EYES WIDE OPEN
Oh the stories we make up and believe!
It’s a very sad truth that while you may have 20/20 vision, you could also be blind; at least to some things.
It’s actually not true that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. It may not be affecting you directly, but lack of knowledge or clarity can be a part of hurtful or unpleasant circumstances. But even more hurtful is how what we think we know hurts us.
It is important that we know what we know for sure, the reason I wrote this recent two-part blog I Know For Sure…, however it’s life changing to allow everything else we think we know be left open to new wisdom and ways of seeing our lives and the world.
So how does this library of what we think we know become a belief? It happens as we make up stories about our experiences. Kind of like this – when a child drops food on the floor, after a few times, might experience her mother’s frustration. A child quickly learns and stores as truth that some things are good, some bad, as well as what can be used to get mom’s attention. We develop our beliefs through the understanding of environment and our observations of behavior. We are hardwired to do this. It’s how we develop a database of rules and logic.
The problem is, we generalize, conform and predict; such as: If I do this, they will do that. It goes without saying that this in-born programming is quite useful in the way we grow and learn, however it is also the source of great harm. For instance, how many times have you experienced miscommunication because of faulty assumptions of another person’s motives or intent? That comes from years of developing an “auto-responder” to words, actions or behaviors we experience from those around us based on the many times we’ve experienced the same thing in the past. It’s not the same experience at all, it’s a different time, person, place and circumstance, however just like that child experiencing her mother’s frustration, we go back to that place every time someone is frustrated with us or causes us to feel that same feeling.
Neuroscience has proven the why behind this in recent years, but up to then, it was quite a mystery baffling us with why we perceive experiences in a way that are nothing close to what really happened or was intended by someone’s words or actions. All of us have been in that place where we describe an experience, but someone else that was right there with you saw and heard something totally different. Or, maybe you became offended by someone, sure you saw clearly the meaning behind it, only to find out, their meaning was so completely different than what you perceived.
We hear something, see an expression in communicating with someone, interpret voice tone or apathy and immediately begin making up a story about what’s happening, all based on our beliefs formed from past experiences.
Think about all the times you have made up your mind about an experience you or someone you know went through based on the solidified beliefs of what the words, actions or other components meant.
In reality, you experienced it blindly. You saw, heard, felt, and with eyes open wide made up your story.
What if, with our eyes wide open, we learned to interpret our experiences, each moment afresh; as if it has never happened before? What new things would we learn? Instead of pulling out yesterday’s left over salad, what if we made a fresh one straight from the garden, mixing all the ingredients creating an organic from-scratch original salad, including a dressing inspired by what the taste buds are telling you would crown the experience with delight to be enjoyed on a sunny patio?
Just like the many times I see people, out of habit, forgo the opportunity to enjoy a meal on the patio with perfect weather, I see how easy it is to get stuck in ruts, walking through life’s experiences over and over from that place of what we think we know; habits that keep us blind to the beauty, possibility and realities around us.
Your next hours, next conversation, have never happened before, so walk into it with eyes wide open instead of blinded by your thinking and auto responses and live a new experience.
Hmmm, I wonder what those wide open eyes will see?