Musings on Perception, Focus, and Presence
The perceptions we carry have been formed over our lifetime based on things we heard or saw as a child, something we were told by adults in authority or decisions we made based on life experiences. Often, our perceptions are based on observations from others, filtered through their perceptions. This is generational, in that your mother absorbed information from her parents based on their outlook. She then adopted that information as fact and made it part of her worldview. Sometimes, the “facts” we absorb as children can be harmful to us.
If my drunk, enraged father told me that “You aren’t worth the dirt under my feet” when I was four, my young mind would believe it to be the truth about me. Yet, as an adult, I can look at that situation and understand that his words exposed the human being he was; the words in no way described me. Thus, using this restaging, the harmful belief can be discharged.
The beauty of perceptions is we get to choose how we think of something. We can permit ourselves to discard the perceptions handed to us by others, knowing that their perceptions were colored through their experiences, experiences we may have heard about but never had.
My mother was a child born just before the Great Depression. Her mother was abandoned by her husband at the beginning of the depression, leaving Grandma with no means of support with ten children to feed. My Grandmother did the best she could, but times were rough and everyone suffered. My mother learned to save and keep things; she never knew when she would get more. So, she learned about lack from her childhood experience and unwittingly passed that on to us.
These ideas passed through generations do not have to rule our lives. We can choose our perceptions and shift the filters through which we see the world. This is good news for those who have carried the burden of the perceptions of others.
But what happens when our perceptions, given to us by others, are the focus of our attention? If I still carried the perception of lack handed unwittingly to me by my mother, and I focused on feeling lack, I would draw into my life more lack, through my focus. One of the hard truths in life is that we get what we focus on.
Isn’t it true that when we decide to purchase a red car, we suddenly notice all the red cars in our neighborhood? This is because of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, in which our subconscious selectively focuses on things foremost in our minds. We are exposed to what we focus on, simply because our minds are programmed to notice the things we are thinking of.
When the perceptions of others become the focus of our attention, we are hard-wired to notice more of that. When I was in the energy of lack, all I did was notice how small my bank account was and how I needed more cash flow. What I had was a cash flow problem and nothing else. Yet my mind focused on lack, which caused me to focus more on scarcity, which caused me to notice the lack in my life every day. This downward spiral helps nobody.
Being in the Moment
Being able to shift away from limiting perceptions allowed me to let go of any energy and perception of lack. Another tool that I found to be very effective is to be present in the moment. If my mind thinks about a bill with a due date in the future, and I don’t have the funds available to pay it now, I can ask myself, “Is this due today?” When the answer is “no,” I ask myself to become Present, Quiet, and Aware.
When we shift into the present moment, we can quiet our worries, minimize our regrets, and let go of our problems. If it isn’t happening right now, it doesn’t have a place in the present moment.
Being in the present moment when you don’t know how to make things work is an exercise in deep trust. In this way, we trust our souls that it will all work out, just the way it is supposed to. This depth of trust allows our souls to lead us to the path we are meant to follow.