“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
There was a man on the side of the road hitch hiking on a very dark night in the middle of a storm. It was late at night and no cars were passing.
The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. Suddenly, he saw a car coming towards him and stop. Without further thought, he got in the back seat of the car, closed the door and, upon starting to thank the driver for stopping, realized the drivers seat was vacant.
The car began to move slowly down the road and frozen with fear the reluctant passenger sees a curve coming his way.
Scared, he closes his eyes and starts to pray for his life. Just before the car reaches the curve, a hand appears through the window and turns the steering wheel.
Overcome with fear, the passenger can do nothing but sit and watch how the hand appears every time they come to a curve in the road.
After ten minutes he gathers his strength, leaps from the car and runs to the nearest town. Wet and in shock, he goes to a cafe and asks for a cup of strong coffee.
He quickly drinks his coffee and between sobs, starts telling an attentive crowd about the horrible experience he’s just been through.
Approximately half an hour later, two guys walk into the same cafe and one says to the other, “Look Bob, there’s that guy who got in the car when we were pushing it down the road”
In this story the passenger’s perception of what was happening was not the reality.
How many times have we been in a similar situation in that what we perceive is the truth is just our senses and opinion of reality misleading and blinding us? Ever been there?? I know I have!
As a recovered anorexic and bulimic my perception of my weight and appearance over the years has not always been accurate. If I think back to the times I believed I was ‘fat’, I was in reality, no bigger than a UK size 10.
As a mother of three all of my children have at some point been vaguely to moderately unhappy about their body. For me personally, the most horrific being when my beautiful three-year-old daughter returned from preschool devastated because another toddler had told her she was too chubby to be a princess.
Despite us constantly telling her she is beautiful, her body is perfect and just the right size, whenever she needs to wear tracksuit bottoms (early morning dance lessons at her school) she is in tears as in her eyes she looks fat.
Just for the record there is not an ounce of fat on her…not that it would matter if there was because for her ‘perception is reality’.
Over the years I have had numerous home owning, car owning, designer clothes wearing, cupboard full of food eating people tell me how poor they are (fell into believing that myself a few years ago) because there house wasn’t as big as X’s, or there holiday wasn’t as exotic as Y’s…is that an accurate perception of reality?
About twenty years ago Rolling stones magazine coined the phrase ‘Perception is Reality’ as a theme for an advertising campaign. The theme was based on the perception that Rolling Stone magazine was read by druggies, hippies and rock fans, where the reality was the magazine’s readership included very affluent, well-educated readers.
But the cleverness of this was the basis of how susceptible our brain is: if you repeat a perception long enough, it can become a reality.
As humans what others say about us, or our perception of what they think, tends to act as a mirror for how we see ourselves. It is because of this we need to be so careful about what we listen to and whom we associate with.
My husband calls negative talk that is aimed at us or we overhear as ‘stinkin thinkin’. He came across this about twenty years ago and has strived to protect himself (and as much as he is able those he loves) from ‘stinkin thinkin’ exposure. The reasoning behind it being if we hear and absorb negativity, even if we then tell ourselves its not accurate and doesn’t apply to us, some of it will stay rattling around in our brain and become part of the lens through which we see ourselves and others. In short it will help form part of our worldview.
I was incredibly fortunate that I had a Dad that constantly reinforced in me ‘I could be anything I wanted to be’. I still wholeheartedly believe that, although as an adult it is now sprinkled with the reality (astronaut, ballet dancer and mermaid have been struck off the list) that anything worth having requires a measure of effort.
And I believe this is an important lesson for everyone to take on board…you can reach for the stars but in reality as our closest star is the sun and is 93 million miles away, reaching is all we’ll be able to achieve.
But then if we apply what Einstein said about reality being an illusion, and illusion being ‘something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality’ and add in to the mix the advancements that humanity has made over the last hundred or so years, lets make a choice to NOT be restrained, boxed in, cut down, sold short and restricted by our own sense of reality.
The title of this blog is Mouse or Lion?, but lets be people that shake off titles, perceptions, stereotypes, that question our own and others reality, venture where others fear to tread and view this life we have been given, as one big exciting, thrilling adventure with highs, lows and the unexpected around every bend.
I believe each persons potential is amazing, limitless, unimaginable and as my heavenly Father puts it, with Him by our side and with His Spirit living within us we ‘can do all things’ (Phil. 4:13).
Lets be adventurers that grab life by the short and curlies and embrace it wholeheartedly!!