Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. Reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible.
Perspective: a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Truth: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
Once my routine was set, my medication levels had stabilized (or I at least had enough meds in my system to be cogent), and therapy was going well. I found myself in a quandary. The issue being that what I thought was “real” actually wasn’t. Who I thought I was, how I thought I was navigating life, all I knew was, in actuality, false. This is a very uncomfortable state of being. You feel like a lie, you question every decision you’ve made in life and sooner or later you grieve what you thought had been. You may even go through several periods of re-invention trying to make sense of it all. I have had more incarnations than Madonna or the Dalai Lama.
Here is the trouble with reality. Reality is incomprehensibly vast; Reality is all that was, is and ever shall be…mind-boggling massive and exceeds our limited space/time construct. What we actually have is a unique, (personalized) perspective, which is a little easier for us to cognitively digest (we are simply experiencing one teeny-tiny thread of the fabric of reality). The beauty in this is that although I may have perceived my parents as horribly inept and they saw me as an out of control child we were each individually seeing reality through our own personal biases and therefore it wasn’t the truth. Which if you think about it supports that adage of, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”
So, what is the truth? What is real?…and What is simply a biased/filtered perspective?
Several years back, there was a book that it seemed everybody was reading; The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. My friends were reading it, some of the people I did volunteer work with were reading it, a cashier at the grocery store I shopped at was reading it, even my sister was reading it. I even had friends loan me their copies and, I hate to admit it, but I held onto them for a few weeks and handed them back unread with a thank you. One day, shortly before we moved here to India, I took a break and went to get a coffee and laying at the end of the bar was The Four Agreements, with a sticker stating, “this book is free, please take, read, enjoy and return so someone else can read it too.” I took it, actually read it this time (and returned it before we left).
It was a surprisingly quick read and I agree with the wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz but what stuck with me (and I am going to paraphrase because I do not have a copy of the book handy) was the fact that we choose our parents, our attributes, this life, basically, in its entirety. I know why this piqued my interest. I had been questioning Reality, Truth and my Perspective on the whole Bipolar ordeal. I had blamed God, my parents, myself and I was tired of playing the blame game; at this point I just wanted to understand what was going on and why. That little snippet was a turning point for me.
I had, by this point, a fairly decent understanding of Bipolar Disorder, I had read the required reading material from the hospital, was tracking my moods, learning my episode cycle (and how I cycle), and I had figured out the When, Where, Why, How and What of talk therapy and was applying these to my life to figure out my triggers/stressors and I decided that I was going to apply this knowledge to my Existential crisis.
If it is true that I agreed to be born into the family I was born into…then…Why? Why did I choose my parents. What do I need to learn, recall; what is the purpose? What is my purpose? When will any of this make sense? Where is it leading me? and How do I progress? I was feeling overwhelmed, but I was determined and I just needed a place to start.
Photo: Corridors of the Laxmi Niwas Palace, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India. Nikon DSLR 5300 by Pamela