Around the dining room table one evening amidst a group of friends in deep and meaningful discussion, I heard myself say, well, the world I see is merely a projection of me. The impression these words had on my psyche was instant – my granddaughter wrote them out for me and they hang to this day, in her 11 year old handwriting, on a wall in my RV as an eternal reminder.
A technique I used when I was first discovering my inner world and I (or at least my ego) was upset with someone or some situation, was to write out everything I was upset about, and then go back with a red pen and cross out every ‘they’, ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ and substitute ‘I’. It’s a great way to see what is going on inside me, what concepts and beliefs are being acted out in the world for me to see and learn from and heal myself. In a way it was like a forerunner for me of Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ where you ‘judge your neighbor‘ and ask 4 simple questions that can powerfully clarify your thinking and set your mind free.
Knowing the world I see is but a projection of me is an awesome reminder that it’s rarely about what is going on ‘out there’ and that it is mostly about what is going on ‘in here’. This is not to say I do what I see another person do, it is to say my judgments about what that person does, is the erroneous thinking. I can’t change what is, but I can change how I react to it.
It is my own beliefs about how people and the world ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t be’ that color the world I see. When I can stop that eternal dialogue in my head and acknowledge the ‘isness’ of the moment, what I see is a much more detached perspective on life. I am able to see the essence behind the person or situation, judging it to be neither good nor bad – it simply is. And, if I can remain in that place of acceptance of what is, then any action required will arise from that place of Presence and become right action.
Seeing the world ‘I AM’
Recently, sitting in my bed snugged up and warm on a cold, fall morning, looking at some amazing pics sent by my daughter from Greece and marveling at the architecture and scenery, I got to thinking more about what we are really seeing when we observe people, things and places that cause our hearts to soar in appreciation.
I reversed my earlier technique of writing about what was bugging me and instead wrote about what was inspiring to me in this moment: my daughter’s Grecian pictures – the thrill of new discoveries; her obvious joy as she traveled with her fiancé; a wee video of my totally adorable great grandson as he happily fought with a box on his head; the absolute silence – peace – that invaded my present moment; the precious light and uplift from the morning sun streaming through my window; the exquisite artistry of a vase of artificial flowers; the companionship of my dog lying warmly on my feet; the energy sparking in my body.
So what was the reflection of these observations? Of course, Life Itself, since I was in a place of inner peace. These are the moments we want to last forever, and take with us into the tumult of daily living. And the only thing stopping us is that tedious monkey mind – here’s my bog about that.
Here’s a quote that resonated deeply with me from Mark Nepo’s latest, inspirational book – Drinking from the river of light – the life of expression.
The arts are the wilderness areas of imagination surviving, like national parks, in the midst of civilized minds.Claude Levi-Srauss
Wow – what a great metaphor! I am a huge fan of the national parks and in terms of being the projection of what we see – I really appreciated this picture. Whenever I travel in my RV I avoid commercial RV parks like the plague and aim for the more remote state, forest and national parks located out there in nature – fewer ‘amenities’, more trees, trails, lakes, wildflowers, birds and animals. Now that’s a lovely projection.
Mark is actually talking about writing as an art and how necessary it is to be connected to and flow from Life Itself through the avenue of art, whatever form that art takes. When we appreciate, admire, are moved by beautiful words and other forms of art, we are seeing a reflection of the inner beings we are.
Another thing I like to do, is stop for just a moment and look for ‘vignettes’ in my environment that speak to me artistically. (A vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment). It might be just the way the light from a lamp falls on the table and its surroundings, the colors from the tiles on the corner of the kitchen counter, the beauty of a patch of long grasses gone to seed against the pale orange of the wall behind, the purple of the curtain behind my computer matching the purple hydrangea desktop on my computer. These are small scenes I could capture in a camera lens – vignettes – that help to bring the present moment into my awareness and reflect the inner joy Life Itself experiences as it journeys through this particular lifetime in this particular body.
Capturing mental vignettes has also helped me appreciate the time and effort I have invested in creating my home and garden. The decor, color schemes and furnishings were all carefully chosen by me, albeit quite a long time ago. We tend to run our daily lives on automatic and after a while our environments fade into the background unnoticed. Carving observing moments out of my day helps to appreciate the end results of all those efforts – all over again – great reflections of the expression of Life Itself through me.
There’s no such thing as co-incidence
Just now I randomly opened Byron Katie’s A Mind At Home With Itself. The very first words I read were The world you see is a reflection of how you see it. They are part of a paragraph on P.91 that I had underlined and they jumped right off the page and into my face!!! The paragraph goes on to say If your world is ugly or unfair, it’s because you haven’t questioned the thoughts that are making it appear that way. As your mind becomes clearer and kinder, your world becomes clearer and kinder. As your mind becomes beautiful, your world becomes beautiful.
I so heartily recommend her work – ‘The Work’. It really works when you invest your time and energy and it sure helps to create a world that is beautiful to live in.
It’s a great practice to look at the world as a reflection of me when you are watching politics on TV (especially in the USA where I currently live). Not only do you learn very quickly from your reactions where your concepts and beliefs still need some work, but it can then give you an opportunity to rise above the world of duality and radiate the peace that passes all understanding to all people. Try it.
Or as Dr. Seuss would say, Try it, try it, Sam I Am. You may like green eggs and ham.