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Seeing Things As They Are March 12, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Meditation, Mindfulness.
48 comments

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30Kate Shrewsday wrote a wonderful  thought-provoking post recently.

Of course, I must be more specific if you are to find the post in her archives since the description above encompasses virtually every post on her blog.

The post, entitled Don’t Fence Me In, deals (in part) with snap judgments,  and extrapolations, and labels ~ our propensity to take what we know about the “one” and overlay it on the “other.”

Why do we do it?

To bring order to chaos.

We want to feel in control of the world around us, and the faster it spins out of control, the stronger our desire to rein it in:

The subjects showed that unfailingly, when they felt less control over the situation, they would invent patterns – relationships between the information – which weren’t there: patterns in the stock market.

And then the scientists taught the subjects calming, self affirming exercises.

Astonishingly, their propensity to see things that weren’t there showed a marked decrease. Their minds were clear enough to see reality. Authors Jennifer Whitson and Adam Galinsky wrote: “We suggest that a lack of control provokes seeing and seeking patterns, because pattern perception is a compensatory mechanism designed to restore feelings of control.”

We create the illusion of control when we feel that the world’s whirlpools are about to suck us under.

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27

But creating the illusion of control (by seeing patterns where none exist) isn’t the same as being in control, is it?

Of course not.  Just the opposite.

448px-Alice_05a-1116x1492If we want to control the things we can, we must see things as THEY are, not as we imagine them to be.

By practicing mindfulness, we become more awake and aware.  We accept the “what is” as it is . . . without feeling a constant compulsion to compare it to what (and whom) has come before.

We begin to see things as THEY are . . . instead of as WE are.

And we willingly retire our “labelmakers” . . . as well as our propensity to create patterns where none exist.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Let Them Eat Cake (View from the Side) * Observing Life With Alert Curiosity

Art:  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by John Tenniel (in Public Domain)