A mindful way to deal with our perceptions in relationship

Perception refers to our sensory experience of the world. Through this experience, we gain information about the environment around us. Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of our personal reality. Dr. Linda Humphreys believes that “Perception is merely a lens or mindset from which we view people, events, and things.”

For Buddhism, we have the following six perceptions: sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, and mind. In her book “Small Bites: Mindfulness For Everyday Use”, she wrote:

“The Buddha points out that wherever there are perceptions, there will be deceptions, which will eventually lead to suffering. When you ask fifteen people the same question about the same situation, you’ll probably end up with fifteen different stories…So many arguments in relationships are caused by different perceptions. Instead of insisting on being right – an attitude that leads to suffering on both sides – you can simply smile at each other and say, ‘Oh we obviously have very different perceptions.’ Thich Nhat advises that you should always ask two questions about your perceptions: “Can I be sure that my perception is correct?’ and ‘Can I really be sure?’…Only mindfulness of your perceptions and an ongoing exchange with others will help you see how many different perceptions may actually exist in one situation.”

I have the experience – opening up to physical pain

In her book, “small bites: mindfulness for everyday use”, Annabelle Ziner wrote,

“Most of us have never been taught how to deal with physical pain in a positive way. (I agree with Annabelle) Emotional pain often arises as a result of physical pain, and this can cause us to suffer. We suffer because our mind builds a resistance against the unpleasant feeling of physical pain. The mind says that this pain shouldn’t be there…No one can escape this fact. The body is not set up to exclusively produce pleasant feelings; there will also be unpleasant feelings…Adopting an open, compassionate attitude toward pain is one of the most important steps you can take toward suffering less….After you’ve carefully investigated pain, you can move your attention to a different or more distant area in your body where there neutral or pleasant sensations. For example, when you’re experiencing a headache you can focus instead on the sensations in your feet or hands. This helps enlarge your field of perception; the pain is no longer the only thing in your mind. You allow the pain a wide space in which it can exist with other sensations…At the end of the practice, you should be aware of feeling your entire body one more time and smile at it kindly…”

When we went to a dental clinic for teeth cleaning and filing, I used this method to cope with my pain. My head hurt a lot when I was suffering from COVID, the practice of this method in a mindful way helped me not only cope with the pain but also had the energy to take care of the other three people in the same house.

Ordinary mind and meditation

In the book, “Labyrinth Meditations: labyrinths for mindfulness, meditation, and centring”, Madonna Gauding’s writing deepened my understanding on medication:

“Meditation is a practice for cultivating deeper awareness, a way to gain psychological insight and, if you choose, a method of communicating with God or a higher power….is to help you overcome the limitations of ordinary awareness and expand your mind to high consciousness…Our everyday lives are like a waking dream. Rather than being truly awake and aware, we are usually preoccupied or lost in thought…We also have a habit of projecting onto others what we think they are feeling or thinking, without truly knowing whether this is so…Rather than being awake to reality as it is, and truly aware of what is going on around and inside us, it is as if we are living in a dream world – a small, confining world of our mind’s creation. Yet we are convinced that we know what is real and what isn’t…The good news is that rather than waiting for the world to shock us into awareness, we can choose to live in an awakened state all the time. Meditation is the antidote to living in a dream world…to live fully in the present moment…From this peaceful mind spring insight and awareness…”.

You are invited to follow my posts to: learn & practice meditation, and experience the power of the now and awareness.

 

The way to have freedom not to surrender to negative feelings

In her book, “Small Bites: Mindfulness For Everyday Use”, Annabelle Zinser wrote:

“The Buddha said that a person who refuses to recognize his or her own suffering is like a mule walking around with a heavy load, unable to get rid of it…If I am able to ask myself, ‘It is possible for me to encounter this anger, despair, or depression with compassion and embrace it with great tenderness?’ then I can guide my mind in a new direction and create the space necessary for transforming the difficult feeling.  I find that using the form of a question is important.  Asking a question isn’t meant to create additional stress or to suggest that I shouldn’t feel anger or fear; instead it should create openness and help me become aware that mindfulness, patience, and compassion will give me the freedom not to surrender to negative feelings.  This kind of internal questioning helps me to stop repeating the story that brought up these feelings in the first place…I started to recognize the old story that had led to the painful feeling, and I was able to change the story…Becoming aware of difficult feelings in a nonjudgmental way allows you to acknowledge them when they arise without being overwhelmed by them.  If you can can embrace them, just as a mother embraces her crying child, then the fear will disappear”.

In my life, I have had so many “old stories” (experiences) caused me to have negative feelings: feeling abandoned, feeling betrayed, feeling guilty, feeling powerless, feeling hurt, feeling….because of someone’s words, expression and behavior.  As I started to commit myself to a regular practice of recognizing my own suffering with my Christian faith of the love of the Lord, I feel that those negative feelings have been gradually losing their strength.

 

Making way for stillness

It does not matter which spiritual tradition(s) we are following, stillness is the spiritual state and condition for spiritual discernment – listening to the voice of God, seeing the true nature of all things, seeing our true self, and …

In her book, “how to lead when you don’t know where you’re going: leading in a liminal season”, Susan Beaumont points out that:

“Inner stillness is associated with an environment of silence and solitude.  In silence, we create a quiet place to give our full attention to God.  In solitude, we withdraw from the busyness of our lives and the company of others.  We pull back and create space to give God access to our souls.  Jesus repeatedly used silence and solitude to deepen his capacity for stillness.  Silence and solitude make way for stillness…”

Our soul is yearning for us to prepare an environment of silence and solitude in our daily life so that we can connect with God, the true reality, and our true Self.