Community//

What we perceive is not the whole story

Paying attention to our habits of attention

Who do you see?

Our attention is often driven by our habits of how we pay attention. For example; whether we are aware of it or not, we have a habit of noticing things about people like gender, color, tone of voice, style of dress, etc.  These habits reinforce our inherent beliefs about someone before we even know anything about them.

 The phenomena of what we think and feel is colored by our way of seeing the world around us, created by conditions in our mind, which is not reality. But in our mind’s eye, that IS reality.

Our perception is also colored by how we feel in that moment. Stressed, happy, in a rush, distracted by some random thought,  hungry, tired,  just back from a big lunch, the weather, hot or cold, our physical state of being,  something we heard on the news or a rumor we heard. 

We construct our perception of the world through what our mind chooses to perceive through all of these circumstances and the components of the experience we are in. Tweet this.

We move through our days with unconsciously biased ways of looking.
When we can stop and get a glimpse of these biases it changes our reality. It’s not easy, but if we make a habit of checking in with ourselves throughout the day to notice what we are perceiving in that moment we can shift out of our habits of perception and expand our understanding of what is. We can change the habits of our mind and our way of being and impacting the world.

If I know my perception is not the whole picture, not objective or even just a completely real observation, this allows me to not take things as absolute facts. It allows me to use my thinking mind to evaluate what is coming from an unconscious bias of habit, and what is really going on. This can reduce the suffering in our lives and opens up possibilities to respond differently and experience differently.

Pain, frustration, stress.
All can be changed by remembering that all of it is about how we are perceiving “truth”.
When we notice our mind-state is negative, we can recognize how that is shaping our experience.

I can stop, take a breath and look inward to recognize the negative feeling. Then I can flip my mind to something positive, something I appreciate. Anything else, a memory, a smell, something I see nearby that shifts my mind to something pleasant. That positive firing of the neurons in the brain can shift the mind state to something else.

Try this:
Stop.
Notice the mind-state.
Bring to mind or appreciate something positive.
Did a change occur?
What is the experience now?
Feel the difference and you are on your way to rewiring the brain and changing the habits of our mind.

Practice this process frequently, and over time you can reset your default modes and create new patterns of seeing.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.