- Religion and Philosophy
The Cost of Reflection - 2nd conversation
Does Peering Equal Seeing?
Our lives are far too often out of kilter with our deepest felt aspirations as individuals and as communities.
One main reason:
When looking through the clear glass of a window, we expect to see what is behind the pane i.e. the setting of a room, maybe a bouquet on the window sill, the indicators of an office or a boutique.
We expect to see identifiable markers from which to derive clues as to the type and tone of the activities held behind that glass window.
Sometimes, because of the glare and the reflection of outside objects in that glass, we can only perceive a hint of the inside setting. When the choice is ours, it is usually our perception of what goes on inside, behind the glass window, that entices us inside - or repels us.
As it is, we do not see the reflected objects clearly, not as they truly are and we are unable to perceive where that window leads.
When we peer at a window pane and only see a skewed reflection of what is outside like the sky, cars parked, facades or trees or from across the street, we simply cannot see what is ‘inside’.
In a way, we ‘see’ as if, aliens beamed down from planet X, we failed to understand that the facades and the trees reflected in a window were not ... real facades, not real trees. We ‘see’ as if we did not understand that, to know what really is behind the glass, we needed to dare a closer look - close enough to peer with intent and with an open mind.
But, then, as when peering inside Pandora’s box … what was intended as an attempt at genuine closeness might bring up any number of ‘truths’ or eye-opening secrets on both sides - issues that each might prefer to keep ‘private’ because too difficult to unwrap. Don’t rock the boat - let sleeping dogs lie are clichés we often follow to tacitly remain on the outside, wondering about what we do not see.
How well do we really, really know those closest to us?
How much do we really, really want to know about their secret emotional nooks and crannies?
Whether we look at a stranger and ‘see’ an enemy or whether we look at a colleague and ‘see’ a slacker or whether we look at a loved one and ‘see’ hurtful tendencies, we only ever ‘see’ a glitchy decoding, an accumulation of impressions generated by our own senses - by our own mindset, the real observer.
We do not ‘see’ the person within their true, inner, circumstances.
We do not ‘see’ their thoughts.
We do not ‘see’ their fears.
We do not ‘see’ their love.
The eye of the beholder is a very real ‘organ’- a damning one.
More often than we realise, 'the eye of the beholder' is our nemesis.
Fuzzy-Eyed But Not Responsible?
Human - lyrics - Rory Graham, Jamie Hartman – 2016
Take a look in the mirror And what do you see Do you see it clearer Or are you deceived In what you believe 'Cause I'm only human after all You're only human after all Don't put the blame on me
Reality Check: all that we perceive about things and about the other are interpreted according to the data already in our mind - processed not through our soul but through the trail of hotspots previously ignited in our neural web.
Instead of being aware and simply witnessing the moment, as it enfolds in front of our eyes, we create our own subtext at our own peril.
Bottom line: no matter how clearly we think we understand where the ‘other is coming from,’ our understanding can never be more than an impression – our interpretation of what is called Reality.
This sort of double-dummy act is exposed as soon as, at least, one of the parties involved feels compelled to say: ‘This is not what I meant at all.’ Or ‘How could you think I would say/do such a thing?' Or ‘Don’t put words in my mouth!’ Or ‘This is you thinking that, not me.’
This fuzzy process is in no way different from the one that kicks in when we experience moments in any unfamiliar setting. For example, from time spent exploring our unfamiliar areas of our workplace, having dinner with a new group of acquaintances, spending a week with a host family or trekking abroad, we all bring back snapshots of perceptions as reflected to us and internalised by us.
Such fractured reflections range from the perceived appeal [or lack of appeal] of the locations in question, which will depend as much on the setting and the weather as on the conversations had, as on our mood at the time.
Our reflections will depend, too, on the perceived nature of the persons being welcoming - or not - which is often based on one particular encounter internalised as particularly meaningful - either in a negative or a positive way.
Basically, our perception of any interaction and of the time spent anywhere will depend entirely on how ‘happy’ our brain was during that time.
Churning the Past
As we go about our day-to-day, we merely perceive one and all humans - nature, flora or fauna - as they are, as they stand, as they speak, as they make their sounds, as they change colours, as they appear to us in the short moment we ‘see’ them.
Our feelings are generated from thoughts that, themselves, are generated by impressions of moments that have long ago ceased to exist in the state in which we have experienced them.
Our mind fires up fragments of these past impressions revolving around whichever of our baseline worry is currently activated. Though our body eats and sleeps in the present, our psyche is churning the past.
Turn 30 and ... done?
Statistics show that a great many of us begin each new day with throbbing to the tune of emotion of stress-based thoughts. Neuroscience tells us that, freakishly, it is our emotional state that, by the time we reach our late 30s, has shaped and defined our persona.
Of course, our ego which leads us to believe we are acting out of Free Will had a great part to play in that wiring.
In any case, this suggests a painful reality: unless we have committed ourselves to an internal/mental/emotional make-over, though our bodies have aged, though the dollars at the bank might show some growth, our thoughts, therefore our emotions, therefore our overall circumstances, are still jumping to the same tunes.
Out of sight But Not Out
Reality check: whether we are interested in evolving by a committed effort to rewire our neuronal web or by an equally committed effort to raise our level of equanimity, the bottom line is the same: the way we think turns into the way we feel which turns into the way we speak, act - or remain inactive - which invariably creates rippled distortions.
These ripples spread out from the drop point of each action/inaction and, from that point on, the amplitude of each ripple is proportionate to its energy. Some ripples have a short life span. Others, though invisible to us, will keep rippling outward affecting aspects of our circumstances – affecting our karma.
Separately and collectively, worldwide, as male or female, young or not so young, living way above the poverty line or below, bathed in the limelight or obscurity, active or passive, our lives are still far too often out of kilter with our deepest felt aspirations as individuals and as communities.
Thus, some of the key elements of our cultural/societal mores that most graphically reflect the energetic imbalance within Man and within Woman will be revisited in some upcoming HubPages 'Conversations'.
They will be revisited from different angles because they interlace over and under or cut across another and yet another thread – from our ancient past to our most immediate present moment.
Reality check: there is only one ‘different’ type of rethinking with which to begin repairs of our heart and psyche, the one, essential first step towards an upgrade of our karmic energies – a rethinking of what it really-really should mean to ‘act as a man’ and to ‘act as a woman’.
However, just as the Tai chi, Yin and Yang symbol illustrates how forces that seem opposite to each other do, in fact, complement each other - and carry within a bit of the other - it is safe to accept that the gender-based energies [ah, yes, they are] of Woman and Man of all ages have been designed to complement each other - all the way from eons back.
It is probably a truism to say that Two working as one achieve greater power and depth in what needs to be done than two working as …two - each independently of the other – no differently than two persons in a true love connection sense how well they complement each other - as totally as soul mates - in all aspects of their lives.
Beyond the energy field of our aura, our true karmic energy - our core energy - our metaphoric yin or our metaphoric yang, depending - has been designed so as to enable each of us, man, woman and child, to develop our true inner nature and to work, love and play from the centre of this energy – that is, from the centre of our authentic inner being.
It makes sense to shrink this down to something catchy like: Do not ignore your core.
Thing is, a major shift in our true energies will not happen in the lifetime of Baby Boomers, too late - that much is clear. Nor is it likely to happen within the lifespan of the Millennial generation but … maybe we - and they - can begin paving the way for the most immediate next generations, that of their children and grandchildren.
Their survival depends on this.