Each January, people use the New Year to resolve to do things differently. The beginning of the year is a natural time to reflect and consider creating a new reality.
What if we could develop a practice that enabled us to continuously recognize our cognitive state in each and every moment. What if we could determine if that was serving us, and change our mindset in an instant if it were not?
On New Year’s Eve, I watched the movie Being There, one of Peter Sellers’ greatest acting performances. If you haven’t seen it, I cannot recommend it enough. The last quote of the movie is “Life is a state of mind.” That summarized the entire story and was a great thought to ponder as the calendar ticked over.
My version of that quote is “Life is a virtual reality.” Our human experience is dependent on our mindset, our programming. And we can reprogram ourselves to experience a new reality.
The building block of taking control of our minds is meditation. If you have not developed a meditation practice, I encourage you to give it a try this year. There are some great apps out there to help. Headspace is the most popular and a great way to get started. I am currently using the Waking Up app by Sam Harris. Deepak Chopra has a great one too. And they all have free trials.
The most basic element of meditation is to focus on your breath. When you lose this focus, at some point you realize it and try to let go of whatever distracted you. You then refocus on your breath and start again. That’s the practice in its most simplistic form.
Another way to look at meditation is the practice of letting go. Letting go of whatever is distracting you, and taking charge of where you put your attention.
This “practice” has implications for everything in our lives. The act of forgiveness, for example, requires that we “let go” of the past and restart the relationship in the present. That applies to forgiving others, as well as ourselves.
Now take a moment and think about how that skill could enhance your life and begin to shape a new reality. If you could catch yourself in distraction, let go, and get on with whatever you want to do with a sense of renewal. How might that apply to your work, your relationships, and your health?
I invite you this new year to try something new. Pick up a meditation app and do a free trial. Or check out guided meditations in YouTube or your favorite podcast network for free. If you already meditate, maybe this reflection reframed it a bit for you and will challenge you to apply what you’ve learned to another part of your life.
VR’s Threat to Practical Reality
One of my deepest concerns about the future of virtual reality is its power to distract us. Think of how much time we spend as a society with digital media now. In the next decade, one of humanity’s biggest challenges will be maintaining control over what we give our attention to. For what we give our attention is what we give our energy.
VR poses a massive threat to our consciousness. I envision a world where we spend more time in virtual reality than practical reality. All you have to do is look at the stats around social media usage to see it’s already happening.
The simplest thing we can do to prepare for that future is to become aware of where we place our attention and take control of our minds. The first step towards that control is meditation.