Monday, October 19, 2009

Thoughts aren't reality

I'm really beginning to understand how much perception influences a person's experience of reality.  When I say perception I mean a person's thoughts, feelings, interpretations, beliefs, assumptions, past experiences, etc. 

In his book "The Joy of Living" Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche points out one way our perceptions shape our reality:

"The more deeply we believe something is true the more likely it will become true in terms of our experience.  If we believe we are weak and incompetent no matter what the reality is we will experience ourselves as weak and incompetent."

What lesson can we take from this?  One thing I'm learning to do is to question my perceptions.  When I catch myself reacting to something someone else does I look for the assumption I've made that's caused this reaction.  Usually, I've taking something personally, assuming, "He did that because he doesn't care about me," or "She's so inconsiderate.  She doesn't even think about my feelings!"  Once I've identified the assumption I ask myself, "Is there another way of looking at the situation?"  Almost invariably there is.  For practically any given situation there is more than one way to look at it.  I might not know which of these ways of viewing the situation is "correct" but I recognize that my original interpretation of the event might be inaccurate.  This prevents me from acting (or overreacting) on impulse.

1 comment:

  1. My zen teacher used to say "don't believe a single thing". Now, years later, delving into Tibetan meditations looking directly at the mind, that statement has taken on deeper meaning. I read Yongey Mingyur's book too, and my zen practice is refreshed by the clarity of meditation instruction known as mahamudra. It's funny how life goes... When I was younger, my mind was hungry for stuff to chew on and I devoured books on zen, sitting meditation with that same mind. Now my mind has entered a state of "book-rebellion", focusing on meditation all the time, everywhere. These blog posts are wonderful- like meditation bells bringing us back.


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