Seeing life differently

Raise your spirits by changing your view

Can I invite you to take a couple of minutes, and ask what gives you your sense of reality? Maybe your physical surroundings, other people, and news media and social media. But remember that most of us seek out others who share our views, and social media selects messages to send you which confirm your beliefs. News media focuses on bad news, because that’s what we pay most attention to.

This blog offers you some ways into different views of reality which can give you more perspective, and stop you being moulded by the media. A simple one to start with is gratitude, for all the blessings of your life and the present moment. As Joanna Macy explains: “Thankfulness loosens the grip of the industrial growth society by contradicting its predominant message: that we are insufficient and inadequate. The forces of late capitalism continually tell us that we need more – more stuff, more money, more approval, more comfort, more entertainment.”

How does a camel see reality?

We live in a mainstream society which sees reality as purely material, measurable, but how do you measure the inspiration of beautiful music or landscapes? Or the taste of an orange? Or a hug?

There’s no easy way to describe the subtleties and power of ‘felt reality’, the non-material experiences which are crucial in giving us nourishment, purpose, and connection. Imaginal is one word for all this, but may mislead you because it sounds like imaginary. However, some philosophers (such as Henry Corbin) use imaginal to describe the huge realm of emotional, intuitive, spiritual and more, that exists alongside the material realm.

All of us have a finite attention span, and my sense is that we’re all being overloaded with material information, and that there’s a manipulative purpose in this overload. Joanna Macy puts this eloquently, describing the “industrial growth society’s… predominant message: that we are insufficient, inadequate… that we need more – more stuff, more money, more approval, more comfort…

However, there are antidotes to this constant, covert manipulation. Here are a few I find helpful:

  • Nature immersion: just turn off your phone, walk out the door, escape from screen world. If you can get into wild Nature, it will nourish body and soul – think of myths and folk tales: they happen in forests and mountains, not indoors! If you want research evidence why Nature can help, see my blog on the book Your Brain on Nature.
  • Play with reality: shrink it, invert it, douse it in fantasy! Rob Hopkins’ recent book, From What is to What if, is a delightful reminder of how much play and imagination enrich us. See my blog here.
  • See as a different species: so much of the ‘reality’ we receive is humanocentric. Try seeing like a tree, with my short video. View life like an octopus, see my book blog here. Re-read The Once and Future King, where Merlin trains the future King Arthur by turning him into various creatures.
Hazel Hill Wood: a gateway to the imaginal
  • Soul Purpose: one of my favourite ways to change my view of a challenge is to believe my soul has a positive reason for us being in it – all I have to do is figure out why! To explore this, see my website,, or this introductory blog.
  • Place-shifting: consider how much of your reality, how much of the news you receive, is about the place and the country where you live. Try twinning yourself with somewhere completely different, see how the world looks to them. This is easier than a global view, which could overwhelm you. For example, I maintain contact with my Bedouin friends in Tunisia (see blog here), and in East Africa (see blog here). One reason I choose these locations is that their reality is a great blend of imaginal and material.

I hope some of these ideas help you to lift some of your reality into the beauties of the imaginal world, and keep a perspective on whatever material issues may try to grab your attention.