Sunday, August 22, 2010

THE MIND’S GAME - PERCEPTION

THE MIND’S GAME - PERCEPTION

We have often heard “it is how we perceive this world that makes a difference to our lives”. If we stand up; and look around, we perceive our earth as flat and crowded. But for an astronaut, the earth looks round, blue and serene. An optimist will always say a cup is half full. But a pessimist may connote it as half empty. In some religion it is a custom to laugh during bereavement, while in others they lament. It is how we perceive that determines our course of action. For the same thing, there can be myriad views. For the same word there can be innumerable meanings. Why ? Because people are different and they perceive things differently.

Just imagine an accident scene, the wounded will be worried about their health, the doctor will be worried about the patients, the policemen will be worried about the traffic and general order, the insurance man will be interested only in the vehicle and an onlooker will be interested in the general play of events. The incident is therefore skewed in favour of their perceived interests

Perception paves the way for creativity. If we are able to perceive things outside the four walls of our constrained thinking, then it propitiates creativity. A little kid was once asked to draw a snake. He did it but it looked like a hat. When questioned he confessed that the snake which he had drawn had swallowed an elephant and it is now lying in the middle of the snake’s stomach. There is no dearth to our imagination and there is no limit to our dreams.
There is a famous Zen story which goes like this. Every time a loaf of bread falls down, it falls with the buttered side up. In one town it so happened that the loaf fell down on its buttered side. The petrified superstitious crowd ran to the master and blurted the whole story. The master went into silence . After sometime he addressed the anxious gathering like this – “Don’t worry. The butter has been applied on the wrong side”

The world that we see around is a reflection of us. We can make it colourful if we want to or malign it with our darkest thoughts. It is how we perceive the world that determines our well being. If we through stones and dirt, we will be pelted with the same. But if we through flowers, we will be showered with the same.

Jalaludin Rumi, the great Sufi mystic once said – “When you see a big white cloth with a black dot, what do you see ? If you focus on the black dot, that is things which you lack, then it begins to look much bigger than it actually is. But if we keep looking only at the white part, which depicts things which we have, it fills us with an inner peace.” This life avowing positive energy is vital to permeate our body, soul and mind and usher in serenity and tranquility. This attitude towards life will greatly help in transforming us by prompting our latent forces and will help us to tread the path of righteousness.

The great Greek Philosopher Epictetus once rightly said: - “Men are not disturbed by things, but the view they take of things “ – By perceiving things in the right manner, we can view the world though the prism of wonderment and happiness and relish the clandestine grandeur of life.
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