I chuckle when I see someone posting a photo that says, we finally get to meet in real life. Why? Because it’s puzzling that we have even separated what we classify as life as what is real and what is not.
When we meet someone on a video call and have a conversation, is that real or not? Are we having a real dialogue? Well, that’s questionable in life in general as we don’t know what game, if any, anyone is playing.
Somehow there is a belief that the online world is not real. And there is some truth in this just like there is day-to-day life when we pretend or mask our intentions.
Whatever our views, surely most people agree that being real is important – but what is real?
In fact, the nature of reality is quite mysterious. The online Oxford Dictionary defines real life as “actually existing or happening and not imagined or pretended.” But this definition leads to even further questions, such as what does it mean for something to actually exist?
There is an underlying expectation that we need life to be true. The online Oxford Dictionary defines true as being in accordance with fact or reality.
But today’s trek is not about philosophy, it’s about an opportunity to understand that we don’t need to pretend. Real life is happening at this very moment in a physical environment we branded nature.
When we say we are happy to finally meet in real life, what we may mean is that we have a whole physical interaction. On video, we do get a real experience but without touch or smell. But in both scenarios, we don’t really know if people are being their true selves or not?
In real life (IRL) was created when more and more people joined the Internet, which became a place instead of part of life. There was a classification of what was real and what was not. And funnily enough, for anyone born with Internet connectivity, there was just life. Young people will look at us sideways when we separate offline and online.
At the end of the day, we can be mindful of the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we believe.
When we get to the root of separation, we can ask, who is authoring these stories? And what motive or agenda lies behind this world view?
Often, we want to support what we believe is true, which ultimately keeps us stuck in the known world of deep division.
But what is real is whole; physical and invisible.
No matter how old we are, there is still so much more yet to learn and explore in every minute of every day. And to also recognize that some questions will never be fully answered. They remain a mystery to learn from.
Often, wisdom comes from the question and the journey we take to explore the sacred mystery called real life. And this is as real as it gets.
Margaret Wheatley sends us into real life: “When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”