I’m not making this up.

I spotted this jack of hearts at my feet in the woods this afternoon.

I picked it up.

On the reverse side was written: “Is this a dream?”

I looked to my beloved Pema Chodron, classic neurotic turned Buddhist, for an answer.

And then I looked inside myself.

After I got myself a cup of decaf.

I struggle to get ground; to make sense of my world, my kids, my husband, my schedule, my dog.

I’m in a constant race to categorize, judge and make sense of my reality.

And when it doesn’t make sense, when I’m frustrated or angry or confused, there is that urge for a brownie or glass of cabernet or a chai tea latte.

Because, allegedly, that will give me ground. I’ll feel safe. I can calm down and attack the next problem. Um, I mean welcome the next learning opportunity.

But, is this a dream?

The reality that I see is actually total illusion, created by imperfect human observation and a constellation of pesky thought patterns deeply ingrained in my neurons.

The truth, I’m beginning to see, is that there is no objective truth, no clear reality.

Our reality — like a movie or a dream — is subjective and ever-changing. We craft, from an infinite number of perceptible stimuli, our reality by what we direct our brains to pay attention to. And we do not know what we are missing, how things might shift if we threw out our dualistic notion of good versus bad and became more curious about and accepting of the dream as each scene unfolds.

Whether this dream called life is bliss or nightmare depends on the reality I create with my thoughts.