I like the sound of it: radical embrace of reality.
I'm not entirely sure what those words mean to me. They just popped into my head recently, and I've given them a home in my cranium until they decide to pop out and head somewhere else.
As long as this notion is rumbling around in my mind, I figure I might as well try to describe why I find it so appealing.
Reality is a close relative of truth. I admire both -- reality and truth. When I used to give talks to fellow devotees of the Eastern form of spirituality I was a member of for thirty-five years, "ultimate reality" was an oft-repeated concept.
Now I'm not so enamored of ultimate. It conjures up an image of something so far off, it's really hard to get there.
Which isn't the case with reality. At least, not the everyday sort of reality that I'm speaking of in radical embrace of reality. I'm not talking about discovering the essence of quantum phenomena or how the big bang brought our universe into being.
The reality I want to embrace is right here, right now.
It's the Zen sort of chop wood, carry water reality, minus any esoteric B.S. that often comes along with Zen teachings. I simply want to be in touch with what really is to the fullest extent possible.
At my age, 72, might be, could be, and maybe, though fine ideas, aren't as appealing as the inescapable reality that I'm living moment to moment.
So if I want to radically embrace something, it's not a possibility around a bend in the road of life but the scenery clearly visible from my current vantage point.
Why, then, do I view this as a radical embrace of reality? What's radical about being aware of what's right in front of me?
In one sense, nothing. In another sense, everything. I speak this way as someone who has meditated every day for over fifty years.
No matter how I've meditated, and I've experimented with quite a few approaches, it's devilishly difficult to keep my focus on what is actually happening in the present moment, rather than what was or could be.
Now that I've centered my meditation on mindfulness practices, I'm getting better at simply being aware of my breathing, the feeling of sitting in a chair, sounds of the washer or dryer in an adjoining laundry room.
However, I'm continually amazed -- yet not surprised -- at how my mind would prefer to recall the past or imagine the future instead of embracing the here-and-now present.
Or... comment on how the present moment would be oh-so-much-better if ______ was happening rather than ______. (My mind is adept at filling in the blanks)
So it really is radical to want to embrace reality.
We humans are highly skilled at weaving layers of mental coverings, such as beliefs and desires, that we toss over the reality in which we find ourselves because we think this will be more fulfilling than plain naked reality.
And often it seems like those coverings really do make us feel better about our circumstances.
I'm not saying that fantasies about what could have been or might be should be discarded from our psyche entirely. Life is difficult. Whatever makes it less difficult is hard for me to argue against.
Yet in the end, reality always has the last word.
Why? Because our best efforts to deny reality are almost certainly going to fail at some point. We can disguise reality with the mental coverings we're so fond of placing over it, but eventually reality will burst out and yell, "I'm back! Did you miss me?"
I guess I like the idea of welcoming reality since it going to be my companion regardless.
Pushing it away may seem like a good idea, especially when reality appears in the form of pain, suffering, anxiety, worries, and all the other nasty stuff that life brings along in addition to the good stuff.
However, we can do our best to improve our situation, along with that of others, while also pursuing a radical embrace of reality. In fact, being clear-eyed about what is probably is the best foundation for fashioning a desired will be.