So how do we change our perceptions?
We are bombarded with sensual data every waking moment. If we had to consciously process that amount of data there would be no time or brain capacity left to do anything else. Part of the function of our amazing brains is that we are equipped with perceptual filters that screen the data – noticing what we deem as useful, and discarding the rest. The filters run a process of deleting, distorting and generalising the data for us – based upon certain criteria.
The key to changing our perceptions is to understand how we direct and set most of the filtering criteria, and what part our beliefs, ideas and thoughts play in all this. Essentially – it involves our gaining an understanding of our relationship with our thoughts, our thinking – for it is our thoughts that generate our feelings, and also what we believe is real about our experiences and our view of the world and how it works.
With the Inside-Out nature of reality, we start to understand that our experience and our feelings are all generated by our thinking. We already know for instance that if we change our thinking by just filtering and accepting ‘positives’ that our feelings and experience will be different. Yet the key thing to remember with our thinking is that it just keeps on coming in a never-ending stream. It is like the weather, or waves breaking on a beach. And that tends to make Positive Thinking, and the interminable sorting and filtering that goes with it, a never-ending treadmill of analysis – which is a very hard act to keep up! The vitally important thing to remember is to recognise our thinking for what it really is – a set of illusions that we are convinced is REAL! If you are not entirely sure, just consider what happens when you change your mind about something. All the credence you used to feel about that thing suddenly goes, for now you think differently about it.
Beliefs are merely thoughts that have evolved through references that have not been challenged, and that have seemed to prove the thoughts as being the TRUTH. Beliefs can be roughly broken down into generally accepted “world” beliefs, and closely held “personal” beliefs. In each case, beliefs tend to remain in place until challenged – and will usually stay in the water until blown out of it by undeniable proof.
Think of instances such as when people thought the Earth was flat; that it was believed that people could never travel fast in a vehicle and remain safe; or that many diseases are caused not by “vapours” or “atmospheres” but by minute and almost invisible germs; and more recently that athletes could never break the 4 minute barrier for running the mile. Like many others, these beliefs were all once firmly in place until experience changed our perceptions.
The same happens with our personal beliefs. We hold onto their usefulness as if they are ‘precious’ to us! If we believe we cannot do X, then everything we do – in terms of thought and action – will be directed towards maintaining that belief. In truth, we are actually capable of many things we never allow ourselves to attempt; and we are certainly capable of far more than we think!