In my previous post I’ve explained briefly what Karma is. Now I would like to explain its direct connection with Samsara/Reality Tunnels. Karma/action is present in everything we do. Even lack of action is an action of its own…When you make a decision to stay “out” of something (classic example with people who don’t vote) you still make an impact on your surrounding environment. Your decision still has consequences of some kind. Sometimes its a “better of two evils” kind of choice….
It is not always easy to decide what the best choices are in life. We are not able to see all the angles and all the factors involved. The less you know and understand from the surrounding world the more likely your decisions will be the “wrong” ones. Our perception is severely limited by our capacity to learn and take on new information. The stronger your beliefs and opinions are the less flexible your mind is.
Simple denial of what doesn’t fit in with our vision is the easiest way. For example when reading an article you will automatically pick up and memorise bits of information related to the subjects you already know. You will dismiss the bits you can not understand. Later when telling your friends about what your read you will repeat only the bits you managed to memorise. This way you immediately distort the original message. You’re not consciously aware that you do it. It is possible that the author’s message was completely different to your interpretation. Most likely you will never bother to verify it. Unless someone else confronts you about it or if you hear someone quoting bits you never even noticed in there.
Each reality tunnel poses limitations of their own. Most of us never understand that. Your mind rejects everything that denies its own vision of reality. As a principle in our everyday life we are looking for confirmation and appreciation of our views. We happily associate with people who share our beliefs and we avoid those who don’t. If taking part in a discussion we are more likely to support people we agree with even if their argument doesn’t hold. We can literally spend years expanding on the knowledge of what we already know. This will obviously make us experts in a given domain but it doesn’t bring us much closer to the enlightenment itself. This is because enlightenment comes from expansion of our realty tunnel, not from expansion of our knowledge. These two are not the same thing.
In most cases only way to break out of our reality tunnel is by experiencing something that literally shakes up our belief system and forces us to change it. Even then it may not happen automatically and after an initial “shake up” we usually end up in a state of crisis. Every crisis can be seen as a transition state during which time we try to restore our damaged vision of the world order and forget about the very thing that caused the “damage”.(Note that the world “damage”doesn’t need to be taken literally). Depending on how strong the “damage” was we either come back to our old reality tunnel with a bit of a “scar” on its “walls” or if the “damage” was profound we will be forced to accept a new version of reality. Complete change of reality tunnel might not be possible, I certainly never came across any writings suggesting otherwise. However the more variety we experience in life the more chance we have to expand our reality tunnel.
To understand just how difficult it is to change a reality tunnel one needs to understand that is it not our conscious opinions and thoughts we need to work with. In every single moment of our lives our subconscious filters out most information we receive from the outside and only tiny fraction of it makes its way to our conscious memory. Because of that we may spend most our lives without ever questioning what we see.
Even though each reality tunnel is different (we are all unique individuals) they overlap with each other just as our lives mix with other people’s lives.. Depending on how much variety you experience in your early years your reality tunnel will be more or less open to other possible explanations of reality. I guess modern psychology teaches lots about it. The older you get the more difficult it is to change your reality tunnel and you might need an extremely strong stimulus in order to do it.
This is where concept of reality tunnel resembles significantly concept of “wheel of karma”. According to reality tunnel theory our beliefs about the world are rooted in our experiences of the world and environment we live in. On the other hand when interpreting our experiences we refer to our preexisting belief system. It really is a vicious circle and in many ways it could be metaphorically explained as a “wheel of karma”. As long as we repeat our old patterns we don’t learn anything new about the world, therefore we will constantly move in circles; just like metaphorical circle of reincarnation. Even though each circle differs a bit from the previous one overall they represent the same pattern. However each time we avoid repetition we allow our reality tunnel to expand and we discover more possible versions of reality. Ideally we finally reach enlightenment and realise that there is no such thing as one fixed reality and with that we realise our endless possibilities. Until that point we are practically trapped in the “wheel of karma”.
Even though constant expansion of our consciousness brings clear benefits most people are totally unwilling to change they way they think or feel about the world. We convince ourselves that it’s our circumstances, not ourselves that need to change. Buddhists believe that only by constant repetition of the same mistakes and suffering carried with them human will start making a conscious effort to free themselves from the wheel of karma .Only when you’re dissatisfied with your life at some point you will finally ask yourself a question- “is there anything I could do differently?” Or “how do I always end up in a similar situation?” This is a starting point for a real change. However even then we are likely to search for solutions around us rather than inside us.
Sometimes change of environment may prove very inspiring and it can somewhat force the change of attitude upon us. If that happens we experience feeling of “awakening”. It seems to us that we suddenly discovered some “occult”, hidden part of reality. This is a direct experience of expansion in our reality tunnel. However sometimes even after moving to another place or changing our friends circle we somehow end up attracting people and places that resemble what we have just abandoned. Many people experience something similar with personal relationships -you have a new date and after couple of months you realise that they resemble your ex.
How does it happen? The answer is quite simple- we feel attracted to what we feel familiar with. The more variety you experience the wider your range of “familiar things“ will become. This is where concept of karma strikes really hard- the less flexible your mind is the more limited your possibilities for the change are. Most people feel scared of things that seem unknown/strange and they avoid them at all costs. If they move to the new town they’ll be subconsciously looking for people who resemble their old friends. If they meet a new date they’ll be attracted to someone who resembles their ex. You might not be consciously aware of this process, you might feel fed up with your old friends and partners. It’s just that your subconscious will filter out everything that is different to what you already know.
To accept a new possibility equals admitting that what we might have been wrong about something. Most people don’t like to admit that. So if you’re one of those rare people who likes “strangeness” and mystery you should consider yourself lucky- by definition your reality tunnel will make the world more interesting for you. If you grew up in a small tight environment surrounded by people who shared your life views you may spend all your life barely learning anything new. This is why I believe we shouldn’t resent closed minded people. Even though they can make our lives really difficult at times, they are already “punished” for who they are. The world of endless possibilities is inaccessible to them. All they will ever see is a tiny chunk of reality they believe to be the whole world.
Buddhists believe that we may need many incarnations before we finally realise how much correlation there is between our mind state and the outside world. Their final wisdom is that the world is a constant movement and therefore our mind should also be constantly in movement. Theoretically if we achieved this mind set we could change into something different every second of our life. Positive thinking mystics believe that we will all achieve that state at some point after many reincarnations. Since I am only dealing with Karma of one lifetime in here I predict that only tiny percent of us will manage to achieve this. For most people one life time is simply not long enough to allow such a vast evolution of mind. We might be able to speed up this process if we consciously dedicate our lives to the expansion of our reality tunnels. Some mystics, magicians, artists and scientists are in this group. If you feel like one of them/us- nice to meet you. We are probably less than 1% of the whole population!