Sunday 8-11-13 Perceptions

Happy Sunday!

“Perception is a mirror, not a fact.”  ~ ACIM Lesson 304
Very early in this week I knew I would be writing about perception – how we take the things we see and interpret them in our own minds to believe they are real and fact.
At the beginning of this week I started reading Iyanla Vanzant’s book “Peace from Broken Pieces”.  Early in the book she tells on how she was compelled to write this book about her life experiences to help her to release the pain of her past and the pain following the death of her daughter.  She struggled within herself with writing her life story down as she suffered abuse, rape, and abandonment in her childhood and had been taught by her family pathology never to speak of these things; if she spoke of them she would have to tell about what her family members had done to her.  Realizing she would never be able to move past the pain and live a true, authentic life, she wrote the book.  She said that in writing the book she was conveying her own perception of the events.  In the book she tells how she perceived the events and the people when she was a child and how she, as an adult, is now able to perceive the events and the people to work through her healing.
On Tuesday I listened to a Caroline Myss lecture and in her opening she spoke about how she no longer was going to be “politically correct” and keep sacred terms and behavior out of her teachings.  She would speak of God and Grace, and end her lessons with prayer, something she had always avoided so as to not be ridiculed or portrayed as trying to force religion on people.  She said, in her Sacred warrior tone, that if someone finds offence in what she says, that it is in their own minds.
I understood what both of these wonderful wise women were saying.  We all perceive the world differently based on our state of mind as we evaluate the information we receive.
I knew for sure my lesson of the week to be perception when I recognized my own mis-perceptions during an incident at work.  I was in a staff meeting and the boss was telling us that 4 field vehicles would be replaced this year.  He named the ones to get retired and the list did not include the vehicle used by my friend C.  C. is a very quiet and tolerant person so I decided to speak up for him as I knew he had the oldest vehicle in the office and that it had problems.  I spoke up and had the group laughing as I told of the many issues with the vehicle that I had experienced when I had driven it.  To my surprise C. started making excuses for the truck.  I suddenly realized that he loved the thing. I had always thought that he saw the vehicle as I did, as old and un-safe.  Many times I had said to him to ask for a new vehicle and had assumed that he didn’t because he didn’t want to be a bother or that he did and his request was rejected.
In the meeting I closed my mouth and separated my self from the issue. In life, many people would continue to force their opinion just to avoid looking as though they were mistaken.   It doesn’t really matter if my perception was wrong or right about the vehicle as my intention was to speak up for my friend and I had assumed his position was the same as mine – I was wrong.  Things are fine with me and C. and I have had a good laugh several times this week telling the story, it is just such a simple example of how we believe our own perception to be fact.
My lesson on perception was fully realized on Thursday reading my daily ACIM Lesson 304.  The quote I used at the top, “Perception is a mirror, not a fact”, goes onto say “And what I look on is my state of mind, reflected outward.”
This quote says for me that our perception of the events of our life is swayed by our state of mind.  If we live in fear and negativity, always expecting the worst from ourselves and from life, then we will see situations as fearful and negative.  We are to choose to see through the eyes of Love – see the positive and that is what will be received.
This world that we live in brings so much information to us through our five senses.  There are those of us that rely on our vision, those of us that listen well, those that are sensitive to smell, those who touch everything, and those who avoid touch.  There is so much information coming in and we are able to just grasp and hold on to a few bits of it.  What we retain is usually the bits that our minds can relate to our previous experiences.  We all know that we have different abilities but we still go through life thinking that everyone’s perception is the same as our own.  And, when others have ideas that are different from ours, then we label them as stupid and wrong.
It is with a glad heart that I accept this lesson and know that I can accept the perceptions of my own mind and those of others more lightly.  What is significant and important can turn meaningless with a simple change of perspective.
I choose to view others with compassion.
I choose to ease up on myself and know that I will make mistakes.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything.  What we think we become.” ~ The Buddha

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