This article is about perception. Or if you like, a way of seeing. It is about how we, as individuals, see the other people in our lives, the places we visit and the events that come to us for our experience and learning.
There are two very important areas of seeing. The first is the way we see ourselves. The second is how we see others seeing us – in other words the way we perceive that others are perceiving us. It is here that we make our biggest misperceptions. It is in our interaction with others that provides some of the best possibilities for our evolution.
Everyone has a unique perception of their world. For example, I do not, and cannot, perceive the world in the same way my partner June does. Likewise she cannot see the world in the way I do. There are as many worlds as there are beings that have an awareness and consciousness. Each has a unique perception that is coloured by their experiences, upbringing and the particular society in which they are born and grow. Therefore, as we are the sum of our experiences so too is our perception of the world.
We communicate with our environment by the use of our senses. These provide us with the information we need in order to understand the world around us. These senses are physical in nature and are achieved by millions upon millions of tiny cells that cover the whole of the body. The cells respond to the physical stimuli they receive from the outside world and, together with the brain, help us to interpret what is in that world, our world.
The retina of eye is constructed from cells that are capable of responding to light. Along the ear canal, millions of tiny hairs respond to movement in the cochlea fluid which in turn is stirred by changes in air pressure vibrating the eardrum. The senses of taste, smell and touch operate in much the same way.
As each cell reacts to the stimuli it is designed to respond, it generates tiny electrical signals that move along the nerve fibres to be collected at the brain. The brain then has the difficult task of interpreting this vast array of signals to provide us with the picture that we see, feel, hear, smell and taste. It is always asked, does an echo exist if no one is there to hear it? The answer is no. The echo is merely an interpretation the brain gives to a series of changes in air pressure.
During this journey called Life, we grow from embryos to infants to children to adults moving from event to event, situation to situation, person to person. Sometimes we will stall over a particular circumstance or event that throws us into turmoil creating pain and anguish, always some anger and a myriad of other emotions that we perceive as positive or negative.
These events can appear to us like the proverbial Sword of Damocles, but in reality, our reality, they provide us with the greatest opportunities for the transformation of us as individuals, and ultimately, society as a whole. We cannot change society however, until we realise that we can only do this by first being willing to change ourselves. Change is probably the most powerful force in our Universe, for without it there would be no evolution. Change is also the biggest fear that everyone has to face.
If we have the courage to confront our fears about change by learning to face them and move through them, we can overcome all that is presented to us. By confronting our fears we can learn to perceive these myriad of situations in a very different light. Thus, if we choose to view life as a series of learning experiences rather than a series of obstacles in our path, we can and will grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually and find and cultivate many of the undiscovered resources inside ourselves. Nurturing these resources will assist us in many ways in confronting the tasks that we will continue to meet. The more resources we have at our disposal the easier it becomes to deal with what is presented to us.
I will try convey this article in a fairly logical fashion but may need to refer to a topic not yet covered. Please go with it. When talking to people, I have found it impossible to speak about one topic without mentioning the others. This is necessary because of the circularity of the subject matter, of life and of understanding.
The words imparted here come from the perception I have of myself and of those around me built over the decades of learning and experience. The words may resonate with you on some deep fundamental level or you may not understand them at all. Which ever way you choose to see my words, remember that they are my words and it is essentially my truth as I see it. Look at them, toy with them, and if they agree with your current belief systems, accept them. If they are meaningless or disagree with your current beliefs, then put them to one side for the moment and return to them when you feel urge to do so. I am merely planting words in your consciousness as seeds ready to be nurtured and watered by you.
Subjectivity, seeing, reality, words, beliefs, emotion, feelings, childhood, and a host of other topics are all tied in with our perception. Because perception is such an amorphous mass, and by its very nature, is subjective, it is a difficult subject to write about. Since it is circular in form and structure, to present it in any particular order may prove to be a challenging task, not only for me as the writer, but for those who choose to read it.
Since being drawn to the spiritual path in 1994 through five particularly challenging events, I have evolved and changed and transformed, gained so much and lost so little, I am simply not the same person I used to be.
Before 1994 I spent many an hour and many a day simply resisting those events and situations that I perceived to be difficult, working my way around them rather than being willing to face them head on. Post 1994 I made the choice to now face anything that is presented to me as an opportunity to grow and to learn new things. I have learnt that there are many resources inside oneself that can assist us in our process of evolution. We find these by being challenged.