The Principle of Perception
Everything is energy. Energy is only energy, until perception is placed upon it. For instance, two women could each experience sexual relations with the same man. Every caress, every word, every aspect of the encounter could be identical toward each woman, and yet, one woman could perceive the encounter as "making love" while the other could perceive it as rape. Even the same two people, given their perception of each other, could make love on one occasion, and feel raped on another.
Perception is, in a nutshell, our beliefs based on our experience. The way we perceive our present-day world is based on how our world has been perceived in the past, and the meanings we put on those experiences are based on that perception.
The images our mind uses for comparison are perceptions stored in memory. When those images are traumatic memories, they have priority over all others because those memories are associated with survival. They are highly distorted by pain, so the filtering (perceptions) may become distorted as well.
Recognizing this ability we have to create a current counterfeit of what we perceived in the past helps us to understand our current self-deceptions. We can greatly facilitate our own growth by avoiding detachments to our flawed perceptions and letting go of addictive behaviors based upon these perceptions.
There is no right or wrong in perception. Perception simply "is"! It is made up of illusion and reality. Illusion is defined as anything that is temporary in nature, that was thought up by man, and had a perception placed upon it. When two or more people agree on this illusion, it then becomes their reality.
Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires. This is especially important to remember in the way we perceive others. Any time we judge another, we are really judging those aspects of ourselves. It is impossible to see something in someone else unless we perceive it first in ourselves on some level of experience.
This principle works both ways, of course. I have taken personal joy and gratification from knowing that, as I admire any trait in another, I can then claim that trait as my own. This idea sustains and encourages me as I realize how many people I love and admire, and realize that in each such instance, I am indeed, looking in the mirror!
Perceptions form the basis of our opinions, our position in an argument, the quality of our relationships, our feelings, and even our quality of life. Just because we experience the world in a certain way does not mean that the world actually exists that way. Paying attention to our perceptions is instrumental in making positive life changes. By perceiving our experiences differently, we tend to think, feel, and do things differently.
Experience results from our perceptions, which are filtered through such factors as our history, culture, values, desire, education and awareness. Given our perceptions and filtering system, we begin to have a clearer understanding of why people struggle with understanding reality.
Is it any wonder that disagreements between individuals (indeed, disagreements within ourselves) occur as each relies on his or her own perceptions of reality while locking out other options. Polarizations within or without cause conflict that can only be resolved as we seek to understand the noble intent and perceptions of one another. For instance, we have all experienced inabilities to do something we know we "ought" to do, or even something we really want to do, because of inner conflicts which will not be denied. Denial is never the answer. Understanding, and reframing is what works.
Changing perspective, or viewing things from a different view, enables us to discover something that then appears strikingly obvious. "Reframing," is the process of viewing the same situation from different perspectives, and can be a powerful tool for enhancing awareness and understanding. Life experiences, whether at work or home, present many reframing opportunities. We can discover a whole new world when we are open to learning. When we are willing to move off our position, and be receptive to viewing things from a different perspective, our perceptions of our world will be different. Consider the possibility that if we accept the level of love offered from others and from ourselves, we would have a different view.
It is my belief and experience that there are two kinds of people in the world – those you love, and those you don’t understand. Making the effort to see from another’s (or our own buried) perspectives opens the doors to understanding, and therefore, greater ability to love and be loved.