At the end of November, I briefly explored ATTACHMENT, the first section of my second book in the “K.I.S.S. Happiness Is Easy.., Series”. Today, I want to dig into PERCEPTION, the second section of “Stop APE-ing Around” (Attachment, Perception, Expectation = APE). Perception is the quieter one of the three and yet it is profoundly life impacting, if not actually more due to its under the radar existence.
Let’s start out by looking at the dictionary definition of this powerful little word:
1. the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
2. the state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses.
3. a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression
Oh my, see what I mean. Ten little letters that pack an intense punch! Perception rules my moment to moment experiences through my senses and awareness, then it comes back around to “limit” or “expand” my understanding, interpretation, impression and or regard for something. Hmmm…might not be talked about very much, but can you now see how it is the spider that builds the web of Attachment and Expectation?
Let’s think about this a bit and go back in time. You are born with no Attachments as we previously discussed and then the journey of life helps you to build many Attachments. How do we acquire those Attachments, through our experiences and teachings? If that is the case, then Perception is the foundation for our Attachments, for as we engage in life we are constantly digesting through our senses (#1 above), creating an interpretation (#3 above) that we then decide to own or belief. It will likely stay stuck or Attached based on our decision of “what it means to us; our perception” unless something comes along to change it or make us look at it again.
To put this into simple and complex examples –
- As a baby/child I was blessed to be lovingly cared for, thus, being held and touched gave me a sense of comfort, safety, security. Now, how would I feel about touch if I had been neglected and or abused as a baby/child, what would my perception be?
- Hypothetical example – I am a child growing up with parents who have no judgments about race or sexuality, thus I grow up with the perceptional experience that all people are “equal”. How would my perception differ, if I grew up with parents who hated blacks and homosexuals?
- I am a student who is popular in school, learning comes easy and I am well liked by the teachers and staff – what do you think my perception of learning and schools is? Now, I am a kid who is bullied, struggles with learning, and has very few friends – what is my perception now?
- I go to a party with a friend, I meet lots of new people, everyone is nice and welcoming – what is my perception of this party? The other friend who came with us, met a guy who wouldn’t leave her alone, when she asked him to stop following her around, he became verbally abusive – how is she going to feel/perceive the party? Same party – two very different perceptions.
- Depending on where you live in the world, I am going to bet that your perception about “who is attractive” differs from mine.
Perceptions are being formulated in all our moments, for even when we are sleeping, we are in a dream perception or subconscious experience. If you wake to a sound (sense), where do you go in your thoughts? Fear? Curiosity? How does your past experience or societal teachings impact your reaction when you are wakened by a sudden sound? This reaction is based upon your perceptional sensing (#1 above) and then, what meaning (#3 above) you give it.
Oh, I could go on and on, however, this is a blog entry, not a book, so I shall try to summarize. Perceptions are the glorious experiences that we Attach meaning to, they help us to formulate what we do or don’t want. They impact how we see the world around us, for they are the little root causes to how we judge and interpret meaning. They are sometimes sneaky, while at other times overtly in your face. The gift I have received by creating awareness around perception for myself, is beginning to look at them with inquiry. Is a perception I created around an experience when I was young, one that I want to keep, is it true for me, does it serve me? Am I open to seeing through another’s perspective, to perhaps reshape a perception I formulated due to my limited scope and life experience? When I dig into my Attachments and Expectations, what perceptions planted the seeds for their existence? The bottom line in this exploratory search is to free myself to CHOOSE how I want to engage in life. What do I want to feel and explore in my moments? In Choosing to Perceive a situation one way or another, I dictate what I emotionally experience and participate in. Play it out for yourself, it can be a fun and interesting game.
As you go forth today, challenge yourself to be consciously aware of your senses and the meaning you put on things, stuff, etc… What perceptions do you formulate about the business meeting, traffic, a conversation..? What story do you write based upon your Attachments, Perceptions, and Expectations? Do you assume everyone else sees and experiences it the same? A.C.T. (always choose truth) with the awareness that your life journey is uniquely your own, another person sees and experiences the world through very different Perceptions.