By Deb Avery
The new 3-D street art that is popping up in the cities is amazingly beautiful.
We take our photos standing next to the edge of an abyss, a large wild animal or even in an alien landscape. It’s very realistic—that is until you shift positions, or walk out past that precipice into open space. And instead of falling, you find yourself still on a solid surface. Your body and mind may take a few seconds to register this fact, and you may go through the motions of free fall, even though your feet never leave the ground.
Perspective is everything.
It shapes what we see, who we are and what we believe. It can literally change our world and I don’t know of anything else that has such tremendous potential.
If you do not think this is true, imagine the last time you took something the “wrong way” that someone close to you said. You were hurt, angry, afraid. All those terrible emotions caused you to do or say something in return to hurt the person who hurt you.
Now, imagine your surprise when you found out that this person, whom you have just hurt, did not mean what you thought they did. It was simply your perceptions of life up to this point causing you to misunderstand what that person was trying to say. You perceived one thing, they meant something else.
But, your words or deeds are already said or done. You can’t take them back.
Depending on the situation, this could bring about a big change in your relationship—for better or worse.
These are only two examples of how perception causes us to react to situations because of preconceived notions and illusions. Our views and beliefs shape our world. The astounding thing is, a lot of what we believe and perceive is not even coming from our own minds, but from past experiences, the media, TV and family beliefs/traditions.
All of us, as human beings, pretty much see and hear the same things. Yet one in three will perceive things differently from you. Sometimes it’s our beliefs that cloud our judgment, even if those beliefs are false.
How many people have had cosmetic surgery only to be disappointed by the results? They still see the perceived imperfections even after they are gone. Or how about someone who has been referred to as not attractive for most of their formative years, or ridiculed about a physical imperfection that changed as they grew older?
It will be very difficult for these people to ever think of themselves differently as adults. This will be true no matter if the comments and/or actions were cruel or rude, or said in a teasing manner. It is very difficult to change our views of something that has been ingrained into our psyches for a certain length of time.
Wouldn’t it be great to wipe our minds clear of our long held perceptions and see life in it’s true essence?
It can be done. It takes re-wiring our brains and this can be difficult, but it can also be life altering and open up a whole new world for us. We can be like children once again, seeing everything as if for the first time. It takes work—not the kind of work that requires rolling our sleeves up, but mind work.
The best way I have learned to overcome some deeply held, but false perceptions, is through meditation. It is in the search within ourselves that we find the truth. It is in sitting with difficult emotions and learning to heal the scars from the past that we realize our views of self and the world are not written in stone. Indeed, they are as flexible as the tall grasses swaying in the wind.
The more we sit with our thoughts and beliefs—the more we question the truth—the easier it becomes to cleanse our windows of perception and see more clearly.
The clearer we see ourselves and the world, the better able we are to live a life of peace, joy and compassion.
Deb Avery lives in the Southern United States with her animals, surrounded by mighty oaks and woodlands. Nature is her teacher. She is an avid gardener, reader of books, lover of all beings and also has been referred to as a “bit of a weird one,” which she takes as a compliment. Having lived in many diverse places, including several years abroad, she has learned first hand that deep inside we are all one and the same. Her goal is to reach out to others who feel different, lonely, afraid and misunderstood. She feels that if one person is helped by something she has written, then that in itself is more than reason enough to write.
Editor: Dana Gornall