Victus Spiritus


Perceptions are our reality, emotions define our culture

25 Jan 2010

Life can be a struggle, or a harmonic state of going with the flow.

This contrast is evident when awakening from a deep slumber. When unconscious, sleep is our reality. Some days we wake up super sharp, ready to go, and literally jump out of bed. Other days the struggle to become conscious is fraught with insane challenge. There's no simple way to cause our mental state to shift from unconscious to conscious. Sleep is so seductive, there's little chance that we'll get out of bed with a clear and focused mind. Force of will can bring us into a hazy state of wakefulness.

We can't control exactly how we feel when we wake up every morning, but we can create strong habits that help us get the most out of our sleep cycles. Regular exercise, avoid eating too much or too late, and set aside enough time to rest. Timing your deeper and lighter sleep rhythms with waking up is an advanced trick. The above methods yield the best chance of waking up with a clear state of mind. Good habit serves as a probabilistic solution (works most of the time). The interplay of consciousness and sleep is an example of active and passive perceptions.

The "good habit" technique is applicable to changing the way we perceive a variety of situations. Most people share appropriate reactions to positive and negative stimuli. If things go our way, we're generally happy. If reality takes a course that conflicts with our personal desires, we react with sadness or frustration. But it's kind of silly to accept emotional reactions as who we are, or to allow psychological reflex to dictate our reality.

Nearly everyone shares reflexive feelings. They're hardwired into us. When bad things happen, some folks cry, others curse. But there's limited flexibility in riding reactive states. In a tangible sense, we become helpless victims of the events of our lives.

Our reality becomes one which is utterly dictated by external events.

This is a sad assumption and socially accepted fallacy. Of course there will be events outside of our direct influence, but to submit to being an autonomous reactive creature is no solution. The truth of every living being is free will. We choose how we perceive the world around us, whether we're consciously aware of it, or not. And in this perception is the core of who and what we are.

Shared Emotional Reaction isn't all Bad

Common emotional reactions do allow us to connect with others who share an experience. A short lived triumph or defeat echoes its truth through communities of people. This emotional social glue is what defines us as a people. The challenge is to create a smooth interface between the social will, and our individual reality.