Perceiving Life Through A Biased Filter
“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” — Anonymous
How are you coping at the moment? Are you dealing with any problems? What do you think are the lessons contained within your difficulties? What would it take to improve your situation? Are you willing to consider it from a different perspective? I’m asking a lot of questions, since these are the kinds of questions we must ask ourselves to overcome our difficulties. Many people feel overpowered because they believe life is being imposed upon them instead of working out for them.
I know it may not always look that way, mainly because we look at our difficulties through a distorted lens. By this, I mean our negativity bias gets in the way and we misrepresent a situation, perhaps even exaggerating it, instead of examining it carefully. For that reason, journaling can be a powerful tool to become acquainted with our thoughts and emotions when life does not go our way.
Life is precious, yet it can be equally volatile. This is apparent through the wars that dominated humankind throughout history, the inhospitable conditions in third world countries, and unpredictable climate patterns. This doesn’t mean mother nature is unforgiving, because that is perceiving life through a biased filter. While we may not fully understand why unfortunate things happen, it is because we are limited in our understanding that surrounds it.
Life Responds To Our Level Of Consciousness
“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.” — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
We mustn’t focus on our difficulties but acknowledge them so we can process them without getting bogged down in negativity. Otherwise, we are likely to exaggerate our problems instead of recognizing life is evolving as it should. Therefore, our perception creates a color palette in which we paint the canvas of our life. This is a blank canvas and we get to decide the texture and tone of the painting. It is why life is a series of masterpieces, constantly developing and taking on form. For example, your perception of life in your earlier years will differ decades later. Hopefully, you will have experienced unique conditions to form your own beliefs.
We can observe life as a feedback loop based on our level of consciousness and personal growth. As our consciousness expands, our perception changes to correspond with our new understanding. I trust you get the sense that your life is not carved in stone but open to change, based on the degree of your personal growth. It is worth understanding this idea because we mustn’t succumb to our difficulties but see them as phases of expansion throughout our life.
Similarly, we ought to be open to new experiences and not label situations as good or bad. Otherwise, we withhold the goodness the universe is trying to express through us. As an example, what may appear as an unpleasant situation can be disguised as a blessing. It is difficult to judge a situation based on appearances alone because things aren’t always what they seem. Life has an unexplained way of developing, and our finite minds are limited in how they perceive situations. It is simply the nature of our biology to see things based on our conditioning.
We must give it time to unfold and not be convinced life is conspiring against us. This is because life is reflecting our level of awareness on any occasion. What you hold in your mind and heart is echoed back via your reality. The American mystic Neville Goddard echoed this idea when he wrote: “The world is a mirror, forever reflecting what you are doing, within yourself.”
Spectators In This Game Of Life
“To become a spectator of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life.” — Oscar Wilde
To allow life to touch us intimately, we must not let the negativity of the world consume us. Negativity is broadcast into our living rooms day and night. Social media has become an outlet for moral outrage. People hide behind screens to voice their disapproval at governments, institutions, celebrities, and anyone who does not conform to their beliefs. If we buy into this narrative, we are convinced life is chaotic and senseless. This is not the absolute truth because we don’t know all the details to form an honest opinion. In most instances, we are given a glimpse of the information and form incomplete judgements.
For every negative news event, there are thousands of positive events we never hear about. Although we may not know why bad things happen, we can take comfort in the knowledge there is a mysterious power orchestrating the process of life, within the container of a greater plan. The greater plan I speak of may be a cosmic or worldly process, or it may be a greater plan according to your life’s journey.
In some respects, we are spectators in this game of life, and while we have more power than we realize, we are still at the mercy of life’s forces. But this needn’t deter us from living a meaningful life. We can take comfort in that the key to our kingdom lies within our hands and we can still co-create our life based on uncertainty.
The Obstacle Is The Way
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” — Molière
With this in mind, I invite you to return to the opening questions in the first paragraph. If you keep a journal, answer the questions as journal prompts. If you don’t have a journal, write your answers on your smartphone or computer. Try to get a genuine sense of the issue you’re grappling with. Put aside your biases and consider the situation with an open mind. Don’t be swayed by your opinion alone, because if you asked five people about your situation, you would undoubtedly get five different answers.
There could be a valuable clue contained within your problem that you may be missing. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said: “The obstacle is the way.” It requires unearthing the answers inside of you and keeping an open mind to what comes forth. Life can be a wonderful experience, yet it can be harsh and unforgiving. It doesn’t mean it is any of these things, but what we choose to give our attention to that shapes our destiny.