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Looks Can Be Perceiving

By Deon Du Plessis

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing
is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." —Albert Einstein

Don't you sometimes wish you had the ability to just change some bad experience in your life instantaneously? At times we all indulge in the lure of quick fixes and the challenge of working through our problems often seems too arduous and like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is, however a quick fix that can help you change virtually anything immediately. It is one of the key differences that separates happy, fulfilled and successful people from those who life a life of frustration, reaction and quiet desperation.

We all live in a world that we can "see" and "touch", but this world is not really a physical world at all. It is actually a perceived world that exists only in your mind. Although the physical world might be exactly the same, different people will "see" different things and consequently have different experiences. What we see might be the same but what we perceive is very different for every person. When someone is born with thick corneal opacities they cannot see. Even when, later in life, an operation gives sight to that person, the person still cannot see because to them the world they "see" is just a blur of light, colors and disorganized shapes. There is no meaning to what they experience with their senses.

Scientist used to believe that we respond to information flowing into the brain, but we now know, scientifically, that it is actually our interpretation of the information that determines our response. Our past experiences create an expectancy that is primarily based on what we "know," and what we "know" is that which has happened before.

One of the main ways in which our minds make sense of what we actually see and experience is through what we call our beliefs. A belief is a sense of certainty about what something means and for the most part your beliefs are a result of reference experiences from your past. Perception is a way of grasping and making sense of the realities around us. Perception links a meaning to what you take in with your senses that allows you to have the experience in your nervous system.

Because perception is based on interpretation we can change it. Just look at kids. They have an unquenchable thirst for knowing "why" things are the way they are and at an early age they start to form, assign and match up meanings to what they see and the feedback they get. This is where we start to form our perceptions, but as we get older we learn to stop questioning what we actually see. This explains why we often see life the same way and why we keep doing things the same way, experience the same emotions and act in the same ways. Things happen and you automatically assign a meaning to it based on your unconscious belief system that tells you what things mean.

The real truth however is that you are the master of meaning. It is not the conditions of your life but your perception of it that determines the way you feel and what you will or will not do with it. A change in perception is what turns the half empty glass into a half full glass. Perception explains how two people can have exactly the same experience and one commits suicide while the other becomes an inspiration for generations to come. Whatever you perceive is going to be true for you, regardless of what you see. Einstein said that "reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Realize that what you see, the circumstances of your life are not really "real" but merely your perception of what you actually take in through your senses. By simply changing the meaning of what you see you can change it all. Most of your behavior therefore is not really an action but rather a reaction based on how you did things previously. You are never really stuck but you are only stuck in using your old perceptions by re-acting to what you see and experience. You owe it to yourself to truly live your life by being here. Perception is as easy to shift as thinking a new thought about the same thing. What you see is not going to change but what you perceive is entirely up to you.

Your present and future experiences do not have to be the same as your past. You can change any experience from a sad story into an inspirational feat by simply changing your perception. It's all a choice, but if you don't choose your perceptions consciously, your old beliefs will take over by default. It is never a case of whether life is beautiful but whether you are noticing?

So, how can you use the power of perception to change the way you think, the way you feel and consequently what you do and create in your life?

  • The first and most effective way to change your perception of anything is to change your beliefs. Becoming aware of your beliefs in itself can open you up to new perceptions and consequently new experiences that serve you. Whenever something happens that you do not like just ask yourself, "What else can this mean?"
  • If you keep running into the same brick wall, step one is to stop running. Step two is to take off your blindfold so that you can see the door and go through it. Slow down and really look at your situation or circumstances.
  • This is not that. Stop attaching the same old labels to the same old experiences. The only meaning that is valid is the meaning you give something. Realize that meaning is never fixed but always assigned by you making a choice, even if it is unconscious.
  • Ask yourself, "What am I not seeing?" What you are not seeing is what's preventing you from finding the empowering meaning in any situation and using it to your advantage.

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