Personal Narrative: My Conception Of Reality

1761 Words 8 Pages
I define reality as a combination of ideas, perceptions, and views that form the basis of one’s thoughts and actions. It is a collection of what we know to be true. In my life, I know reality through sensory perceptions and my own experiences, learning from the teachings of others, self-reflection and expression of emotion, and intuition or “understanding without knowing” as is described in Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Using these faculties, I have structured my own version of reality with which I look at life.
Most immediate in my conception of reality are the things that I experience firsthand. Because my entire worldview is framed within the bounds of my sensory perceptions, I consider my senses authoritative sources of knowing. Just as it is
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“Experience is the best teacher,” as the proverb goes, and I rely on my own experiences as an important source of knowledge. Experience is the product of reflection upon sensory perceptions, wherein meaning is drawn from the situation that can be applied elsewhere. In other words, experience is learning from my own mistakes. Firsthand experiential learning happens through experimentation, communication, and skill development, to name a few. My experiences with other people form relationships, which is a way of knowing in itself. Louise Erdrich’s novel “Love Medicine” examines the various relationships that can come out of experiences both beautiful and damaging, and the ways that separate individuals can gain meaning from one another’s existence. I consider my relationships foundational in my perception of reality and the ways I know …show more content…
If we compare reality to the land we walk upon, the spiritual world is the sky above our heads. It is completely inaccessible to us unless we have solid ground to stand upon-- a firm footing in reality. But, as Black Elk’s Great Vision describes, both the ground below us and the sky above us are essential components of the Earth we live on. So it is with the spiritual world: our lives are incomplete without it. In my worldview, the spiritual world is as vague and ungraspable as it is significant. I understand it through a type of knowing that is impossible to put into words. As poet Emily Dickinson described, “There is a syllableless sea / of which it is the sign.” In other words, there are some things that one can know without being able to express, even to themselves. This way of knowing is prominent throughout the Tao Te Ching, wherein the first two lines, “The Tao that can be told / is not the eternal Tao” suggest the futility and weakness of language in relaying truths larger than our physical world. Similarly, Black Elk tells the origin story of his sacred pipe, ending it thus: “This they tell, and whether it happened so or not I do not know; but if you think about it, you can see that it is true.” Emily Dickinson, Lao-tzu, and Black Elk are each expressing an intuitive way of knowing, an understanding based in faith and an unnamable

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