A couple of days ago, as I was following the 21 days meditation program offered by two of today’s great teachers: Oprah and Deepak Chopra, the main topic of the meditation was about perception. On the same day, my toastmasters’ club topic of the day was perception. At the same time, I received an email discussing the difference in people’s perception of the same things. Talk about coincidence, or synchronicity I believe. When the same word comes up to me like this, I know I am called to pay attention.
My preferred definition of the word perception is “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression”. It took me years until I understood that we are all different, and therefore, we see things differently. So the same event can happen in front of two people and their “perception” of it is completely different. The amazing thing is that each of the two people will be totally convinced that their way of seeing the event is the only absolute truth!
Let me give you an example: two people look at a picture of a middle-aged man and a teenage girl hugging each other. One will see a father and a daughter. This may make him think of his own relationship with his daughter or mother, and may trigger different emotions depending on his life. He may think that he does not hug his daughter enough and soon she will go on with her life and he will have missed the chance. Or he may think that this man is a too soft and is not supposed to hug his daughter. The second person will see a romantic relationship between an older man and a younger girl. He may be repulsed by the idea, or may give the thumbs up to the man who was able to have a younger girlfriend.
Therefore, it is all about our own interpretation of all that we come across. We have our own story (which, by the way, is not the absolute truth) and we project it on everything we see, and we are convinced that we are right and the others are wrong, because they do not see things the same way we do.
So what is the importance of learning about perception? From my point of view, it is very awakening to understand that nothing is absolute. There are many ways of looking at things. And therefore, we have to be wise enough to try to see things differently and to open up to other people’s ideas. This has taken me a long time to understand and certainly made me calmer in any debate or conversation.
But most importantly, if we try to have a different interpretation of a situation, we will actually be able to have a different outcome. This means, if a terrible thing happens to us, we may always see the good side, or the reason why this happened to us. For example, a few years ago, I have had a car accident and it was a very bad experience, and it took a lot of actions to handle the actual accident, the phone calls to the insurance company and the garage, but the outcome was that I had a replacement car for 3 weeks until my car was fixed. The replacement car was a much bigger fully loaded upgraded car which was a pleasure to drive and my family and I had so much fun with it and it was all for free.
I have heard so many times Dr Wayne Dyer saying in his lectures: “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change”
I invite you to open up and try to see your life differently, this may heal a lot of childhood wounds, grudges against family member, fights with old friends, or problems at work. The least outcome may be feeling at peace with yourself and your beautiful purposeful life!