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Which Reality is Real?
The defining mark of a human being that sets him apart from all other denizens of the Universe is that he simultaneously experiences both the outer and inner environments.
This concurrent awareness of the two separate and distinct worlds brings up questions that are crucially significant to every person's existence.
Mankind is forever burdened with the dilemmas of how to divide one's attention between the two domains, of how to determine which realm gives a more authentic and reliable picture of reality and of how to establish where one world ends and the other begins.
How to ascertain how big a part each domain should play in one's life, how to amalgamate the two realities with one another, which world is more real, how to coordinate and reconcile the sometimes contradictory messages coming from the two spheres of experience, indeed even how to work out whether a certain message is coming from the inner or the outer world - these are the questions that confront a person throughout his entire life and this is the price that man has to pay for having a highly developed degree of consciousness.
As we simultaneously live in two worlds, all the issues and problems come in pairs. For example we are faced with the need to understand how the outer realm of people and the inner realm of feelings and thoughts operate, we endeavour to be in touch with both worlds and we potentially can be alienated from either or both of them.
And on top of all that there is the issue of determining how the two worlds interact with one another, how the inner domain affects and is affected by the outer one and how to untangle the convoluted web of connections that bind the two realities to each other.
Note that this is not merely a philosophical problem, of little significance and relevance to real life. Society places great value on knowing how to balance your interactions with the two worlds. For example, awareness of solely the inner world, with no acknowledgment of or response to the outer world, would be taken as a sign of serious mental illness or of extreme eccentricity. Awareness of only the outer world with no attention paid to and no input from the inner world would be taken as a mark of either a severe mental deficiency or of being brainwashed or even of being a zombie.
And so we straddle precariously the two mountains of experience, trying desperately to keep a foothold on both peaks, forever endeavouring to discover a steadier, more secure position.
Submitted to http://humanifesto.org
To be published at http://www.shivayoga.org
Next - The Eternal Question
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