It’s All About Perception

A short story

In a time past.
Somewhere down on the farm. 
In Mallee country. 
Nanny and her sweet grand daughter sat on a bed. 
About life… 
And how things are…

The little one, with all the worldly knowledge of an 8 year old
Knowledge she had gleaned from the conversations of the adults in her life 
Was determined that she was right
Determined that the way she saw things 
Was exactly how it was…

Out in the garden stood a tree…
Strong and tall…
On the bed lay a pair of shorts…
Pretty and small…

Mmm…said Nanny as she picked up the shorts…

“See that tree out there
What if..?
What if all your life you had been told that, that tree out there was a pair of shorts. 
And this pair of shorts was a tree?” 

Little Caitie looked puzzled and tilted her head

 “So” said Nanny, seeing an opportunity to continue…
“If everyone had told you these shorts were a tree and that tree was a pair of shorts wouldn’t you think that was the truth” 

“That’s so silly nanny…” Caitie replied with a grin and a quizzical look on her pretty little face
“Because that’s a tree and they are shorts” she said

Mmm “yes, so we have been told” replied Nanny gently

“But, can you imagine what you would think if all your life you had been told that this, as Nanny pointed to the shorts, was a tree, and that tree out there in the garden was a pair of shorts”.
What would you believe then?” Nanny asked with a smile

Little Catie giggled.
“I see” she said…

The next morning as they drove into town on their way to church the wise little one said. 
“Hey Nanny”
“Yes” replied Nanny 
“Look at all those shorts out there”…

They both laughed. 
And another conversation began…

This one small moment was pivotal…this little girl “got it”. As grand mothers, as women of older years we have much to offer those who are navigating this fast paced life. Never underestimate the importance of our lived life experience and the potential for learning that comes when we share our stories with others in our life. 

I see…i see…
YS 4:15 vastu-sāmye citta-bhedāt tayoḥ vibhaktaḥ panthāḥ 
“The characteristics of an object appear differently, depending upon the different mental states of the observer”. 
TKV Desikachar 

I see…I see
I say to me… 

“What is it  
that my eyes can see?”

To my amazement what I see…
is an old man, right there in front of me

I turn and ask
of the sea…

What is it this old man can see
as he rests in the rocks beside your sea?

In hushed tones
she answers me…

Quietly go and be with him
you too will see what he can see 

I sit beside him and I see
that he gazes wistfully, far out to sea.

Within the silence I understand
he sees far more than I can see

So much more than just the sea. 
Radha 2022   

Perception is said to be right when something happens,

where we can see the design of the mind as well as the object.”
TKV Desikachar commentary on Yoga Sutra 1:6 

Just as in the picture above we can see many things. It depends on where our eyes focus, on what we think we “should” be seeing and our capacity to observe differently. What we see is determined and influenced by some much more than just our eyes seeing “something”

What do you see?

The words of J. Krishnamurti have often struck a cord with me. In this excerpt from one of his discourses he asks those who are listening to do so with a clear mind, without judgement, expectations or any preconceived ideas.  

“I hope that you will listen, but not with the memory of what you already know; and this is very difficult to do. You listen to something, and your mind immediately reacts with its knowledge, its conclusions, its opinions, its past memories. It listens, inquiring for a future understanding.
Just observe yourself, how you are listening, and you will see that this is what is taking place.
Either you are listening with a conclusion, with knowledge, with certain memories, experiences, or you want an answer, and you are impatient. You want to know what it is all about, what life is all about, the extraordinary complexity of life. You are not actually listening at all. You can only listen when the mind is quiet, when the mind doesn’t react immediately, when there is an interval between your reaction and what is being said. Then, in that interval there is a quietness, there is a silence in which alone there is a comprehension which is not intellectual understanding. If there is a gap between what is said and your own reaction to what is said, in that interval, whether you prolong it indefinitely, for a long period or for a few seconds – in that interval, if you observe, there comes clarity. It is the interval that is the new brain. The immediate reaction is the old brain, and the old brain functions in its own traditional, accepted, reactionary, animalistic sense.When there is an abeyance of that, when the reaction is suspended, when there is an interval, then you will find that the new brain acts, and it is only the new brain that can understand, not the old brain”   

Krishnamurti; The Book of Life 

All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions

Leonardo da Vinci