It is not uncommon for many of us to over react to some of the challenges that life throws at us from time to time, especially during difficult times like those we are currently experiencing. When we experience long periods of comfort and security we have a tendency to allow ourselves to fall into the delusion that things will never change, and so when they do, and especially when they change drastically, it is not surprising that we are not prepared and feel like we have been blindsided by life. Suddenly having our legs kicked out from under us can have a whole range of possible consequences, but one of the most common is that our self confidence can take a huge hit, and our sense of security, which was based on that unchanging perception, becomes a little shaky.
That over reaction can take many different forms and depends on the individual. Some take refuge in fantasy land, some hide in plain sight. One person that I know after experiencing the double whammy of losing their job and the breakup of their relationship, kind of went into a stunned state of shock where he isolated himself in his apartment and engaged in TV and video games which essentially turned him into a cave dwelling troglodyte living in mushroom mode feeding on a steady diet of self pity and negative input until he had no self confidence left at all and was afraid to leave the apartment.
The real cost of allowing ourselves to become too complacent about our lives is that we lose the sharp and powerful edge of our ability to adapt, adjust and respond appropriately to the constantly changing reality around us, without first falling apart like a cheap watch and going to drama city for a little pity. I know that sounds a little brutal but have you turned on your TV lately? Grown adults throwing tantrums over the most insignificant matters as if it is normal behavior? Are we evolving or devolving?
These days we seem to be living our lives by commuting between two worlds, the real actual world that is happening right where we are breathing and standing in our shoes, and the conceptual world which is comprised of the thoughts produced by our minds. One is real and one is an abstract representation of the real world. Which do we spend the most time in? The conceptual reality wins that prize. It is after all the safest place to be because we don't actually feel anything there, it's just a bunch of ideas of things, including an idea of ourselves, that we call our ego.
This is in fact the mechanism that allows us to believe that we can actually freeze reality, we simply think that it is something that never changes and when we do this long enough, the power of conditioning will take care of the rest. voila, we now believe that life and reality never change. And this is fine until the real world comes around and smacks us and leaves us wondering what happened. Think about it! If we live in the conceptual version of reality for decades, just how prepared do you think we will be when we are confronted by the reality that the world is in a constant state of dynamic change and that includes us, the human life form?
This may sound like a minor distinction but it is anything but. This constitutes a critical frontier between actually experiencing life and only thinking about it. And consider what will happen when we discover that our security is based on the conceptual reality rather than the real actual reality. Sadly we are seeing the sign of this in the inability of our infrastructure systems such as intelligence gathering and law enforcement to respond appropriately to the phenomenon of terrorism. The military is not prepared to deal with urban conflict because they too like to think of reality as an unchanging thing, and so they try to use conventional strategies and tactics with an unconventional adversary. We are a petrified society caught in static mode. We are unable to dial into the rhythms of life.
Embracing the reality of change is not easy, after all, there is a reason why we spend most of our lives in the conceptual reality, it is safer, easier and far more comfortable. But we have already paid a heavy price for our long love affair with comfort and security, even if it was only an illusion of security. Which leads to the critical question of just how are we going to find real answers to the problems of todays world if we are not in direct contact with the real world?
This whole issue seem to be relevant to both us as a society and us as individual human beings. People all over the world are losing their confidence in themselves and their systems of economics and government. One of the reasons why we live in the conceptual reality is that we are able to separate ourselves from many things, one of which is each other and not have to realize that we are actually family, and if we are to survive as individuals that have lost our jobs or a species that has lost its values and direction, we will need to tear down the barriers of we they thinking and come together as a species for the survival of all.