Perception, in my experience, has never, ever resembled truth. How many times have I been angry with my mother or a friend, or even a partner, because of my perception of a certain situation? Too many to count. Because at the time I’m 100% certain I’m right. Based on feelings, which are subjective, right? They make mistakes. Have you ever thought you saw something, felt utterly hopeless and then realised your eyes had mislead you? I can’t begin to count the arguments I’ve had because of what I hear in someone’s voice, their tone perhaps- or even in words they haven’t actually said.
Due to my narrow perspective, I find it terribly easy to find injustices. I tend to have an “It’s not fair” attitude that I forgot to leave behind with my childhood. I can become outraged at the slightest thing, things which don’t even make sense to be angry about. Like coming down for breakfast and finding there’s no milk in the fridge. Or traffic. Or when public transport is late. Having to pay so much for a taxi. When fruit goes mouldy too quickly. Things running out of battery. When it’s too cold… when it’s too hot.
As we grow older we’re able to open our minds, broaden our perspective. Move past the conceptional level of feelings, feelings based on our senses, to the cognitive level. The truth. We all have that one wise person in our life, the one you can go to with almost any problem (an issue at work, a fall out with your best friend, problems in the bedroom… etc) and after speaking to them you see everything in a whole new light. You see the other side of the story. Maybe you’ve even been that wise person for someone else? Always giving great advice, always calming them down.
By being objective we become wise. We listen to what this person says has happened, what they saw, perhaps something they thought they heard, and how they feel about it. We ask a few questions. When it becomes clear that they haven’t take anything else into consideration before forming their opinion, we start to make those considerations for them. “Ah”, they say, “Well I didn’t think about that.”. “Do you think she did it unintentionally?”, “Well if he’s jealous why didn’t he just say?”, “Mmm I hadn’t thought about that.” and then
Through an objective person we’re able to calm down, see the whole story, and just like that our perceptive changes. We might stick with our original thoughts (especially if we are in the right) but we see there’s more to it now. Our perspective widens.
In India it was easy to find faults in everything, it being such a different country to our own. Yet lecturers, professors, Indian friends, they all told us it’s about perception. I’d ask someone, “Aren’t you so annoyed about X?”, and they’d shrug, say “It’s all about perception!” smile and walk off. It got me thinking that my perspective sucks.
Why can’t I be the wise person I can go to when facing a difficulty? Yoga teaches us that everything we need to be happy and complete is within ourselves. Wouldn’t that just make me a crazy person? Pacing around, repeating the story to myself 100 times until I saw differently? But I would see differently eventually. I’d only then have to repeat it 50 times, then 20, then only a few. After enough practice I’d be able to quiet my senses in the very moment. I’d listen more instead of yapping on and on and on making what actually happened and what I think happened merge into one.
This will be hard work, just as maintaining my morning yoga practice has been and remembering to wash my vegetables, but I’m going to work for it. I don’t want to live my whole life with a little mind. How do you tackle perception? Any tips on broadening ones perspective?
Have a glorious week,