26 March 2012

What's Really There

A man named Stephen C. Paul once said, "Learn to see what is in front of you rather than what you learned is there."  These words get me to thinking about just how much our beliefs interfere with our realities.  If I see a guy who's dressed a certain way or acting a certain way, then my belief system kicks in and it's very easy for me to judge this person.  But who is this guy really, and why is he acting this way?  If my beliefs don't allow me to find out the answer to these questions, then what purpose are my beliefs really serving?

When I see a tree, I recognize it as a tree because I've developed a belief system about how trees should be.  The same goes with cats and cacti and worms and birds and pretty much everything else that's in front of me.  I name it, I categorize it, and I give it a nice little name that conforms to what I believe it is.  "That's a dog," I say, and that's that.

But does my belief system keep me from seeing more deeply?  Does it keep me from trying to learn more about something that's in front of me just because I'm comfortable enough with what I believe it to be?  What's really in front of me on the molecular level?  On the atomic level?  On the spiritual level?  People from one culture might see the dog as a holy sign, while people from other cultures may see lunch.  There are so many different ways of seeing anything that it seems a shame that we limit ourselves from seeing the beauty and holiness and amazing qualities of almost everything just because once we define it within our beliefs, we stop seeing past the surface.  And past the surface is where things just start getting good!

So is that really just a coffee cup?

Our beliefs are so powerful that they color our entire world.
We literally see what we believe, but we can--and most of us
do--fail to take responsibility for what we see, especially what we see within.

Hugh Prather

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