotions as reality, we don’t challenge the apparent state of things and continue actually living in a fantasy.
The fantasy is our personal reality respectively, but is also a form of escape from responsibility and greater choice. Naturally, we all do this pretty consistently. It’s not necessarily wrong, it just narrows our potential, reinforces limiting tendencies and can surmount stress and stifle creativity and growth.
Life is a journey and although it is not easy to overcome our subjective tendencies, to do so is a powerful way to love ourselves and others more fully. We are all in this together and rumble with each other for a reason. The efforts I have been making with this process are trying and rewarding, more freeing and require greater patience.
Patience of this kind is a beautiful aspect of love, yes to oneself and others. And when others aren’t willing, it’s okay. Letting them go and holding that space in your heart feels a lot better than resentment. While resentment keeps us static the personal insights of our inner transformation are valuable beyond measure and in alignment with creativity, reality.
“This is a dynamic and mysterious universe and human life is, no doubt, conditioned by imponderables of which we are only dimly aware. People sometimes say, ‘The strangest coincidence happened.’
Coincidences may seem strange, but they are never a result of caprice. They are orderly laws in the spiritual life of man. They affect and influence our lives profoundly. These so-called imponderables are so important that you should become spiritually sensitized to them. Indeed, the more spiritually minded you become the more acute your contact will be with these behind-the-scenes forces.
By being alive to them through insight, instruction, and illumination, you can make your way past errors and mistakes on which, were you less spiritually sensitive, you might often stumble.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale, Stay Alive All Your Life
Like elephant journal on Facebook.
Assistant Ed: Ben Neal/Ed: Bryonie Wise