Art by Beth Hoekel
When a wise old friend and spiritual mentor shared this little gem of wisdom with me many years ago (Perspective forms Perception) I didn’t have an “ah ha!” moment exactly, but more of a “huh?” moment. What the heck is that supposed to mean I thought? But it really got me thinking at the time and that lead from one thing to another and then after a while I came to the realization that our perception actually influences everything! The way we perceive things is how we see things and the way we see things determines how our life will turn out.
No two people see things the same way since our minds influence our perception with our own creative thoughts, theories, memories, ideas, fears and imaginings. The process of perception routinely alters what we see based on preconceived concepts because we as human beings have trouble understanding new information without the inherent bias of previous knowledge.
When we observe something new that we don’t comprehend, without any previous understanding of it, our mind will search for something that closely relates to the unfamiliar from our past experiences and in effect, make up what we see.
Any traffic officer will tell you that witnesses to a traffic accident often provide widely differing perspectives as to how the accident occurred and who was at fault based on their cultural background, age, life experience and socioeconomic circumstances.
Just as our past experience influences what we see, as if in a fog, many of us unconsciously allow our thoughts, feelings and beliefs to determine the nature of our relationships, our happiness and our life.
As human beings we tend to spend a lot of time in our heads and are masters at creating obstacles with limiting thoughts that can be debilitating, sabotaging the creative process as we shape our own reality. In effect, what we think about comes about.
Our world is a reflection of ourselves and as Alberto Vilodo stated so succinctly, “the nature of the cosmos is such that whatever vision you have about yourself and the world will become reality.”
To become more aware of what we are creating in our reality requires a conscious choice and a willingness to live in the present. By choosing to let go of past regrets and fears of the future we open the door to genuine mindful experience in the here and now.
The purpose of life is to seek happiness and that happiness is determined more by our perspective than by external conditions, circumstances or events. Choosing to make even a small change in our perspective can make a huge difference in the outcome of the creative life experience.
In any given moment we can choose to take either the high road or the low road with corresponding results. As Wayne Dyer said “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
Human beings truly want to be happy but few realize that it is a choice we make in every single moment. We can actually pick happiness or unhappiness depending on the perspective we choose.
Often hardest on ourselves, we can choose to stop the endless tape of self-recrimination, judgment and negativity that runs in our heads by simply deciding to become the observer of our own emotions without judgment or recrimination. Acceptance of what we discover is the key.
It was Ram Das who said “As you quiet your mind, you begin to see the nature of your own resistance more clearly, struggles, inner dialogues, the way in which you procrastinate and develop passive resistance against life. As you cultivate the witness, things change. You don’t have to change them. Things just change.”
Francis L. Ross, Pathways to Perception