They say hind sight is twenty-twenty but if you want a way to gain even more clarity try shattering your perceptions.
Stripping away our perceptions of a person or situation can change our experience of the event at its core.
Too often in life we perceive things through tiny lenses, the ones covered with the filters of our perceptions. It’s difficult to see things at face value, without applying our own perceptions to what we see. But, our perceptions are clouded with past experiences, feelings, judgments and values.
As we get older, we perceive more and see less. Even when we people watch, we like to apply our own stories to what we see. Everything we file away in the memory is tainted with the sense perceptions of the ego.
Have you ever made a rapid judgment about someone or something in your life only to find out the whole story later, which changes the dynamics of the situation entirely? Perhaps you found a phone number written on a napkin in your husband’s shirt pocket. It is easy to immediately draw conclusions from the napkin and make rash judgments. Upon discussing (most likely blowing up at him) it with your husband later, your learn that he met a long-lost childhood friend at a bar and they exchanged numbers. Immediately, your mood changes, when you realize the napkin and phone number were harmless. Depending on how long between finding the napkin and having the conversation, there could be hours of ruminating, fretting and worrying in between. Hopefully, you didn’t make any rash decisions based on only partial information… you see where I am going with this… Think of how different your day could have gone, had you not jumped to any conclusions, made any judgments based on your perceptions and just waited until you had all the information.
This is a difficult task to do accomplish sometimes, our minds are notorious for filling in the blanks of the incomplete story. It is hard not to jump to conclusions and make assumptions about something when we don’t have the entire story available. Many times however, the real story looks nothing like the one we concoct in our heads. The story the ego builds is always about us, how we are the victim to some external circumstances or someone else’s actions. The ego likes drama and will draw from drama of the past in creating this current story. The Ego uses the senses and history to build it’s drama and the truth often looks completely different.
This same scenario plays itself out over and over again. We see something or we hear something and we combine the limited information of our senses with the limited history lessons we have filed away. Each and every person on the planet has their own story. Just because I take an action, does not mean it has anything to do with you or your life or your story, I am working on my own story and it may or may not have anything to do with you.
In learning to be present in our lives, we strive for living in the present moment rather than ruminating on the past or fretting about the future. One of the ways I do this, is paying attention to the stories the ego tells me to fill in the blanks when I do not have all the details.
Did you just get cut off on the highway? Maybe the guilty driver is on the way to the hospital to kiss a loved one before they pass. Perhaps their son was just hit by a car and they are racing to the emergency room to give consent.
It is impossible to know the motivations of others. It is easy to concoct our own stories to fill in the blanks. Try taking a step back today from your stories and perhaps you will find life goes just a little bit smoother. Once you start to realize just how many time the ego fills in the blanks, you start to understand just how much undo pain and suffering we cause ourselves.
It is difficult to do, that is why they call it mindfulness practice. But awareness is the first step to making some real changes in your life that have a great impact on who you are and how you feel. It certainly has made a difference in mine! Do you struggle with this? Does your ego fill in the blanks of the story for you, usually creating a tale of some egregious act?