Is reality always what we think it is?

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What do you see?
In the picture below?
What do you think you are looking at?

 

This captured my attention whilst I was walking around York Art Gallery.

The more I looked, the more I thought I was looking at three plastic bags containing water.
They had been cleverly positioned so that they didn’t move.
And somehow the water stayed clear.
I even thought ‘I wonder how often they change the water?

When you look closely, you can see that there are bubbles in the water.
Bubbles that are not moving!

In fact, this art is a great illusion created by Dylan Martinez:


Untitled (2016)

Sight has the greatest effect on our understanding of the world – what we see is crucial to how we comprehend our surroundings. Dylan Martinez’s curiosity is driven by the fact that he is red-green colour blind. Having a deficit of the sensation of colour is an alternative way of seeing. Inspired by trompe l’oeil, Untitled is realised entirely from hot sculpted glass, depicted as bags of water. The trapped movement of the rising bubbles convinces the eye that the sculptures are just as they seem. What is fascinating is that our desires often override our conception of reality.

Our desires often override our conception of reality Click To Tweet

It was the last line that caught my eye and I read over and over again.

“What is fascinating is that our desires often override our conception of reality.”

I would go further and say that it more than ‘often’ and most of the time we are not aware that we are overriding reality.

How often are we convinced of something we have seen until we get more information or a different perspective?

Or it might be that we think we are sure we have heard something and yet we have not.

This one becomes obvious when you listen closely to conversations. People often hear what is being said (that is, the brain registers the sound waves) but without really listening.

In other words, they assume the content or create meaning without fully registering the specific words. They fill in the gaps with their own expectations/thoughts/desires.

It’s why we end up in so much conflict. People are willing to argue for their version of made-up reality (“I’m right, you’re wrong. This is how it is!“)

Be sure not to just hear but also to listen Click To Tweet

I share many exercises with clients and at events to help illustrate just how much our brains make up on a moment-by-moment basis.

I do this to help people see that there is no water in the bags!
No matter how real it may look and feel to us.
No matter how much our brains want to convince us otherwise.
And for many, that illusion stops them from doing what they want. Making changes. Speaking out. Listening.

It could be fears around work, finances, love-life, health, weight.
Or it may be worries about the future or the past.
Before we do anything, we have to look at what is really there – to see when it is glass rather than water.
Then we can start from a place of fact, rather than an illusion that our brains have convinced us is real.

That is when the real change begins.

How can you begin to challenge your illusions of life today? Click To Tweet

 

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