Yesterday, the craziest debate was gaining attention on Facebook. It had to do with a picture of a dress and whether the dress was mainly blue or white. While the responses seemed quite split, I thought this was a great example for a yoga class based on perspective.
Elizabeth Bowen wrote, " No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye."
Your perspective is your attitude towards a given object or subject matter and your perspective impacts everything in your life. And how confusing does this get when what I consider to be my truth seems to your illusion and vice versa?!
"Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds." George Santayana
This dress issue did become chaotic (in a friendly way), because we all believe that what we are seeing is correct. How could my eyes be wrong? Surely, your eyes must be deceiving you. It turns out the original dress is blue. But, this isn't a theme on right versus wrong; it's a theme on perspective, so let's delve into that a little more.
If I saw the dress as white and was convinced I was accurate (but, yet not), what else am I so sure I am seeing correctly in my life? This question goes out to those who saw the dress as blue, too, because don't think you are seeing everything correctly out there! How do our perceptions impact our decisions and our choices, our attitudes and our relationships?
Take this next quote on organ donation as an example on perception...I had never thought of organ donations in this manner until I stumbled upon this:
"Don't think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive. It's really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive." Author Unknown
Psychologist William James, psychologist said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a person can alter his life by altering his attitude of mind".
We have choice and free will and that doesn't just refer to what you are going to eat for dinner tonight. You can choose your state of mind, choose which emotions you will cater to, choose to be helpful and kind or choose to be someone's energy vampire. I can even choose to believe the dress is white even though the real dress is blue. What truths are you choosing for yourself?
"There are truths on this side of the Pyrénées, which are falsehoods on the other." Blaise Pascal
I used a final quote in my yoga class this morning regarding this issue:
"If you do not raise your eyes you will think that you are the highest point." Antonio Porchia
If I believe the dress to be blue but tune out and ignore the voices of those who said white, I have not raised my eyes to hearing other possibilities. Even though correct, I haven't listened or honored another's opinion and have virtually committed myself to my perspective being true. I offered up chair pose as an example. Some people will say that chair pose is bad! They can't stand the pose. Others will says it is good and they love it. Who is right? The truth is neither and both. Chair pose is neither good or bad; it is just a pose. The words good and bad are simply labels we attach to the pose based on perspective. If my quads are weak, I'm probably not going to be a chair pose lover. If my thighs are strong, I don't mind the pose.
Just be open to other perspectives. Be open to questioning yours, lifting your eyes higher than even your thoughts. All truths are not created equal.
"Can you make the metaphorical jump from glistening with beads of sweat to being one who glistens with happiness? Can the chemistry of your mind produce the feeling of being so warm with peace, contentment and love that you can't help but exude the joyful feeling of radiating gleeful happiness? What is your formula for this to occur in your mind? What brings you to the point of expressing so much happiness?"(Quote from Science of Mind)
Isn't "glistening" such a fabulous almost tangible word? Whatever noun follows it, sweat, dewdrops, ocean waves, you can see its sparkle in your mind. The sparkles dance and reflect light back to you and it catches your eye again.
Emma Curtis Hopkins, in speaking about believing in Spirit or something greater, wrote "Happiness will bubble over and glisten from you".
Ohhh, who wouldn't want their happiness to be tangible?! So strong I can see it, feel, it, hear it, breathe it? So tangible its infectious nature clings to all who cross my path....they venture off on their separate way now glistening with happiness and spreading it forward.
I was emailed an interesting sentence yesterday. It read, "Assume good intentions."
I kept going back to this thought in my head because this one thought is a happiness spreader! Think about it...if I assume the guy who cut me off with his car meant to look in his blind spot then I assume his intentions were good and I stay calm. If I translate my family's "There's no food in the house" with good intent, the comment no longer means thanks a lot, mom, you didn't go to the grocery store; it now, with innocent intent, means do you have suggestions for a snack? When I hear "Someone hasn't picked up after the dog", the assumption of good intention switches the meaning from blame to maybe the speaker has nicknamed his or herself "Someone"! Either way, I stay calm and that is a precursor to my glistening happiness, right?
Emma Curtis Hopkins even has a way of making our unhappy times sound better. She writes, "The soft flakes of healing are falling all around you all the time, even on your shadow.'"
Your Mantra(s): I glisten with happiness. I assume good intent.
We all have the inherent right to be HAPPY. Our natural state is HAPPINESS. CHOOSE IT!!!
I like this last quote by Hafiz of Persia: "Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you."
For heaven's sake, turn around!
This morning when I logged into my email, I noticed there were twenty-eight emails in my spam folder. I used to peruse them quickly to see if something important was sent there by mistake. I don't do that anymore. It's a waste of time and energy and maybe the Universe sent the message to the spam folder on purpose...so I wouldn't be distracted with what is not important.
Instead of opening the folder, I highlighted the little trash can next to it and clicked delete. The computer of course challenging my decision asked if I was sure I wanted to delete those messages, the ones that hovered somewhere in mid-air sight unseen. Yes, responded, I am certain that I do.
I began to wonder how many of the thousands of thoughts we have everyday should really be in that spam folder. I know I have certain recurring thoughts (aren't most of them?) that when they make their appearance I groan not you again. Go to the Spam folder. Other thoughts are distractions to keep me "busy" so won't have "time" to tackle the important things I say I want to do. And I am pretty good at following those distractions so... Spam folder.
It may seem, at first, that now a lot of time is spent dictating Spam folder to certain thoughts as they enter our head, our imaginary index finger pointing the fated way. That in itself is a distraction to encourage you to stop. Don't stop. We are merely in the process of habit breaking. Once we can clear our minds of the junk thoughts, imagine the freedom and unused space and all its potential!
“Spam is a waste of the receivers’ time, and, a waste of the sender’s optimism.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana, The Confessions of a Misfit
I felt good when I hit delete on my computer as I instantly cleared away the crap that had compiled there over night. I am pretty certain more is collecting in that folder there right now while I right this but that's okay because, later, I will simply hit delete again to find my freedom from what others want me to stop and think about. I am not interested in your $10,000 drawing scholarship ad, but I am interested in getting back to drawing my mandalas. Thanks for reminding me. No, I am not worried about going bald but that email reminded me I need to cancel a hair appointment. And the special on sending flowers? I generally don't spend money on things that are going to die right away - thanks anyway. Delete.
"It's been my policy to view the Internet not as an 'information highway,' but as an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies."- Mike Royko
My mind is going to keep filling up today, too, just like the Spam folder. And I will work on my dictatorial skills as I gravitate towards the important thoughts and dismiss the others. As I do so, I begin to regain control over my life, my thoughts, my desires, my energy.
"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
You have the power of choice. You get to decide if you want the "babbling loony" thoughts in your head or if your time and gifts are more valuable than that.
Plato wrote a gruesome outlook to life called Allegory of a Cave. The scenario he depicts is a dark cave where people, from childhood, are chained facing a wall, their heads even unable to turn. The only light comes from a fireplace behind them and the only thing they can see are the shadows that are cast upon the wall in front of them. The shadows, which they name, are the only reality they know so they are reality. Think about that. If you were raised to think a certain belief (which most of us are about religions or other races or whatever), that is your reality based on your experience of having been taught that way. Thank goodness we have access to other people and books and the Internet to help us challenge our beliefs and either stick with them or change them; but our own realities are based on our experiences.
So the Allegory of the Cave goes on to question what would happen if you released one of the men and turned him towards the light? He would feel blinded by the brightness and the pain would cause him to want to turn back; the light is not real to him, the darkness is. But what if you forced the man, now shielding his eyes, up the steps and out into the sunlight? If given the choice, he would turn back around because this feels overwhelming and hurtful. But let's assume he gets to the place where his eyes adjust and he is able to look down at the ground. And then up a little more to see people and trees and dogs. Then up a little more to see blue sky and eventually able to see the light emanates from the sun and it is all real. He begins to feel enlightened and free and happy and amazed. The chains were released from him awhile ago but he has now freed himself from the imaginary chains he bound himself with. And what should happen if he went back into the cave, trying to readjust his eyes to the darkness to free the others? Would they follow or think he was crazy? They would think he was crazy because he would be talking nonsense to them and his depictions would not be their reality.
How are you living your life in such a way that your sense of what is real may need a slight reality check (and I mean that in the kindest of ways!)?
From the book A Gift of Healing: [As you read, consider all facets of healing, those physical, spiritual and especially mental like forgiveness and letting go...]
The Decision to Heal
"The decision to heal and to be healed
is the first step toward recognizing
what you truly want.
Every attack is a step away from this,
and every healing thought
brings it closer.
To be healed is to pursue one goal,
because you have accepted only one
and want but one.
Nothing is harmful or beneficent
apart from what you wish.
It is your wish
that makes it what it is
in its effects on you.
There is no miracle
you cannot have
when you desire healing.
But there is no miracle
that can be given you
unless you want it.
Your function on earth is healing...
As long as you believe you have other functions,
so long will you need correction.
For this belief is the destruction of peace.
Healing will always stand aside
when it would be seen as threat.
The instant it is welcome it is there.
Where healing has been given
it will be received.
[I omitted next paragraph]
Suffice it, then, that you have work to do
to play your part.
The ending must remain obscure to you
until your part is done.
It does not matter.
For your part is still
what all the rest depends on."
The premise of this book is that we are all one. If you see yourself as separate from all else, you thwart the healing. We have to all heal together. From the Cave example, just because the one man found freedom and relief, don't you suppose his heart is still heavy because the others do not see it? He is pained by their pain.
I leave you with this...the very first sanskrit word in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is atha, which means now. Open your heart and mind to healing in whatever capacity you need to but start now; it is the most purposeful thing you will do.