Living With Reality

How much time do I spend distracting myself from reality? The obvious distractors are television, movies, and internet, but I want to look a little bit deeper. When I see a model seductively posed in an advertisement, how many seconds does this distract me from the people and circumstances around me? After watching a nice car drive by, do I allow myself to imagine owning and driving a sports car? If I walk past an old man struggling to carry his groceries, am I able to ignore the situation and continue to prioritize my own desires?

After reflecting on these types of questions, I notice that I spend ample time creating and managing various fantasy worlds. These fantasies bring immediate agitation because my reality is inferior to my fantasies which makes being happy with my actual life impossible. For happiness to be sustained, or for it to exist in moments of silence, it must be rooted in reality.

Facing reality in crisis or sustained difficulty can be overwhelming. We all encounter situations we must compartmentalize or take space from, but I can practice acknowledging when I’m overwhelmed while temporarily moving to a less problematic environment? Can I avoid moving into a fantasy world when life gets hard?

By learning to spend increasing amounts of my day with reality, I’m finding a peaceful happiness in deeper parts of my consciousness. This makes my happiness more resilient to new challenges that enter my life. Practicing awareness and equanimity with my current reality through meditation is the strongest tool I’ve discovered for this purpose. As I go about my day, the more time I spend with my breath and sensations, the better I’m getting at accepting and appreciating my current reality. By simply accepting my life as it is allows subtle improvements to naturally appear. Completely eliminating fantasies from my consciousness is unrealistic, but making small improvements every day over a lifetime can make a huge difference. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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