I read on the back of a car many years ago a bumper sticker that read "Question Reality!" Up until that time my life had been a mish mash of confusing circumstances, and it was a revelatory experience to take these two words deeply into my soul. I breathed deeply and felt as though I’d been given a sign that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
At this same time, the context of my life did not include any mechanisms, supports or guidance that would allow me to take on questioning reality as an overt practice. My parents raised me and my siblings as Catholic. It was a sin to question anything or anyone regarding the authority or truth of what was to be believed.
My context as a female in Middle America also didn’t allow me to ask questions that would potentially ruin my identity as a calm, submissive woman who could be wise but not too intelligent.
Going off to college gave me the opportunity to explore and witness realities lived by other people, however I continued to interpret these different ways of being based on what I still held as right, wrong, good and bad. At the same time, most of the preliminary courses in undergrad were taught by professors who also disallowed the questioning of the reality they were presenting.
Perhaps, all of these obstacles presented to me early in life provided opportunities to covertly practice the art of questioning reality. The value of that is that I wasn’t able to seek the wisdom of others to tell me what was real or true, so I had to do the research and experiment on myself. Today, in the field of research design, this form of study is called heuristic investigation. Here’s how Wikipedia defines Heuristic: "Greek: "Î•á½‘ÏÎ¯ÏƒÎºÏ‰", "find" or "discover") refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery … This method includes using a "rule of thumb", an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or common sense.
What do you do when the world is presenting you with a reality that isn’t connected to common sense? What most of us do is conform and contort ourselves as best we can into the context of reality that is in front of us, rarely questioning or using educated guesses, intuitive judgment or common sense.
As the paradigm shifts, we see the dissolving and dissolution of the foundation of our economic reality. What do you make of that? We see the premier leaders of our financial, religious and governments fail to maintain systems that are literally bankrupt in their principles and practices. How do you make sense of that?
In the world of business “ the buying and selling of goods and services, questioning reality means dismantling the whole kit and kiboodle and re-inventing based on reality; but first you have to question reality!
A year ago, I choose to end the transformational coach training program. I had designed and facilitated this program for 10 years in the Bay Area, in California. My intuition had been guiding me towards this for years, but I was finally ready to make the leap. While discerning the common sense of this decision it seemed totally irrational and illogical. This program had been my bread and butter. I’d developed a reputation and people were flying in from all over the country to participate in this one year training. What would possess me to give all of that up? Logic and reason were not the major players in this process, and I could do nothing else but question reality. Over the course of this past year I questioned everything and hardly recognize the me that I’ve become. My anxiety is virtually gone; I’m far more calm and peaceful, I laugh far more often and the work I bring into the world is fulfilling. I love it!
A House of Cards
It’s becoming too obvious that there is a dismantling of reality as we’ve known it. And, you’ve heard me say this before, but I’m going to say it again: You are required to play the game. You, me and everyone else in the Western World have built this house of cards we call our reality. Generations of individuals over hundreds of years have brought us to the last cards of the deck. It has culminated into this wonderful masterpiece. And, now, it’s time to dismantle the house either with deliberate consciousness or with a deliberate whack from the proverbial two-by-four. (Don’t you love it when the cards go flying all over the place?)
What I’m wanting is for you to question how you are being in relation to this current reality you call your life and your work? What intentions are being served by your current use of what you consider to be common sense? What flies in the face of this current reality that you hope will go away if you ignore it long enough?
I don’t know if we’ll be saving the planet. I don’t know if we can change the foundations of the current structures that have us think that we are safe from vulnerability. Earthquakes, real and metaphorically have shaken the very ground of being of reality as we’ve known it. Fractures, cracks, fissures leave us dumbfounded with where to begin. Tsunamis, real and metaphorically have washed away the shelters, vehicles and the livelihoods we’d depended upon. What is the reality that exists once we realize that it’s all gone?
Nothing Matters and What if it Did?
People with faith (not faith as in religion but faith as in people who put complete trust in a higher power) have something that is the true foundation of reality. I have no doubt they have questioned the reality in front of them and decided that there is a reality that holds this one in the palm of its hands. They are able to hold the bigger picture and make choices based on this larger paradigm. These people usually share kindness, generosity and compassion effortlessly. Their values dictate choice-making based on spiritual principles instead of social and institutional mandates. They live in integrity and dignity and are accountable for their commitments. Some of these people are my clients and they are managers, CEO’s and COO’s of businesses and corporations around the world. I’m learning from them that to question reality infuses the world with an innovative, higher minded reality that, if nothing else will allow them to empower others to fearlessly question reality. This is how every invention and revelation has come about. Why stop now?