Out on an early morning walk today a vicious pile of sludge disguised as an innocuous smear of mud lay in wait for me on the path. BAM! I hope my hip will be black and blue because there’s nothing more annoying than really hurting yourself and then having nothing to show for it, am I right?
Black and blue was a bit of a theme last week eh. Or white and gold. Whichever.
Apparently the color one perceived the dress to be (blue/black or white/gold) depended on the level of light entering the perceiver’s eye at the moment they first saw it.
Like everyone else I thought it was a trick. Until the second time I saw it on my phone and asked my daughter, “Hey what happened to the white and gold dress this one’s black and blue!” and she replied, “That is the white and gold dress, Mum”. Then I too entered the Twilight Zone.
The discussion over the dress on a meta level is kind of fascinating. Logically ‘the level of light entering the eye of the perceiver’ must then apply to everything we see, mustn’t it? Both the physical eye and the “eye” of the Spirit.
Anais Nin wrote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” How we perceive someone else largely depends more on us than on them don’t you think? Since the moment we opened our eyes our own motherboard wires itself to dictate why and how we see what we see, as well as when we see it.
When we see a homeless man do we think, “Loser” or “He was someone’s baby once”?
When we watch a movie, our perception of reality and our own value system affect the way we respond to a story: I hated the ‘English Patient’, other friends loved it.
Loving parents tend to see their kids as white and gold when the rest of the world most probably does not.
Bosses see employees in terms of their usefulness to the business at hand.
We ask ourselves, “Boyfriend material or husband material?” And so on.
Then our perception of ourselves is even more complex. We see ourselves as both black and blue and white and gold. We grieve a cruel word spoken in haste but are quick to censure someone else with, “Well I’d never do that!”
Over all our own self-perception we also have the voices in our heads. Call them what you like – God, the devil, the ego, your mother – all of us have them informing our thoughts.
In my own thinking since the age of 24, I have known that I am in conversation with the Lord in my heart, while the devil awaits his moment to whisper into my head.
Thankfully the strongest voice in my head is a person whom I know, and so I can identify him by what he’s saying. If my thoughts and ideas lead to life, hope, peace, truth, blessing, humility, generosity of spirit and courage, I know they’re coming from God.
On the other hand, if my thoughts and ideas are filled with hate, fear/fear of fear, judgment, self-righteousness, arrogance, people-pleasing and fantasies of childish vengeance, I know that no friend of mine is speaking to my heart. It is someone all together darker who is seething and breathing down my neck.
Since most of our thoughts revolve around ourselves (I’m going out on a limb here but I’m pretty confident) how we perceive ourselves is a crucial part of our navigation system.
If we rely on other human beings’ perception of us to define who we are, then we are – excuse my french – completely screwed. The number of variables involved in whether someone likes me/respects me/values me are so numerous it’s enough to make you feel sick: circumstances, personal history, hunger, need, personality, all of the above… The list is endless.
So where is accurate self-perception to be found? For me, I have found someone who actually knows me better than I do (indeed knows everything) and so can tell me who I’m meant to be. Because he “meant me” into being.
And in his eyes I am now un-changingly white and gold. His perception does not change with shadows.
But I am also aware that nor does the Whisperer’s. To him, I am always black and blue. And the bluer and blacker the better.
Because in the end all perception is about the amount of light entering the eye of the perceiver.
And the lens through which they look.