The Big Fat Perception Deception

“Because our entire universe is made up of consciousness, we never really experience the universe directly. We just experience our consciousness of the universe, our perception of it, so right, our only universe is perception.” ~Alan Moore

Too often we think about what we wish we had.

We wish we had more money. We wish we had a better job. We wish we looked differently. We wish we had more friends, a nicer spouse, smarter kids.

These wishes become yearnings, long-held desires we drag around with us like an albatross around our necks. We want it, but we don’t have it or know how to get it.

We give away our time and energy thinking about not having it and not getting it. So not only do we not have “it” (you fill in the blank), but we’ve also given away our precious life resources. A gift with purchase. “Here world, let me offer up my peace of mind too while you’re keeping me from my desirable thing.”

But the world is laughing. The world knows something that you (we) don’t. Your perceptions are deceiving you. They are leading you down a dead end alley where you’ll keep bumping your head against the brick wall.

Why?

Because you are perceiving the world through the fog of your myopic thoughts and experiences. But your thoughts are just a small part of the story, and your particular story may be old and tired anyway.

Your perceptions trick you into believing your world view is true, when in reality it is only part of the truth or maybe not true at all.

Here’s an example:

You may think you need more money, but in this moment, do you really? What would you buy with more money — security? stuff? freedom? What if you turned that yearning around and said, “I don’t need more money.” For a moment, perceive the world from that perspective, and look for evidence to support it. “I don’t need more money because . . . .”

We can always find evidence to support what we want to believe.

You can undercut perceptions just as easily as you believe them.

It’s just that you’ve trained yourself to believe everything your thoughts tell you. “Oh, I’m thinking that, it keeps popping up in my mind,  so it must be true.” OK, so maybe there’s some truth, but there are also ten ways, a hundred ways, a million ways to look at it.You can slice and dice your perceptions. You can put them into a Ronco blender and make a perception shake. And then you can find the truth in whatever you pour in the glass.

How thrilling! What a relief! It turns your yearnings into slop.

It yanks the rug out.

No more stressing about “I need this or that” — “I won’t be happy until this things happens.” You can just relax and think, “Look at all this beauty and goodness around me, look at what I have. Look at the wonderful things those people have. Good for them.” Maybe you’ve poured that perception into your glass.

It can also turn your beliefs about yourself upside down.

Have you ever had someone say something complimentary that seems so unlike you that it’s shocking?

“Oh you are so organized, I wish I could be as organized as you,” they say.

“Me?! Really? Oh I don’t think I’m organized at all. I’m a mess. Believe me, I am the last person in the world who’s organized.”

And so you present them with your perceptions as though it’s the closing argument in the trial of the century. You know best, because it is you we’re talking about after all.

But what if you could look at yourself through their eyes?

Try it. Pick that place where you feel the weakest, the most vulnerable, the bad bad baddest. Now put on your Best Friend Glasses or your Adoring Mother Glasses. Who do you see? Let the contrary evidence shift to the forefront for a moment. See, that’s you too. Maybe it’s even more you than the you you’re perceiving through your Personal Perception Glasses.

I’m not trying to be Pollyanna here. You’ll need things you don’t have. You’ll want things you don’t need, but they’ll make you feel good anyway. There will be things about yourself that you don’t like, that need to be changed. Areas of growth.

But with the knowledge that you aren’t defined by your perceptions, you can easily shift into change rather than struggling toward or against it.

When you reclaim the energy sucked away by mis-perceptions, you have the space to find creative solutions, brilliant ideas, new approaches. You aren’t in the land of yearning and longing. You aren’t in a place of perception deception. You’re on the open road, looking at the varied landscape ahead with nothing to stop you. Now you can shift into high gear.

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Comments

  1. Yes Barrie – the deception of perception…

    This is where insight is required and thank you for the insight you have provided in this article.

    Insight speaks of penetration – of having a clear or deep perception of a situation, a feeling of understanding, and a grasping of the inner nature of things intuitively.

    When I think of the word insight I think of cutting through all superficiality and exploring the depths. Delving beneath the surface. Searching for the truth. Not allowing oneself to be swayed by what appears on the top layer, but having the courage to investigate further and deeper.

    Search for the truth, and develop the skills and the determination to do so. – that has to be one key to be free from ‘believing the deceiving’.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Peter,
      That search for the truth has definitely led me to learning many life-changing concepts — including the “perception deception.” Sometime the search has left me in a mental trap of confusion. That’s where I find action comes in handy. I think seeking involves your mind and your hands!

  2. Cathy | Treatment Talk says:

    We do often go through life believing certain things about ourselves until someone makes a comment and it shifts our initial thoughts. When we believe we can’t do something, we often are surprised at how doable it really is. You are the perfect example. Thanks for your post.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That is so true Cathy. Our minds can become our prison. We believe something and it inhibits action and growth. We can do most of the things we think we can’t. I’ve really learned that from coaching people.

  3. You have brought up some great points here. I was guilty of the “I wish” syndrome. I decided not to worry about the things that were out of my control – in other words saying “do I need these?” For things that I could control I decided to tackle one at a time. I have learnt that Doing is better than Wishing.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Ella,
      Doing is better than wishing — and when you are doing, you don’t have time to wish. When you are doing, you can actually stand back and look at something you’ve accomplish. Wishing is like cotton candy that melts away, leaving a sugary taste but no substance!

  4. I love this article. You’re speaking my language lady! Reminds me a bit of Byron Katie’s Work. Have you read her book Loving What Is? (It sounds like it’s the opposite of what you are saying, but it really isn’t.)

    I’m SO glad Mary talked you out of your “I don’t understand computers” (mis)perception. And yes, A-List Blogging Bootcamp is a godsend.

  5. It seems that so many of us go through life overly concerned about what others think of us…these perception(s), good, and bad can define who we are. This ain’t healthy and we waste far too much time dwelling on irrelevant “mind junk”.

    Eleanor Roosevelt had a good idea: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    1884-1962, American First Lady, Author, Speaker and Politician

    Thanks Barrie :-)!

    Jon

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Isn’t that the truth Jon! Do people really have time to sit around dwelling on our successes or failures when they are so wrapped up in their own?!

  6. Shona Smith - The Blithe Effect says:

    Hi Barrie,
    The power of our minds and thought to create our own life and what it looks like is amazing. I find this post empowering as it reminds me that I can change things by changing my thoughts. How thrilling!!
    Thanks,
    Shona.

    PS. I love Byron Katie’s work too. It was a big moment in my life discovering her books!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Shona,
      Yes, our minds are so incredibly powerful and pliable. Have you ever read The Brain That Changes Itself (by Norman Doidge, MD)?
      This was another life-changing book for me. Thanks for your kind comments Shona.

  7. Hi Barrie,
    It’s always good to look at things from a different angle/fresh set of eyes. Many of our ‘old perceptions’ become limiting beliefs which then block us from making progress. The mind can certainly play some sneeky tricks. Thank you for the enlightenment.
    be good to yourself
    David

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi David,
      These days I try to challenge just about everything my mind tells me. It is really liberating to embrace that there is so many ways of looking at a situation.

  8. What a great write up. I enjoy seeing people finding out what make them tick or why things are the way they are. I have seen so many people getting what they focus on. And yes, the mind does believe what it perceive to be the truth. I’m broke because I think i’m broke? Yes, for the mind is the starting point before the physical world. I need, I wish, if I, are all starting points of your beliefs that create your world. You become what you think. So change you thought and it will change your life. 😉

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Kim,
      You are right, the mind is the starting point for the physical world. If our minds are baffled, how can we create a beautiful world? Beauty is where we look for it. My friend Leo Babauta has written a wonderful post about that this week: http://zenhabits.net/happy/

  9. i always looking at myself from other people eyes. it’s not simple mostly, but it helps me a lot to undersatand them. very interesting writing!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      That’s a great exercise Sapir. It’s sometimes worth asking people close to you to tell you what they see about who you are. Sometimes the answers are astonishing.