In mindfulness and paradigm shifting, perception is everything.
How can you help your child develop her skills at paradigm shifting while simultaneously teaching her an inner sense of right and wrong? It’s tricky.
I think the answer is developing the perceptual consciousness of the attitude of gratitude.
Through this way (emphasis on the tao) she can always be redirecting her attention to her center. Focusing on that inner security and self-knowing to help her navigate through interactions, experiences, and decisions. An attitude of gratitude brings one into the center of one’s world while focusing one’s perception on how the thing which needs attention is somehow positively sustaining.
It is the antidote to narcissism.
Narcissism leaves a person forever searching to connect to himself while seeing only his own circumstances. It is less self-reflective and more self-focused, the kind of self-focus that is not centering or relief producing but rather painful and tortured. It isn’t a true love of oneself – as the myth describes but rather a lack of self-love. Narcissism disallows empathy.
Empathy is the cornerstone to truly loving and understanding oneself or another so that one is free to perceive all aspects of a situation.
The shifting between the ground and the figure in any given paradigm requires the capacity to empathize – to see from a different perspective.
Looking at this drawing do you see two faces each in profile, or a single face, with a candlestick in between or in front? This one is very interesting to shift back and forth from one to the other. Defining the picture requires certain assumptions, and moving back and forth is a strong paradigm shifting experience.
Healthy relationships require this capacity to perceive from various perspectives and levels. This includes a healthy relationship with oneself and one’s needs, hopes, aspirations, limitations, and capacities. Our heritage, historical experiences, and belief systems strongly affect how and what we see or perceive.
The inter-relationship between one’s mind, body and spirit sensations help us navigate the tricky environment of our lives.
If we are too rigid, too self focused we lose our ability to see broadly.
If we are too flighty having difficulty focusing then we lose the ability to see deeply.
Perceiving is receiving and interpreting information from one’s sensory system which includes cognitions, feelings, intuitions, and physical reactions – like the hair raising on the back of your neck. These subtle sensations evoke perceptions within us.
When we have strongly connected sensations and reactions then we may be too rigid in how we interpret the meaning or perception of information. So we have to be open and flexible.
There is a wonderful book available for developing one’s ability to perceive for artists and drawing, called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. It offers numerous techniques for changing your perception so that you are free of those rigid constructs and therefore increases a person’s capacity to see. It uses different techniques of shifting the way in which you are presented the figure so that you focus on the empty spaces, the ground rather than the figure.
The theory is that if you see a figure and you are attached to what it looks like you can’t see it as clearly, and that skews how you draw it. So in example a figure would be provided upside-down so that it didn’t immediately look like what it was, so that your brain focuses on the empty spaces to complete the whole, without prejudice as to How it Should look.
Funny thing about this is it applies to how we see relationships, situations, and things that carry special meaning so that we have a skewed perspective or an attachment to what something should look like, that interferes with our ability to see the whole, or keeps us rigidly focused on one perception.
Allowing yourself the gift of viewing things from various perspectives frees you up to see more clearly the whole.
So I suggest if you feel like you are stuck in some situation and can’t get out of your perspective, turn your cognitions on their head – try arguing the other person’s point of view for a minute – that will get you into the other person’s shoes enough to maybe – just maybe – shift your own perspective or find some area where you both agree.
Or you can do what the Yogis do and stand on your head, for a new perspective, both internally and externally, of the world around you.
Perception is everything.
See you tomorrow.