Despite the fact that some of our darkest times stem from the workings of our minds, the mind also has an incredible amount of strength, so much so that it has the ability to completely change the way all situations are perceived.
When people seek positive change, they often look for exterior ways to do this, perhaps by considering whether a change is needed in their career, friendships, relationships, or general routine. However, what many people often forget to do when seeking change is look within themselves to do so. In his book The Book of Dharma: Making Enlightened choices, Simon Haas reflects on this idea and the profound power of the mind to shape our very universe, stating that:
We exist at the heart of our perceptual universe. We don’t observe out universe because it exists; our universe exists because we are observing it. If you erase the conscious observer, all that remains is energy in flux, devoid of meaning of sense. It is we who give sense and purpose to our universe. We decide whether something is valuable or not, significant or not.
In other words, we are the creators of the way we perceive our universe and thus we decide what is important or not. This may be applied to a number of situations to highlight the power of altering ones perception.
We all have periods of weight gain. Often, we may be too hard on ourselves and label ourselves with words that have negative connotations such as ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’. First of all, we come in all shapes and sizes, and each of those are beautiful in their own way. Second of all, this is just the way we are choosing to perceive ourselves. Often shifting your perspective can help in these situations – if this was your friend, would you start thinking negatively of them as you do to yourself? If not (which is hopefully the answer for everybody), then why are you doing it to yourself? Granted, we all have our goals and some of us feel confident when we appear a certain way, however this is not wholly how we are defined as people. With regards to this specific example, if you do happen to put on weight, instead of perceiving yourself in a negative light, think how it can be looked at alternatively. Maybe, it could rather be perceived as an opportunity to work on your body confidence so that you can love yourself irrespective of weight.
The process of altering your perception is also greatly beneficial in the way negative situations are perceived. For example, perhaps you’ve had a friendship or relationship break down. Instead of allowing yourself to be consumed with regret and sadness for how things worked out, allow yourself to believe that things were inevitably not going to work out in the long-term, so this is just an opportunity for you to explore a new beginning in your life.
Finally, your general state of being can alter the way you perceive your surroundings. Haas sums this up as ‘‘Our state of being is reflected in the world. If we are fearful, what we will see around us are more fearful things. This confirms in us our fear’’. For example, if you are worrying about walking somewhere alone, chances are with each person that you see you will believe they have bad intentions. However, if you try to remain calm and positive, chances are you will realise these same people are no harm.
To sum it up, we have the power to shape our surroundings, mindset and overall experience in day to day life. So, when things get tough, remember you have the strength within to alter your perception and see things in a better light.
xx Alana McKenna