One of my favorite topics ever! I discovered in my class that most people believe that “reality” must be experienced through the 5 senses and must be shared between at least 2 people. That’s the only way an experience can actually be “real.” I wonder what they think of shared dreams…

Reality can be understood in many ways.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the state or quality of having existence or substance.”  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it is “something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily.” In short, reality is the simple state of existence – if it exists, it is real.

This brings up the question of what it really means to exist. Existence can only be measured by someone or something who/that has the ability to measure and by that I of course mean a human being. In my opinion, anything that we are aware of exists and therefore is real. This includes material things, thoughts, ideas, dreams, wishes, illusions, hallucinations, etc. Everything that anyone has ever thought of is in some sense real.  Creation, even if it is nonphysical, still brings something into existence and so brings it into reality. Reality is present in the past, present, and future so to correct my previous statement: everything that anyone has ever thought of, is thinking of, and will think of is real. Creation breeds existence and existence creates reality.

To us, reality has a sort of subjective feature. The human view of reality is in some ways limited compared to the reality that beings who are greater than us see and understand. There is a true, ultimate reality that we, as human beings, can never know or grasp. This reality is objective and cannot be viewed from any perspective: it cannot be explained. So that leaves us to ponder our reality which is still vast as it includes all physical and non-physical things, material and non material. These distinctions create different levels of reality. Each one has a different value to human kind as a whole as well as to every individual consciousness. When I say that anything and everything is real I am maintaining that existence is pure Being; it simply IS. A dream IS as real as the bed that we have it in.

Physical reality is probably the easiest type of reality to explain. Through science, we know that we see and perceive things because of neurological relationships within our physical brain. We can see, feel, smell, and taste physical objects that are around us. We can even hear music, which lets us believe that music is in fact something that is real. The laws of nature create our outer world. Everything outside of our physical bodies has a state – things move, make noise, ARE. Chairs, tables, apples, dogs, trees, and other people: these are all physical things that make up our physical reality.

Yet we can also see dreams and visions. In them, we still feel emotions and the touch of other objects or people. We still hear conversations and other sounds. Sometimes if the dream is really vivid, we can smell the scent of flowers or other aromas. When we wake up though we know that we dreamed all those things and they are not physically part of our outside world.

This level of reality is the non material one. It influences us in ways just like physical experiences do. It has self impact on the inside and also impacts the outside world we live in to some extent.  Just last night I had a dream that I got into a fight with my boyfriend’s ex. Jolted awake at 3AM I was bitter, pissed off, and annoyed. While I’ve never met the girl in person, I saw her vividly as though I have actually seen her before. It was a construct of her image from pictures of her face, descriptions of her body type, and stories of her usual behavior. The fight was real on the level of the dream plane: it happened to me as a consciousness living in this lifetime. My nonphysical experience still influenced my existence. I might have worked out anger on insecurities that I had on the subconscious level, or it might have been a stress reliever in some sense since in the physical reality, I am not a violent person. Either way, I have learned something and grown as a person from this type of reality.

Another degree of reality is fantasy. Over time people have created many thought forms that have become universal. Unicorns, vampires, werewolves, fairies and leprechauns are universally accepted through common description. Everyone knows what a unicorn is and how it looks even though we don’t see them grazing in the fields of rural farmland in Alabama. Stories of vampires have been passed down through generations and though the idea of how it all started is unknown (maybe people over time combined real physical diseases like aversion to sunlight and a body’s need for more iron,) we can all agree that these imaginings are real on the fantastical level. We relate to these objects. When they are personified in novels and movies, we accept them, understand them, and even have feelings towards them as the pre-teen girls around the world have proved through their undying love for vampire Edward from the Twilight Sega. There have also been many sightings of ghosts reported throughout history and while some people say they are “real” others think they are “delusions” or “fantasies.” Ghosts have substance and exist necessarily even if it is just in the minds of humans which in my opinion makes them a reality.

One of the most interesting forms of reality is the one people experience through astral projection. Astral projection is when our consciousness (some say soul, some think perception) separates from the physical body by using an astral, non material, maybe even energetic vehicle to travel around a reality that is quite different from the one we experience physically. Robert Monroe has an amazing account of his own out-of-body experiences in his books Journeys Out of the Body and Far Journeys. Some people may question how real these experiences are, but they happened to him whether we believe it or not. This is why reality can be so subjective at times. Monroe’s perception of the nonphysical experiences he goes through outside of his body creates a different reality than the one he experiences when within the physical world. There are many other accounts that relate to this phenomenon, namely the near-death experience that prompted Monroe’s research. There are accounts of people dying, as measured by medical instruments, and then coming back to life and describing meetings with a white light, a spiritual being, or loved ones who have already passed away. It opens up the question of how far reality reaches. Some people may believe that once we die that is the ultimate end – the physical is the only reality there is. Yet these accounts prompt us to think that beyond our brain shutting down and our heart no longer moving and pumping blood there is a certain other reality that is still just as real as physical life, but very different in its properties.


A 5th Dimension Cube

This is a model of what a Cube would look like in the 5th dimension… As in Flatland it is possible, even probable, that another universe exists. Is it not real because we don’t live in it?


Finally, since space and time are eternal in the sense that everything has existed, exists, and will exist in some way or another (or maybe even both or neither,) reality does not just include the things that we know and understand in the “now.” It encompasses everything at once, in the same place and at the same time – there is no true distinction between space and time. In a sort of other dimension or even in multiple universes actions that propel Being either forward or backwards are “reality.” Anything that is any form of change – from nothing to something – is real.


So what do you guys think? Is reality really limited to our physical senses and shared experiences, or are the endless possibilities we can choose create alternate realities through space and time that are just as real as our own here on Earth in 2010?