What Is Real?

What is true for you right now? In this moment. Beyond what they told you, and beyond what they continue to tell you. Beyond “right” and beyond “wrong”. Beyond living up to your own ideas about who you think you should be and what you should believe. What is real? Do you even know? Would you know it if you felt it? Do you know how to get there? If not, begin. Just begin. Start by asking yourself, each and every day: “What is true for me right now?” And then, say “Yes” to whatever shows up.

Several years ago, I had a firsthand experience of Occupy Wallstreet. My husband, myself and my two children went to New York City for a day to see for ourselves what was happening. At that point I had intentionally read no news accounts of the events unfolding as I wanted to see without prejudice. When we arrived I was immediately overwhelmed and terrified. It looked like we had walked into a desperate, and potentially dangerous,1930’s shanty town. I felt frozen. What was I thinking? Why had I brought my children to this place?

Gathering myself, I walked into the heart of what initially looked to me like a homeless hangout; people were lying on the cold ground in the middle of the day. Some people were scrounging for food. It looked like a mess. The only thing that kept me walking further into this place was the fact that we had brought things to donate and because I was trying desperately to stay open. Even though I had avoided the news station’s versions so as not to be influenced, I was up against a wall of my own heretofore unexamined prejudice.

But here is what I found: A well planned layout with a walkway that snaked its way through and past everything a growing community would need. There were areas for basic survival needs; food, clothes, and shelter items. There were medical, legal and technology stations. There were times for spiritual practice in community. There was a library and a newspaper. There were people trained in non-violent communication who wandered around and made themselves available when disputes arose. And there were 30 “working groups” who daily came together to solve the issues the community faced. Had I gotten my information from typical news sources, I would have received a different picture. As a matter of fact, I had picked up Newsweek on the way in and when I read their account, their portrayal in no way reflected my experience. IN NO WAY.

We are living in a time where we consume seemingly endless amounts of information and images from sources too vast to keep track of and too far removed to properly vet. This leaves us vulnerable to interpretations that may or may not be true, exposing us to things that at best may not serve and at worst do harm. The technologies regularly offer and create ways to alter our perception of what is real. How will we ever know what is true? How will we stay connected to what is real?