Monday, January 16, 2012

Like looking out a window...

'you may think you're looking outside, it's a window after all, but you may have failed to realize the reflection in the glass, the ghostly renditions of what's inside, appearing as if it were outside'

We experience our lives only in first person.

It may not seem strange to you, it may seem rather obvious. But only after reading about it did I realize I'd never thought that way at all.

It might be all the TV and movies we've seen but there's something inside too that makes us feel as if we see the world in third person. My memories and dreams, I see them all in third person, at least most of the time. I see myself interacting with the world as if from a distance.

It's funny how quickly we come to accept what we see or hear as truth Think about your vision, look straight ahead but be aware of how far you can see above you, below you, and to each side. Only the center of your vision is clear. You can never see your own face, ever. Every single moment you've lived has been experienced this way. Looking through this window and this window alone. Even when looking in the mirror or watching yourself on screen, the watching of the tape is still in first person, you still have the screen in the center of your window. You still don't see yourself.

Every experience you've ever had or ever will, is perceived through this space. We can only know the world from our own experience. I look around me and it becomes incredibly obvious how little I know, and how much trust I have in what other people tell me.

I look at my computer and I wonder, where and how were all those materials mined, where were they assembled and how far have they traveled to reach me. I can look at just about anything and ask that question. I'll never really know the answer. Not only am I ignorant about where and how things came to be, but also how they function. I have little understanding as to how electricity in metal circuits can retain information. I'm not the only one.

It's frightening but humbling as well to realize how little you know, and how lucky you are to be surrounded by tools you'd never know how to create on your own.

Think about the conclusions that people have come to by relying on their own experience. They thought the world was flat. I can't say from personal experience it isn't, I've never been to space and looked down upon it but I trust that it's round. Just as I trust if something says 'made in China', it is. If we need other people, if we need life times of experience and perspective and diligent testing to understand the physical world, is it that unlikely that we're just as wrong about ourselves, coming to the wrong conclusions based on personal experience.

As true as anything may seem, it's all just belief. Just keep an open mind and know that you know very little. Remember when those thoughts come to you that you are this or that type of person, that you are or are not beautiful or capable that people thought the world was flat, and that seemed rather logical.

When it comes to how we feel about ourselves, our lives and the people around us, it's mostly our perspective that matters. Feelings come and feelings go. One day the world's bright and the next it's dark and dreary. Are we seeing the world at all? Or is it just a reflection of our state of mind. How can we live unaffected by the churning sea of thoughts and beliefs within us? Don't take it all so seriously. Whenever one outlook comes another's on its way. A bad mood will color the world. Like bright lights in a room at night you think you're looking out at the world, that somehow it has changed, but all you see is your reflection. Don't be fooled by your emotions. You may feel stupid or ugly but since when do feelings make things true. Don't form beliefs when in this state of mind. If you're upset and concluding that the world is a terrible place or that you're not deserving of love then you're wrong. As true as it may feel, it's not. Remind yourself of that. Hear those thoughts and say "that's bullshit". You don't need to see clearly right now, you just need to know that you're not seeing clearly and wait for a new tide to come. It will. Remember that the past does not exist. At any given moment, you are there, looking out your window and that is all there is. The past is a collection of thoughts you are having right now in this moment, the only moment that exists. The same goes for the future, it's nothing but a thought you are having, an event you are creating right now in your mind.

It's not possible to maintain this perspective at all times. You will get caught up in thoughts of the past and the future. Scenarios will continue to play out in your mind, but it helps when lost in thought to be remember where you are. The only world I know is through this window. I can only interact with what it's in front of me now. No one can see my thoughts, no one can hear me thinking about misery, failure, fear or regret. Letting go of the thoughts may not be easy, but there's no harm in trying, they're not 'real' after all. They're just thoughts, not facts.

It may not seem profound at first, but this idea is far reaching. If somehow you managed to go all day acutely aware of the window through which you see, while remaining unaffected (but aware) of all the beliefs that you hold, you'd see that the world is colored more by your thoughts you would have believed. It's hard enough to know ourselves let alone other people. If you've ever thought you knew someone better than they knew themselves just remember you've never looked out through their window and you never will.

Like looking out a window at night, the brighter the inside (the more full of thought), the less you can see. Dim the lights, quiet the mind and you begin to see outside. But until the lights are all the way off a faded apparition of yourself is projected on the world whether or not you try to look past it.

A helpful way of attaining this perspective can be found here.


  1. Enlightening and Thoughtful...

  2. This is almost the same thing I have been saying my whole life. Except I word it differently. I've always felt that there is no ONE universal truth because each person has their own perspective and each person's truth is different, because it's coloured by the way they see the world and the things that make them who they are. In essence, while we share a reality we are actually all living within our own reality. No two people have the exact same view of everything because they are two different people..