Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality

Now I am really showing my age and old fuddy-duddy-ism! I don’t know about you but I find the various commercials on TV about Virtual Reality units puzzling. First, a disclaimer. I have never tried one, so I don’t really know what I am missing…perhaps. I do understand how one can be transported to another part of the world “as if” you are actually there. That does sound pretty interesting and fun.

I guess I am responding more in this piece about what I might call “virtual life”. For example, we are currently on a vacation, thanks to some very good friends. I am sitting in front of a window about 60 feet from the edge of a 50-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at a place called Sea Ranch in California. I can hear the wonderful baritone sound of the waves slapping upon the beach below the bluff. There is a two block long tunnel of towering Monterey Cypress trees beside the house. The landscape between our house and the bluff is covered with ample California Poppies, which are just now opening to meet the morning sun, after being closed tightly for the night.

From the large picture window we can occasionally see the spout-spray from several whales frolicking out in the deep blue-water.  Yesterday, we had gale-force winds that made the sea one large frothy whitecap. Today, the sea is calm enough to water-ski on.

While this place is exceptional by any standard, it is real. I have spoken with people who say, “Yeah, it is ok. There are just a bunch of trees, grass, and water…so what”. There are people who cannot “see”, I mean really see…wherever they are. They seem to always want to see and be somewhere other than where they are.

Whether you are situated in a beautiful place as I am this moment, or at your own home…I have an interesting exercise for you to try if you are up for it. Simply look around you. Notice the colors, the objects, and the textures. Now pretend you just had a horrible stroke and instantly lost your eyesight…you are now blind for the rest of your life. Those colors, objects, and textures are gone forever.

Now after about three minutes open your eyes for a count of 15. You have just gotten a 15 second chance to peek at your world one more time. Close your eyes again. Did you “see” any differently?

This short exercise certainly helps me be more mindful and grateful of my reality. It is wonderful to be sitting 60 feet from the bluff. But no matter where we are sitting the most important thing is to really see. This is virtually reality, not virtual reality.

Tim Berry

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