There is no solid, true reality in our world – there is only our own individual perception of experiences in our individual lives that form our unique version of reality. There is also no concrete future for us either. We only have the now moment and the perceptions of what happens around us, combined with the thousands of daily decisions we make, to steer the direction of our lives towards a possible future. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some dandelions for clarity.
We have four houses in a row. A new dandelion springs up in each of the 4 front yards overnight. Here’s what happens.
- Bert is one of those people who obsesses over his yard. Every blade of grass must be cut to the exact, optimal length. Every flower bed has to be mulched to perfection, and God have mercy on any poor soul who inadvertantly lets the tires of their car get off the edge of the driveway onto his perfectly manicured lawn. Bert walks out of his house to survey his kingdom and there it is – the dandelion!!!! Fury rises in his very soul as he bolts to the garage to grab the bottle of poison needed to kill his foe. After carefully dousing just the weed so as not to get killer on any surrounding grass, he runs to the phone to call his lawn care professionals and orders them to come out today to spray every inch of his domain to eliminate any possibility of further invasions by the enemy dandelions. Bert’s perception of reality is that dandelions are vile weeds with no reason to exist. He will eliminate them in any way possible, even at the risk of poisoning his water system and the soil.
- Casey has a job that he loves. This job keeps his mind challenged and engaged 24 hours a day every day. He is so pleased with his his work life that very few things outside of work catch his attention. Casey happily walks out his front door with his laptop and coffee and heads to his car which will take him to the place he finds fulfillment. He strolls confidently past the dandelion without even noticing that it is there. Casey’s perception of reality is that dandelions are completely neutral and have no impact on his life whatsoever.
- Savannah walks out of her door just as the sun is rising and spots the dandelion. She is ecstatic! Savannah is an Herbalist and she knows the potent, medicinal properties found within the dandelion plant. She knows that dandelions are best in the early spring when their green leaves can be cooked and used as a tonic to revive the body after a long, cold winter. She knows that the root can be dried and ground to make an herbal tea that nourishes the liver and digestive tract while also being a diuretic. She sees every single part of the dandelion plant as a useful tool in her herbal medicine chest. Savannah’s perception of reality is that the dandelion plant is a gift from God for which she is very grateful. She finds great value in the dandelion plant.
- And lastly we have Gracie. Gracie is a 4 year old, joy filled, happy-go-lucky child who loves her life. She races outside under the careful watch of her mother. Then she spots it! That most beautiful, bright, yellow flower – the dandelion. She squeals with delight and plucks the flower from the plant. After admiring the most perfect thing she has seen all day, she runs up to her mother and gives her mother this most wonderful gift with a heart of unconditional love. When her mother accepts the gift with the same level of enthusiasm as it was given, Gracie is filled with joy that she has made her mother happy by sharing this beautiful gift with her. Gracie’s perception of reality is that gorgeous, yellow flowers that magically spring up in your yard are gifts to share with others to spread joy.
Four different reactions to the same neutral event. This shows exactly what I mean when I say there is no actual reality – only each person’s perception of reality. This is why it is so critically important that we be willing to at least try to see events through other people’s eyes so that we can try to understand their perception of reality. Too often we only see our perspective. We see an issue as black and white. We are right, our viewpoint is the only viewpoint. If you don’t share my viewpoint you are just plain stupid and wrong.
Maybe if we took some time to talk to another person we would find out why they believe what they do and maybe we could see where they are coming from. We definitely don’t have to change our perception of reality to match theirs, but maybe we could judge less harshly when we understand that their perception actually has some merit.
So, how did the decisions each person made about how to react to the dandelion create the path to each person’s future? Bert’s continued to obsess over his yard until he developed a full blown obsessive compulsive disorder. This eventually forced him into years of mental health counseling. Casey continued to love his job. He climbed the ladder to financial wealth so he could buy a luxury, loft condo in the downtown area of the city where he worked. Lawn care was never a concern for him. Savannah built a YouTube channel where she could share her knowledge and wisdom of herbs with a huge audience of like minded people, which gave her much joy. Gracie grew up to be a fashion jewelry designer creating beautiful works of art that brought joy to everyone who wore them.
And to think – it all started with a dandelion!
I hope you all have a magical day filled with delightful thoughts that bring joy to your version of reality.
Love to all,