Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My perception can change my reality

There is no reality, there is only perception. 

I know I've blogged on this before, but perhaps because I'm such a thinker and my mind resides in the world of facts, I need to ponder this again.  There is a philosophical thought experiment that asks the question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"  Every first-year student of philosophy will ponder this question.  We could go around and around debating the question with the principles of sound and the vibrations of air molecules bumping into one another and how this is a fact and it cannot be disputed.  Then someone else would counter with the anatomy of the human ear and it's ability to be stimulated by the bumping molecules and have those vibrations captured by the ear drum and stimulate the auditory nerves connecting to the brain.  The facts of how sound is captured are indisputable.  But are they?  If there are no ears can there be sound?  We could go around and around.

I perceive a tone of anger in my father's voice as he speaks to me on the phone.  Is it a reality?  Is it anger at me?  Maybe he is frustrated with my mother and her habit of repeating the same story over and over again or forgetting what she did 15 minutes ago.  Maybe he is scared at the thought of having all four of his children and their children and even a child of one of their children's children coming to visit at the same time.   (count 'em, 4 children + 4 spouses + 7 grandchildren + 1 grandchild-in-law + 1 great grandchild.  Yikes)  Then again, maybe he is talking loud and it's not anger and it has more to do with his hearing loss than emotion.  Or, there is the possibility it is anger and he woke up on the side of the bed that made him feel like having a fight that morning to get the juices flowing in his 83 year old body.  When all these possibilities (and I could probably come up with more) are considered, the possibility of my father actually being angry with me seems pretty egotistical.  Seriously, what makes me think it's all about me?

It's all perception, there is no reality.  If I perceive the situation as pleasant and beautiful, so it is.  If I perceive myself as being the least important of all in attendance, so it is.  If I perceive peace and love, so it is.  In the bible, Paul reminds us in Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned."  Three things jump out at me from this verse.  The first is that I am not to think of myself too highly.  I am a person, just like everyone else.  The second is that I am to think with sober judgment.  Sober.  Not too many cocktails after dinner.  Not too many beers on the boat.  Sober.  And, third, I have been given the grace to do these things already.  I have the holy spirit inside of me.  I just need to get myself out of the way (for one week) and just be a person of no importance.  I am dying to know if I can do this. 

I read a facebook status from a woman grieving the loss of her child, allegedly at the hands of her husband.  She wrote about people telling her to withdraw from the public.  Telling her that people will try to hurt her.  There are mean people out there that just want to make her suffer further.  Her reply was that of surprise.  She said she must be from another planet because she expects people to open their doors to her and her other children.  She expects people to comfort her and give her rest and a place to stay and be with her daughters.  She said, this world of meanness isn't her world.  She is from a different world.  She realizes she is here, in this dry, cold world, but longs to return to the lush greenness of the planet she used to reside.

My goal, next week, is to be from the planet of goodness and kindness and expect hope for the same in return.  

401.  Observing a woman with faith so strong, it cannot be denied
402.  Shaking off the stress and fear
403.  Moving forward in faith and hope
404.  Taking a step to the right to change my perspective and (with grace) change my perception, therefore, changing my reality 

Linking with Em at Imperfect Prose on Thursdays.


  1. haha be careful with expecting it...expectations have a tendency to bite...and reality is def somewhere in between our perceptions...

  2. You are right.  I may need to edit that sentence.  I am going in with no expectations on the part of any of the others.  thanks

  3. I loved how you gave us a glimpse into all the dynamics that play into our perceptions. And then we want to base our very day (or life) upon what we "feel" someone has done or not done for/to us. We definitely need to guard our hearts and minds. That's why I think keeping a focus on gratitude is so important. Maybe that's how "I" can be a "lush, green planet of goodness and kindness" to someone today too! Thanks for the encouragement, HG!

  4. It is all perception, I so agree! I don't think my mom and I have a good relationship, but during our last conversation she told me that I was the only one who understood her. Wow! What a different perception I have of our relationship!

  5. I hope it goes well for you - family issues can be so difficult.  

  6. Tara_pohlkottepressJune 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    yes. perceptions form our reality.  great thoughts!

  7. You hold a very wise paradigm for approaching the world.  Sure beats a chip on the shoulder.

  8. GIRL! this is wisdom. love it.

  9. what a thoughtful post!

  10. SouthernGalThoughtsJuly 1, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    I can't count how many times I've thought it was all about me.  The change of perspective makes it all about Him.  Thanks.

  11. FlowerpowermommaJuly 2, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    i like this. 

  12.  yep....attitudes are more important than facts...


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