Friday, March 30, 2012

Different viewpoints

I love meeting people with vastly different viewpoints than mine.  I find them fascinating and I welcome the opportunity to see things differently and expand my own perspective.

While I may not ultimately buy into everything they believe, I do honor their point of view and make a conscious effort to understand it.  Because of this I find my own concept of reality expands, and can see and experience things I never would have otherwise.

Reality, if you think about it, has two parts.  There is the underlying reality, or "what is" and there is individual reality "what you perceive and conclude about what is."  They're not one and the same, and once you realize that entire worlds open up for you.

To illustrate this lets think about an apple tree.  There is this apple tree in a yard and the couple who lives there loves the apples.  Every year they harvest them and make applesauce and wonderful pies.  The neighborhood kids are welcome to climb the tree and  pick apples whenever they want and it makes the couple happy because they have no children of their own and they enjoy their "extended neighborhood family."  They often express their gratitude at the gift of apples and it makes them truly happy. 

Eventually the couple moves, lets say to a farm with an entire orchard.  Doesn't matter.  What does matter is that the family who moves in hates the apple tree, thinks it looks ugly and makes the yard messy, and are annoyed having to pick up all the apples and deal with the pesky neighbor kids.  Very soon they have that tree removed... and they are happy.

See what I mean here?  The underlying reality is the apple tree.  It simply is.  The reality of the people living in that house however is quite a different thing isn't it?  Neither is right or wrong.  They simply live in their own world created from their perceptions and conclusions about what is.

For some people this may be too philosophical but it's important if you, like me, are about expansion and gaining knowledge.  The more you can step into someone else's reality the more you can understand them, which means for better human relations all around.  As a bonus, you expand your own views, which enriches your life and experiences too.

So how do you know when you have an opportunity to expand your way of thinking?  I usually get a clue when I find myself judging someone or disagreeing with them off the bat.  The stronger the disagreement or emotional reaction the bigger clue that there's something I need to look at. 

I may not do it in the moment (especially if I'm fun debating the subject :p) but eventually I usually go back and think about what it is that pushes my buttons.  Invariably I'll become aware of my own limited thinking and see opportunities to expand my own perceptions, which I of course do immediately ;^)

Wow this world is so cool.... I love being here!

1 comment:

  1. Kind of the same as three sides to a story.....yours...mine....and the truth!


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