For thousands of years, philosophers and mystics alike have written about the idea that our reality is an illusion. Quantum physicists and neuroscientists have also weighed in on the topic in recent years. All research points to what the Greek philosophers, Buddhists and others have said all along.
Each of us has our own unique perception of everything that makes up our respective lives (our reality). Because our perceptual systems in the brain are wired based on our individual differences in genetics and experiences, our illusions are also different.
Let us take the illusion of security to help me to better illustrate my point. What may mean security to you in your life may not mean security at all in my life.
The security illusion may mean a full-time job with medical benefits to one person, but another’s illusion may revolve around a romantic partner, on whom they can fall back in times of financial, health or emotional crises.
Yet a third person’s may involve both, neither of these, or some combination of some part of these examples. The list of possibilities is potentially limitless across cultures.
To stay with this example, the economy in recent years may be challenging us to tweak our security illusions. The mass murders in 2012 alone make each of us contemplate safety. As a divorced woman, I faced tweaking of both safety and security illusions as I dealt with the rapid progression of my Primary Lateral Sclerosis early on. That doesn’t mean that my tweaked idea couldn’t use more tweaking. I have watched many others tweak theirs in the face of unemployment.
If we choose not to tweak our illusions, then we may walk around feeling fearful, threatened, and insecure about our own lives.
We may also run the risk of staying in jobs and relationships that compromise our well-being by sucking the life force out of us. I am not sure about you, but compromising quality of life doesn’t sound very appealing anymore.
Coming to terms with the idea that what we believe are illusions isn’t easy. Neither is tweaking those illusions.
Since we are embarking on a new year, maybe it is a good time for all of us (yes, me too) to take a look at our illusions of security.
Here are some questions I am asking myself to start the ball rolling:
- How do I define security in my life?
- Have I ever met my full definition? If not, why? Is it unrealistic? If so, did I feel secure or did I still fear it would be taken away?
- Do I blame external factors for my lack of security? (i.e., the economy, the ex, the employer)
- Am I compromising quality of life to keep my illusion as it is? (i.e., do I feel fearful, anxious, depressed often?; am I staying in toxic relationship/job, not pursuing other ventures?)
- How does my definition match my friends’ definition? My parents? Siblings? Are/were theirs more realistic than mine?
- Has my life changed, but my definition/illusion of security stayed the same? Have I outgrown my old idea of security?
- Is my security illusion promoting fear, or is it promoting security in my life? If it is promoting fear, what small change can I make to my definition to better promote security instead?
As always, I am interested in hearing from you about any or all the above!
- On the futility of worry, the illusion of control (Pt. 1) (aaronasphar.wordpress.com)