It’s ever easier to weave our own reality, to find a bubble and to reinforce what we believe with what we hear. We can invent our own rules, create our own theories, fabricate our own ‘facts’.
It turns out, though, that when your reality is based on actual reality, it’s a lot more stable and resilient, because you don’t have to be so vigilant about what you’re going to filter out.*
Contrary to what we tend to assume, the normal state of the mind is chaos.
In his groundbreaking work on how people find happiness in their lives, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, provides three flows that proffer an alternative way for ordering our lives than routine or some unquestioned order:
‘The integrated cells and organs that make up the human organism are an instrument that allows us too get in touch with the rest of the universe.’**
The first is the body in flow, when we are lost in the beauty and wonder of the world through which we move – in small and large and all things between – as the walking sensor arrays we are:
‘The body is like a probe full of sensitive devices that tries to obtain what information it can from the awesome reaches of space.’**
It is through my body that I am writing to you and through yours that you are receiving this – the technology between us only allows us to extend our reach to one another:
‘It is through the body that we are related to one another and to the rest of the world. While this connection itself may be quite obvious, what we tend to forget is how enjoyable it can be. Our physical apparatus has evolved so that whenever we use its sensing devices they produce positive sensation and the whole organism resonates in harmony.’
Food and travel and sex are some of the simplest ways of organising what otherwise might become chaotic but then we do more, we play mind games: the flow of thoughts.
Memory and its organisation allows what comes to us from the past to be so important for arranging the present. Philosophy, science, and history are ways of thinking that we enjoy and can be lost in. If we named the things we enjoy thinking about, they will likely fall into one of these. We can so love to think about certain things that we can be lost in thought.
We are increasingly opening ourselves to what is around us rather than only within us, through what our bodies are sensing and our minds are thinking, but, as we know, there is more: the flow of work, of making something out of what we experience and think about and feel for. Largely we may describe people as scientists or sales-people or artists or machinists but the diversity or individuality is far greater. As Anne Lamott holds out:
‘The world has an awful beauty.’^
But with extras.
(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Reality-based reality.)
(**From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.)
(^From Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)